Indonesia has almost 240 million people and majority are Muslims.It is the largest Muslim country in the world but probably the only one that separates state and religion.Although, it has the largest Muslim population, Indonesians had never used Islam as tool to gain political power.
While in other part of the world such as Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt and some other Muslim countries where militant Islam are gaining virulent ground, the situation in Indonesia is changing, militant Islam seems to be retreating.
In parliamentary election this months voters have shied away from Islamic political parties.Indonesians are alienating themselves from Islamic parties including moderate ones.The full result of the elections will only be known next month but all indications are showing that the people do not wish to integrate religion and politics.
In 2004, after the tragic 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Centre when militant Islam was at its highest level of violence and terrorist attacks, Islamist parties in Indonesia surged in popularity, made impressive gains and joined the coalition government of President Yudhoyono.
The parties gained support of the urban middle-class voters on the premise and promise of a clean government, anti-corruption policies and humanitarian activities. Once they were in office, the story was different, their clean image were tarnished after several of their elected representatives were caught and prosecuted for corruptions.
Back to Malaysia.Are we going through the same political journey as Indonesia. The March 2008 Elections was the culmination of the people's disillusionment after few decades of BN high-handed rule and a government perceived to be riddled with corruptions.
Pakatan Rakyat, a coalition of opposition parties promised a clean government, one that is free of corruptions once they take over the federal government.Would they end up like the Islamist parties of Indonesia, eventually rejected by the people when the people realized they have been had...... taken for a ride !
Can Pakatan ensure a clean government?
Looking at what have transpired so far in states under their control it is highly unlikely they can exercise control over their lawmakers. The ousting of Fairus Khairuddin was staged by Anwar Ibrahim to show that Pakatan will not tolerate corruptions. A carrot and stick ploy to convince the people that Pakatan would bring about radical change, a thoroughly clean government.