Jakarta Charter


July 5, 2022

The Jakarta Charter is a draft of the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia (UUD 1945). This draft was formulated by the Committee for the Nine Research Body for Preparatory Work for Independence (BPUPK) in Jakarta on June 22, 1945. This charter contains five precepts that are part of the Pancasila ideology, but the first principle also includes the phrase "with the obligation to carry out Islamic law for its adherents". This phrase, which is also known as "seven words", was eventually removed from the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution on August 18, 1945 by the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence, the body tasked with ratifying the 1945 Constitution. These seven words were omitted on the initiative of Mohammad Hatta who in the previous night received word from a Japanese naval officer that a nationalist group from Eastern Indonesia would prefer to establish their own state if the seven words were not removed. In the 1950s, when the 1945 Constitution was suspended, representatives of Islamic parties demanded that Indonesia return to the Jakarta Charter. To fulfill the wishes of Islamic groups, President Soekarno announced in a Presidential Decree of 5 July 1959 (which restated a return to the 1945 Constitution) that the Jakarta Charter "animates" the 1945 Constitution and "is an integral part of the constitution". The meaning of this sentence itself continued to spark controversy after the decree was issued. The national group felt that this sentence simply recognized the Jakarta Charter as a historical document, while the Islamic group believed that the decree gave legal force to the "seven words" in the Jakarta Charter, and on this basis they demanded the promulgation of Islamic law specifically for Muslims. The Jakarta Charter again sparked debate during the process of amending the constitution during the Reformation era (1999–2002). Islamic parties propose that the "seven words" be added to Article 29 of the 1945 Constitution, namely the article that regulates the position of religion in the state and freedom of religion. However, the proposed amendments from Islamic parties did not get the support of the majority in the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).

Jakarta Charter during the formulation of the 1945 Constitution

First Official Session of BPUPK and Committee of Nine

In 1942, the Japanese Empire occupied the Dutch East Indies. Since the beginning of the occupation, the Japanese military government has cooperated with the leaders of the national groups with a view to meeting the needs of war and occupation. In order to maximize cooperation with national groups in Java, the Japanese formed the Jawa Hokokai organization in early January 1944, and this organization was a replacement for the People's Power Center which had been disbanded. When Japan began to experience defeat in the Pacific War, Japanese Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso promised to give independence to all Indonesians one day. On March 1, 1945, the 16th Army, the Japanese military corps that exercised government over the Java region, formed the Investigation Agency. Efforts to Prepare for Independence (BPUPK, Japanese: Dokuritsu Junbi Chōsa-kai). This agency is tasked with establishing the basis of the Indonesian state and formulating its constitution. The BPUPK consists of 62 members, of which 47 are from the national group and 15 from the Islamic group. Representatives of Islamic groups believe that Indonesia's constitution should be based on sharia. The BPUPK held its first official session in Jakarta from May 29 to June 1, 1945. In this session, Soekarno delivered his famous speech, "The Birth of Pancasila", on June 1, 1945. This speech made Pancasila the basis of the Indonesian state, with "divinity". as the fifth precept. Regarding this precept, Soekarno explained: Before entering the recess period, BPUPK formed a Small Committee consisting of eight members with Soekarno as the chairman. This committee is tasked with collecting proposals