Citizen Loyalty towards Constitution

Each citizen is ought to have a loyalty towards the constitution. That is a direct consequence of having the constitution as a social contract of all the people. This was stated by the Chief of the Constitution Court, Prof. Dr. Jimly Asshiddiqie when giving a Scientific Oration at Darul Ulum University Lamongan, Saturday (29/12).

As human beings, the highest pledge to God that should be fulfilled is shariah. Whereas, the highest pledge we make as citizens is constitution. Therefore, each and every Indonesian Citizen, especially the Moslems, should try to bear the responsibility of the pledge all the time, whether the syar-iyah or the dusturiyah.

Experts considered the constitution as a social contract that is an agreement of all citizens. As the result of being a social contract, the constitution binds all the citizens. Every citizen should follow the constitution. In the case of a point in the constitution that is not agreed, the can be an effort to fix it. Nevertheless, before the repair was conducted the constitution should be respected and carried out at the same time. In order to amend the constitution, it should be fought for starting by selecting the rights representatives. Because of that, the citizens should not make a bad decision in the balloting, because their vote for the representatives binds all the citizens.

All citizens can take the history of Prophet Muhammad when making the Madina Charter as an example of loyalty and the obedience towards the constitution. Experts consider the Charter, signed by the 13 tribes involved and Muhammad Himself, as the first ever constitution in the world. Every Moslem should obey the Charter besides, of course, The Holy Quran and The Sayings of The Prophet (Al-Sunnah). There was once a Moslem tribe (Qutaibah tribe) that violated the Madina Charter got a punishment from The Prophet.

The obedience towards the constitution was also an implication of the obligation of the Moslems to obey the leaders (ulil amri). Moreover, the 1945 Constitution was preceded by the Jakarta Charter, which was later taken as the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution, as the spirit of the Constitution. The deletion of the  7 words was a historical process that should be accepted as part of the life of the country. The same thing also happened in the construction of the Madina Charter when there were 7 words deleted because of the complaint from the Jewish. At the beginning of the Madina Charter there used to be “Bismillahirahmanirrahim (In the Name of Allah The Almighty and The Merciful)” and at the end of the Charter it was written “Muhammad rasulullah” (Muhammad The God Messenger). Those words were not agreed by the Jewish so that the word “Bismillahirahmanirrahim” was deleted and the Charter ended by the name “Muhammad”.

The scientific oration was held as a program for Dies Natalis XXI Darul Ulum University Lamongan also the Graduation of Graduate and Postgraduate programs which was attended by 580 graduates and approximately 2500 attendances. The event was also attended by the Head of Curator Board of Unisda Lamongan, K.H. Salahuddin Wahid, and Vice Regent of Lamongan.

The Chief of Constitution Court stated that by having the graduation it meant that the quality of Indonesian education had improved in the effort to reach the mission to educate State’s Life  which is also the national mission as stated in the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution. Only by having high level of education Indonesian people could get the advantage from the development of world’s civilization and interaction. Without sufficient quality on education, Indonesian people could only be the workers, they could not even enjoy the natural richness. Indonesian people could only be the spectators.

The Graduates from any faculty should study the constitution. “if it is a matter of Acts, we probably could leave it to the law graduates, but not with the constitution. All graduates, even all citizens should understand the constitution. It was due to the position of the constitution as the highest agreement, the materials of which cover the constitutional rights of the citizens,” explained the Chief Justice.

The emerging need for studying the 1945 Constitution is developing considering the elementary changes as the result of 1945 Constitution Amendment conducted by the People Deliberative Assembly during 1999 until 2002. The constitutional rights guaranteed by the Constitution have been made in detail. If there is a single citizen whose right is violated by an Act, then the person could requested a trial on the regulation in the mentioned Act by filing a petition to the Constitution Court. “An Act could be made by many people (the People Representatives and President ed.) in the name of democracy, but still it should not be against the 1945 Constitution”, exclaimed Prof. Jimly.

Because of that, the Constitution should be a living constitution and understood by each and every citizen. Every citizen has the same constitutional rights, whether the person is an ordinary citizen or a public officer. In fact, nowadays becoming a public officer does not last for a long time. Approximately for 10 years, after that the person would become an ordinary citizen. Therefore, the ruling government is actually the law carried out by the officer and not the person. This could also be learned from the Islamic values. Muhammad is a Prophet and God Messenger, but He is not an imam (Islamic Leader). The imam for Moslems is the Holy Quran, as the praying that is often uttered by the Moslems after reciting The Holy Quran and at the inauguration of the member of managing board of an Islamic organization.

This shows that the one that should be built is the system, not the person. In Shalat, the one that should be kept is the rule and not the imam. If the imam is wrong, he should be reminded. The same thing applied for officer that broke the law should be reminded, and the people do not have to obey the government who broke the law.

Constitution Justice should be a Statesperson

After giving a scientific oration in UNISDA Lamongan, the Chief Justice of The Constitution Court delivered a speech in front of the members of Provincial Parliament, the Officers in Lamongan Regency, and the teachers of constitutional education in Lamongan. The activity was conducted in the Lamongan Regency Hall and attended by approximately 150 people.

The Chief Justice explained about the authorities of the Constitution Court that are important in developing a legal and democratic country. The authorities of Constitution Court as stated in Article 24 Paragraph (1) and (2) 1945 Constitution put It in a strategic position. For example, related to the authority for conducting a trial of an Act and the dismissal of a political party, the Court stood between the people whose constitutional rights were violated and the Country, as the lawmakers, also the government as the petitioners in the case of political party dismissal. Related to the authority to settle dispute over State’s Bodies authorities, The Constitution Court was in the position between the Bodies whose authorities were given by the Constitution. The same thing with the impeachment case, the Court was in between the People Representatives, the President, and the People Deliberative Assembly.

The authorities possessed by the Constitution Court put it as the guardian of the constitution. It also made the Court have the function as the protector of citizens constitutional rights, the protector of human rights, and the guardian of democracy.

Considering the importance of Its position and the functions it carried out, therefore the 1945 constitution explicitly stated that one of the criteria to be a Constitution Justice was a Statesperson. There were no other positions mentioned as clearly by the 1945 Constitution. A Constitution Justice should not think only for certain group of people. Therefore, a Constitution Justice should be a member or in a managing board of a political party. “During the time as a Constitution Justice, he or she should be neutral, not becoming a member or in the managing board of a political party. Regarding the mechanism whether the person should resign in advance or any other way, it is merely technical. The principle that should be upheld is that a Constitution Justice should be a Statesperson as required by the 1945 Constitution,” Exclaimed Prof. Jimly. That issue was said by the Chief Justice in answering a question from one of the participants.

After conducting the dialogue in Lamongan Regency Hall, The Chief of Constitutional Court visited the office of Jawa Pos Group, which was the editorial office of Jawa Pos newspaper and JTV. In that occasion, the Chief had a discussion and tried to get an input of the role of mass media and local TV as the effort to develop local cultural varieties. The Chief Justice also had an interview with JTV related to the existence of individual candidate in regional election which until now awaits to be executed by the authorities. (M. Ali Safaat/Yogi Djatnika)

Monday, December 31, 2007 | 09:57 WIB 231