Rector of Paramadina University, Dr. Anies Rashid Baswedan, criticizes the lack of integrity and simplicity among national leaders in past decade. According to Anies, the behavior shown by the current leaders is obviously very different from those of the founding fathers who had the competence and closeness with the people and had no self-interest whatsoever until their death.
"Our founding fathers were 'completed people’, they did not use the Republic to enrich themselves. They had the competence and closeness with the people and very little self-interest," said Anies Baswedan in a national seminar to commemorate 25 years of the loss of AR Baswedan, Wednesday (6/4). The event is a cooperation between Nabil Foundation and Department of History Faculty of Cultural Sciences UGM.
In Anies’ opinion, the lack of integrity and simplicity was found among leaders both in central and local levels. "Looking at the top, there is no integrity. Looking down, there’s more mess. Simplicity and integrity got less and less," he said.
Anies views that the current and future leaders should emulate the example of nation’s founders who did not have corruptive behavior and still put simplicity attitude forward such as demonstrated by his deceased grandfather, AR. Baswedan, after retiring as a minister in the Syahrir’s cabinet.
"After retiring, he did not even have the telephone and car. If he needed to ring somebody, he would go to his neighbors who had a phone. I was assigned to drive him everywhere to meet leaders or get his retirement check. Eeach time he received the fund, I was given a tip, the sum was rather large at the time," he recalls.
Interestingly, Anies said, when his grandfather retired and settled in Yogyakarta, unexpectedly he was invited by the Vice-President Adam Malik to meet in the Palace. Riding the one and only Vespa belonging to his grandfather, Anies drove his grandfather to the Palace. After meeting with Adam Malik, A.R Baswedan left the Palace and Adam Malik escorted him to the exit. Adam Malik thought that Baswedan was picked up by car. He then asked the palace officials to get the Vice-President’s car out of the way. Adam Malik was wrong; Baswedan just slid out on foot and left the palace. Seeing this, Adam Malik was in awe, a retired minister living in simplicity. "A few months later, a car from Adam Malik was sent to my grandfather's house," said Anies.
Anis Baswedan who was the grandson of the late AR Baswedan was asked to give a speech representing his big family in the seminar. Represents his family the alumnus of UGM conveyed his appreciation to the Nabil Foundation and the Department of History UGM that discussed the role of his grandfather. "We as a family appreciate it," he said. Head of the Department of History, Drs. Ahmad Adaby Darban, says the figure of AR Baswedan’s was of Arabian blood who had high integrity in realizing the independence. "Although he was an Arab, he confirmed himself as Indonesian," he said.
Adaby added, during his lifetime Baswedan was lively and very flexible. His colleagues and friends came from various groups and religions. In the colonial era, he struggled through the medium of journalism; conveyed ideas and criticism of the Dutch East Indies government. And after independence, when Indonesia was looking for support from countries abroad for independence, the late Baswedan was assigned in the team under Agus Salim as coordinator who struggled to obtain support from Egypt and Arabia.
"This is the first diplomatic relations conducted by Indonesia. Baswedan planted the letter of recognition in his socks to avoid the strict examination of the Dutch government officers. The letter was then handed over to Soekarno in the Gedung Agung Palace. Soekarno was happy that the first diplomatic mission was successful," he said.
For his struggle and dedication to the nation and State, said Adaby, it is just proper that Baswedan is appointed as a national hero.