National Campaign Team (TKN) of Jokowi-Ma’ruf deputy secretary, Raja Juli Antoni, said his coalition would not ask for support from the country’s second-largest Islamic organization Muhammadiyah central board in the 2019 presidential election as initiated by Amien Rais, chairman of the advisory board in the National Campaign Agency of Prabowo-Sandiaga.
“We understand that Muhammadiyah has a tradition to maintain the neutrality in politics,” said Antoni in a phone call with Tempo, Wednesday, November 21.
However, Antoni said, interpersonal communication with management and members of Muhammadiyah was still kept. Jokowi as the country’s leader, he opined, had a special concern on Muhammadiyah.
“Pak Jokowi left Papua Nugini to attend two Muhammadiyah events last Sunday,” he said.
Antoni refuted the saying that Jokowi’s presence in those events was deliberately meant to gain support ahead of the 2019 election. “That’s the duty of Pak Jokowi as the president. But if Muhammadiyah cadres note it to have the electoral impact, that’s a bonus [for the incumbent candidate],” he added.
Ahead of presidential race next year, candidates always competed to gain support from such big Islamic organizations despite its leaders had sternly stated to remain neutral. Amien Rais, earlier, openly demanded Muhammadiyah central board decide its support for one of the two candidate pairs.