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Viewpoints of Prominent PKS Parliamentarians on the Future Development of PKS in Indonesia
May 19, 2012 by Dr. Farish A. Noor
Q: And the cadre-training system is meant to ensure this?
ZM: Yes, and in that regard you can call it a sort of preventive radicalisation mechanism that we have instituted inside the party from day one. The way in which we teach our members to understand the struggle of the PKS is such as to focus them on the political path and to adopt realistic, practical and deliverable modes of activism; not something counter-productive like violence. PKS remains opposed to that, for the simple reason that a party can never come to power or gain the people’s trust and support that way.
Q: And PKS still maintains this cadre-training system with its counterparts in other countries? I know for instance that since the 1970s there has been close contact between the Jama’ah Islah Malaysia (JIM), the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) and the forerunners to PKS. I suppose this contact persists until today?
ZM: Only in the sense that the cadre-training system is more or less the same, based on the model that we were all exposed to since the 1970s. Yes, there remain exchanges between us, and common sharing. The issues are different though, for the two countries (Malaysia and Indonesia) have grown in different ways. But they retain common objectives and points of interest: to prepare our cadres for the eventuality of seeking power in a plural society through winning political power; and also as a means to ensure continuity and that the movement does not stray off its course. The other radical groups like HTI, FPI, MMI, etc. are really not an issue with us – in terms of goals, modalities and worldview, we are so different.
Dr. Farish A. Noor is presently Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; where he is part of the Contemporary Islam Programme. His works include The Madrasa in Asia: Political Activism and Transnational Linkages (with Martin van Bruinessen and Yoginder Sikand (Eds.), University of Amsterdam Press, Amsterdam, 2008; Islam Embedded: The Historical Development of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party PAS: 1951-2003, Malaysian Sociological Research Institute (MSRI), Kuala Lumpur, 2004, and New Voices of Islam, International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, Leiden, Netherlands, 2002.
 The PKS now claims to have the support of more than eight million voters, and a membership (from new recruits to high-level cadres) of 2.5 million. It has one central command (pusat) division in the capital and 33 provincial (propinsi) commands in all the provinces of the country. Additionally it has 500 city/kabupaten offices, 6,000 kecamatan offices and around 66,000 rural (desa) offices across the country. Additionally the PKS has 57 Members of Parliament (DPR) and 1,200 elected representatives at the various local assemblies at kota/propinsi/kabupaten levels.