Jakarta. As the first national organization in Indonesia, Syarikat Islam (SI) should return to its initial intention to improve public welfare and economy as ruled by its founding fathers.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated this in his remarks at the ceremony inaugurating the central board members of Syarikat Islam and its women’s wing organization Wanita Syarikat Islam for the period 2015 to 2020 held at Balai Sudirman, Jakarta Selatan, on Saturday (Feb. 27).

When founded in 1905, the Vice President added, Syarikat Dagang Islam (SDI) was aimed by its founder KH Saman Hudi as a trade organization opposing foreign traders that desired to rule out local economy at the time.

In 1912, Mr Kalla continued, KH HOS Cokroaminoto changed SDI into Syarikat Islam (SI), with broader national agenda, but then in 1950s it turned to be a political party named Partai Serikat Islam Indonesia (PSII).

“To me, at this point Syarikat Islam got reduced from a big national movement to a merely political party. That is why I urged Syarikat Islam to return to its khittah to stay out of politics,” he affirmed.

To Mr Kalla, there are at least three main spirits Syarikat Islam is fighting for.

First is to develop the spirit of entrepreneurship as it did in the colonial era when trade market was ruled by the Dutch and Chinese traders.

Second, to help the unfortunate.

“That is why we need to develop our social spirit,” said Mr Kalla.

Third, to straighten the wrong understanding of Islam, including to prevent radicalism.

“Again, I need to underscore that with this big challenges ahead, Syarikat Islam should return to its khittah and stay out of politics,” he reiterated.