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H.  10 Jumada I 1429 No:
M.  Friday, 16 May 2008

Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia members voice their opposition against rising fuel prices

Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia Press Release

Government plans to increase fuel prices at the end of May have sparked massive protests. On Tuesday afternoon (13/5) hundreds of HTI members and other members of the Muslim community, including women and children, staged a demonstration in front of the government's Presidential Palace in Jakarta.

In addition to Islamic Banners, protesters held up posters such as: "Fuel Belongs to the People, Yet People suffer," "Fuel Price Increases, and Poverty too," "Syariah and Khilafah "Caliphate": Caretaker of People's Welfare."

Other organizations such as the Muslim University Student Association and the Islamic Students of Indonesia also joined the protest.

Speeches were punctuated with Takbeer and slogans to reject raisingthe fuel price. "Our government has destroyed the system. A lot of people cannot afford healthcare and medications because they are too expensive. Now, the fuel price is going up too. Are we going to stay silent?" asked Farid Wajdi. The protesters immediately responded with a resolute "NO!" Mr. Wajdi, who is an HTI activist also pointed out that we cannot afford to be silent since people's welfare are in dire straits. "Opposition must go on," he insisted.

Muhammad Al Khaththath, secretary general of Forum Umat Islam (FUI) said that the head of state must take care of the welfare of the people. "According to Hadeeth, a head of state acts as a shield to protect the people from any economical, theological and military onslaughts." On the contrary, Mr Al Khaththath accused the current regime, led by Susilo Bambang Yudoyono and Jusuf Kalla, of serving foreign and capitalist interests, and had failed to do its duty.

A speaker representing Islamic Students of Indonesia said that the democratic system had failed to deliver its promise. "Our currency goes bankrupt. Let's embrace Khilafah "Caliphate"!" Almost instantly, the people shouted "Takbeer!" He continued, "If SBY-JK insisted on raising the price of fuel, then we demand their resignation."

During the press conference, Hizb ut-Tahrir's Indonesia spokesman, Mr. Ismail Yusanto, pushed the government to cancel the plan of raising the fuel price. Mr Yusanto also questioned government claims that the rise of fuel prices in the world forced the government to increase the subsidy, which it can no longer afford. In reality, not all of the fuel was imported. Thus, there is no reason why domestic fuel prices must be adjusted to the international price.

According to Mr Yusanto, Indonesia has produced about 910,000 barrels every day. Therefore, the issue of subsidy should be linked to the amount of imported fuel instead of the entire fuel usage. Mr Yusanto also quoted Kwik Kian Gie, a respected Indonesian economist, who said that there is a profit margin obtained from oil production, which amounts to 35 billion rupiah that goes into the government coffers.

The government's claim that the rising fuel price will reduce poverty is also questionable. Several independent forecasts have shown that the number of people living in poverty will increase to 26 million, while inflation will increase to 26%.

"We must stress that the issue of fuel prices has exposed the current relationship between the rulers and the people, that it is like the relationship between buyers and sellers. The correct relationship should be between the people who own the resources and the rulers who obtained a mandate to manage the resources. Therefore, the people have the right to obtain fuel with a reasonable or the least expensive price possible," added Mr. Yusanto.

Natural oil and other natural resources belong to the people and must be used by the people. "We call our government to nationalize oil and natural gas companies, which have been operating in our country," said Mr. Yusanto. National government should be the one who manages the oil and gas production for the betterment of people's welfare, instead of generating profits for foreign companies.

If the government insists on increasing fuel prices, then the government chooses to be an oppressive regime. Therefore, people must re-consider their support to a regime, which has created and prolonged their misery with no end in sight. Furthermore, the people must choose a ruler that is accountable, who will implement a better system. There is no other system except Sharia, which will manage the natural resources in a just manner.

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