After Ma'ruf Amin, who is Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (in Indonesian: Majelis Ulama Indonesia, or MUI), accepted Indonesian President Joko Widodo's invitation to become the latter's running mate in Indonesia's 2019 presidential election, there occurred some uncertainty about Amin's position within the MUI.
Based on the MUI's internal guidelines (article 1:6.F), the general chairman and general secretary are not allowed to work in the executive or legislative branches of the government, or be engaged in the daily affairs of a political party.
Therefore, Amin had declared himself non-active chairman of Indonesia's top Muslim clerical body shortly after accepting the role of vice-presidential candidate. However, he will only fully resign from his duties as MUI chairman if he and Widodo win next year's battle. In the meantime, as long as Amin has the non-active status, two deputy chairmen - Yunahar Ilyas and Zainut Tauhid - will take over the handling of the MUI's daily affairs.
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MUI Advisory Council Leader Din Syamsuddin confirmed that the advisory council agrees that Amin can retain his position as chairman (albeit non-active) during the presidential campaign. However, if the Widodo-Amin pair wins the race, then Amin would be required to resign. On the other hand, if the pair loses the battle, then Amin can fully regain his position as MUI chairman.
MUI Secretary-General Anwar Abbas praised Amin's decision to declare himself non-active chairman. The matter is that there is no internal regulation that requires an active chairman to become non-active while running for political office. Therefore, it is regarded a wise decision of Amin that makes sure no conflict of interest can occur.
However, Zulkifli Hasan, Chairman of the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional, or PAN), criticized Amin's decision and said it would be better if he resigns from his post at the MUI. PAN is an Islam-based party that supports Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 presidential election.
A detailed analysis of the Widodo-Amin vs Subianto-Uno battle will be available in the August 2018 edition of Indonesia Investments' research report