Hamzah Haz
Hamzah Haz is an Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

n politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

. He is the head of the United Development Party
United Development Party
The United Development Party , sometimes translated as Development Unity Party is a political party in Indonesia. It is an islamic party and currently led by Suryadharma Ali.-Origins:...

 (PPP) and served as the ninth Vice-President from 2001 until 2004.

Hamzah was a newspaper journalist in his home town of Pontianak, on the island of Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, and later taught economics at Tanjungpura University.

His political career began in 1968 as a member of the in West Kalimantan
West Kalimantan
West Kalimantan is a province of Indonesia. It is one of four Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its capital city Pontianak is located right on the Equator....

 provincial parliament. He later moved to Jakarta, became a member of parliament in 1971, first as a member of the Muslim Nahdlatul Ulama group. In 1973 he became a member of the PPP.

Hamzah served as minister for investment under President B. J. Habibie, who replaced Suharto, then resigned that post to lead the PPP in the 1999 elections. Hamzah joined the cabinet of President Abdurrahman Wahid
Abdurrahman Wahid
Abdurrahman Wahid, born Abdurrahman Addakhil , colloquially known as , was an Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001...

, then became the first minister to quit Wahid's first cabinet, resigning as minister for people's welfare after just two months.

He became a vocal critic of Wahid, but he is also known for his ability to compromise. By the time of Wahid's impeachment in the summer of 2001, Hamzah was leader of the PPP, then the third-largest party in the Indonesian Parliament.

In the 2004 presidential election
Indonesian presidential election, 2004
The first direct presidential election in Indonesia was held in two rounds on 5 July and 20 September 2004. Prior to a 2002 amendment to the Constitution of Indonesia, the President and Vice President was elected by the country's top legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly.Under the...

, Hamzah Haz was one of the presidential candidates, running with team-mate Agum Gumelar
Agum Gumelar
Agum Gumelar is an Indonesian military, politician and sportsman. He is a former minister having held several positions, a retired military officer and a former chairman of Indonesian Football Association and National Sports Committee of Indonesia, a former Indonesian Vice President candidate and...

. The pair finished last among the five candidates, garnering only 3 percent of the total vote.

Reputation for irresponsibility

A number of journalists and commentators have written that Haz is seen by many as willing to offer support for militant Muslim groups as a way of gaining political support from them. In 2002, Bill Guerin, in an opinion piece in the Asian Times wrote, "Haz, [...] is widely seen as blatantly vying for support from among Indonesian Muslims, including the militant groups, to strengthen his run for the presidency in the country's next general elections in 2004."

Hamzah is also known as an apologist for and friend of Abu Bakar Bashir
Abu Bakar Bashir
Abu Bakar Bashir Abu Bakar Bashir Abu Bakar Bashir (also Abubakar Ba'asyir, Abdus Somad, and Ustad Abu ("Teacher Abu"), born 17 August 1938, is an Indonesian Muslim cleric and leader of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (MMI)....

, who is the spiritual leader for the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah. Hamzah made a public show of inviting Ba'asyir to dinner while Hamzah was Vice President, and visited Ba'asyir's jihadist pesantren (religious school) in Pondok Ngruki. Haz denied that Ba'asyir was connected to terrorism up until Ba'asyir's arrest in October 2002. "If you want to arrest Abu Bakar Bashir," he was quoted as saying before Ba'asyir's arrest, "you will have to deal with me first."

According to an October 2002 article in TIME magazine, "That clerics like Abubakar (Bashir
Abu Bakar Bashir
Abu Bakar Bashir Abu Bakar Bashir Abu Bakar Bashir (also Abubakar Ba'asyir, Abdus Somad, and Ustad Abu ("Teacher Abu"), born 17 August 1938, is an Indonesian Muslim cleric and leader of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (MMI)....

) have powerful military and political allies is no secret: the nation's Vice-President Hamzah Haz is one of them." TIME reported that Hamzah described his relationship with Bashir and Laskar Jihad leader Jafar Umar Thalib as "very close", but TIME added, "many see this relationship as a purely political ploy to woo Muslim voters ahead of the 2004 election." Hamzah, although he "has a reputation as a wily politician" nevertheless "will be remembered for a particularly ill-judged speech before Muslim clerics at Abubakar's Solo boarding school in May [2002]", the newsmagazine reported. During that visit Hamzah was also reported to have said, "If they can prove there are terrorists here I'll be the first to order an arrest," and then stepped down from the podium and kissed Abubakar on both cheeks.

In 2002, an Australian academic cited Hamzah as the "best example" of Islamic politicians in Indonesia "prepared to play the extremist card to attract extra votes". Hamzah "has supported Jemaah Islamiyah and has even been instrumental in having its members released from detention in the past, according to Tim Lindsey, director of the Asian Law Centre at the University of Melbourne. "He has also openly accused the CIA and the United States of carrying out the Bali bombing."

Denial of terrorists in the country

In 2002 Hamzah gave an interview to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which broadcast it on October 23. In a voiceover played during the television interview, an ABC journalist said, "Before the Bali bombing, Vice President Hamzah Haz insisted there were no terrorists in Indonesia. After the bombing, he gave this extraordinary justification for that position:
Hamzah Haz press statement: "If I as vice president said that Indonesia has terrorists, no one would come to Indonesia, no investors would come."

The ABC interviewer then told Hamzah: "In light of Bali, that would seem a reprehensible comment, if you knew that people were here.

Hamzah responded: "It’s not true that I protect them and I don’t regret what I said, but I said it in the past — it relates to the past. But now if there is a connection we want to know whether it is true that Indonesia has a terrorist network."

Accusation of United States terrorism

On 3 September 2003 Haz stated, "Actually, who is the terrorist, who is against human rights? The answer is the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 because they attacked Iraq. Moreover, it is the terrorist king, waging war."

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Hamzah's statement was "a scathing attack that echoed the language of many of the Bali bombers." Hamzah had also been criticised for publicly associating with several of Indonesia's more hardline Islamic leaders, including Bashir, although after the Bali terrorist attack Hamzah severed those ties. Soon after Hamzah's remarks, Riza Sihbudi, a political analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, told the Detik news service that Hamzah seemed to be chasing votes. "He should not have spoken like that as he is the Vice-President," Sihbudi said.

Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation and headquartered in Doha, Qatar...

 reported the day after Hamzah's statement that "There has yet to be a US reaction to the well-known firebrand's comments."

Personal life

Officially, according to the Office of Vice President, Hamzah married to two wives: Asmaniah (b. 27 July 1942) and Titin Kartini (b. 4 May 1946). He has a total of 12 children from the official wives. However, other source indicated that he has in fact three wives. His third wife is Soraya, and she bore three children from Hamzah. However, Hamzah does not officially admit to having a third wife.

His son, Nur Agus Haz, is a member of parliament for the United Development Party
United Development Party
The United Development Party , sometimes translated as Development Unity Party is a political party in Indonesia. It is an islamic party and currently led by Suryadharma Ali.-Origins:...


He is sometimes known as Dr. Hamzah; he is reported to have obtained a Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 from American World University
American World University
American World University is an unaccredited institution offering post-secondary education programs by distance learning. It has no physical campus. It awards academic degrees...

, an internet diploma mill
Diploma mill
A diploma mill is an organization that awards academic degrees and diplomas with substandard or no academic study and without recognition by official educational accrediting bodies. The purchaser can then claim to hold an academic degree, and the organization is motivated by making a profit...

, for USD 1,200.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.