Hamzah Haz

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Hamzah Haz
حمزه هز
Hamzah Haz.jpg
9th Vice President of Indonesia
In office
23 July 2001 – 20 October 2004
President Megawati Sukarnoputri
Preceded by Megawati Sukarnoputri
Succeeded by Jusuf Kalla
Personal details
Born (1940-02-15) 15 February 1940 (age 81)
Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Dutch East Indies
Nationality Indonesian
Political party United Development Party
Children Agus Haz
Religion Sunni Islam

Hamzah Haz (Jawi: حمزه هز ; born 15 February 1940 in Ketapang, West Kalimantan) is an Indonesian politician. He is the head of the United Development Party (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, and later taught economics at Tanjungpura University.[1]

His political career began in 1968 as a member of the in West Kalimantan 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.[1]

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, then became the first minister to quit Wahid's first cabinet, resigning as minister for people's welfare after just two months.[1]

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.[1]

In the 2004 presidential election, Hamzah Haz was one of the presidential candidates, running with team-mate Agum Gumelar. The pair finished last among the five candidates, garnering only 3 percent of the total vote.

Connections with militant Islamism

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."[2]

Hamzah is also known as an apologist for and friend of Abu Bakar Bashir, who is the spiritual leader for the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah. Hamzah made a public show of inviting Bashir to dinner while Hamzah was Vice President, and visited Bashir's jihadist pesantren (religious school) in Pondok Ngruki. Haz denied that Bashir was connected to terrorism up until Bashir's arrest in October 2002. "If you want to arrest Abu Bakar Bashir," he was quoted as saying before Bashir's arrest, "you will have to deal with me first."[3]

According to an October 2002 article in TIME magazine, "That clerics like Abubakar (Bashir) 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.[4]

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."[5]

Denial of terrorists in the country

In 2002 Hamzah gave an interview to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which broadcast it on 23 October. 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:"[6]

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 because they attacked Iraq. Moreover, it is the terrorist king, waging war."[7]

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.[8]

Al Jazeera reported the day after Hamzah's statement that "There has yet to be a US reaction to the well-known firebrand's comments."[9]

Personal life

Officially, according to the Office of Vice President,[10] 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 [11] 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[12]


He is sometimes known as Dr. Hamzah; he is reported to have obtained a PhD from American World University, an internet diploma mill, for USD 1,200.[13][14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 [1] Article titled "Profile: Hamzah Haz" at the BBC News Web site, 26 July 2001, accessed 6 April 2007
  2. [2] Guerin, Bill, "Indonesia: The enemy within", 15 October 2007.
  3. [3] Parkinson, Tony, "Jakarta's Day of Reckoning" opinion article in The Age, 14 October 2002, accessed 6 April 2007
  4. [4] Solo, Andrew Marshall, "The Rage Culture", TIME magazine, 21 October 2002
  5. [5] Lindsey, Tim, "Indonesia's New Anti-terrorism Law: Damned if you Do, Damned if you Don't", article at Web site of the University of Melbourne Asian Law Centre, there is no date on the article, but it mentions upcoming 2004 elections and the October 2002 Bali terrorist attack; accessed 6 April 2007
  6. [6] Web page titled "Foreign Correspondent / Hamzah Haz Interview Transcript / Broadcast: 23 October 2002 / Reporter: Evan Williams", Australian Broadcasting Corporation Web site, accessed 6 April 2007
  7. "Indonesian VP: United States Is 'Terrorist King'", Reuters, 3 September 2003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. [7] Moore, Matthew, Herald Correspondent in Jakarta, "Indonesian deputy's attack on US raises fears of split", quote from lead paragraph of news article in The Sidney Morning Herald, 5 September 2003, accessed 6 April 2007
  9. "News Archive / Indonesia may prolong Aceh operation" at Al Jazeera Web site at the Wayback Machine (archived February 11, 2007), accessed 6 April 2007
  10. Office of Vice President
  11. Detiknews Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Anak dan Menantu Haz Caleg Jadi
  13. Hamish (2 September 2002), Fake Your Way to the Top, Critic, retrieved 14 March 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Tobing, Elwin (7 March 2005), A fake republic, The Indonesian Institute, retrieved 14 March 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Barton, Greg.(2005) Jemaah Islamiyah: Radical Islam in Indonesia Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
Political offices
Preceded by
Megawati Sukarnoputri
Vice President of Indonesia
26 July 2001 – 20 October 2004
Succeeded by
Jusuf Kalla