PROFILE: Dr Mochtar Naim

JSR, No. 48, 23 April 2007

DR MOCHTAR NAIM, born in Sungai Penuh, Kerinci, Indonesia, in 1932, is now member of the DPD-RI, i.e. House of Regional Representatives of the Rep of Indonesia, representing West Sumatra Province. Previously (1998-2004), as he is also now, he was member of the MPR-RI, i.e. House of Peoples’ Consultative Assembly of the Rep of Indonesia, in Jakarta. He was a lecturer of Sociology at Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra, and helped founding as chairman of the founding committee of the Faculties of Arts and of Social and Political Sciences in early 1980s.
He holds a PhD degree in Sociology from the University of Singapore (1974) and completed courses for PhD in Sociology previously (in 1960s) at New York University, NY. He earned an MA degree in Islamic Studies (1960) at McGill Univ in Montreal, Canada, while previously (1951-1957) took undergrad courses at three different universities at Gadjah Mada Univ, State Institute of Islamic Studies and UII Faculty of Economics, Yogyakarta.
He wrote his MA thesis on “The Nahdlatul Ulama Party (1952-1955): An Inquiry into the Origin of Its Electoral Success,” and his PhD dissertation on “Merantau: Minang-kabau Voluntary Migration (1974),” for which he traveled extensively to many parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philipines. He submitted a paper on migratory patterns of the Minangkabau at the International Congress of Orientalists at Canberra (Jan 1971), and at the Amsterdam World Congress of Anthropologists (1981) as well as many papers after-wards on migration to many seminars at home and abroad.
While residing at the US (1960-1968), he was lecturer of Indonesian at NYU, Cornell U, Oswego College of SUNY, and assistant researcher to Prof Karl Pelzer and Prof Isidore Dyan at Yale U. He worked for the Indonesian Mission to the UN as research secretary for social affairs as local staff (1964-1968).
After returning from the US in 1968, while lecturing at Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra, he founded a Center for Minangkabau Studies and involved himself in research and seminar activities which took him to many parts of Indonesia and abroad. While residing in Singapore (1970-1974) he was a research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) while preparing for his dissertation, and appointed afterwards as Research Project Director of the Asean based Regional Institute of Higher Education and Development (RIHED).
Upon returning home he worked for the Ministry of Public Works and Electricity as Consultant for the West Pasa-man Development Plan and Director of the Documentation Center for Development Planning at Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, and later at Medan, North Sumatra, as project director for the Northern Sumatra Development Plan (1974-1978). While working for the same Ministry, he was sent to Manila, the Philipines, to follow the UN seminars on Social Works (1976) and touring the US in several southern states (1978) for comparative studies in regional development.
In 1979-1980 he was appointed as Director of the PLPIIS (Research Training Center for Social Sciences) at Hasanuddin Univ, Makassar. He was then (1980-1982) appointed as chairman of the preparatory committee for the establishment of faculties of Arts and of Social and Political Sciences at Andalas University at Padang, West Sumatra. He was a lecturer of Sociology at Andalas Univ intermittently from 1968 to 1982 and from 1982 to 1988 as permanent lecturer and head of the Sociology Dept. While at Andalas he was invited to do research and lecture and attended seminars at various universities at home and abroad.
He was a visiting scholar at the Univ of Kent at Canter-burry, England (Fall 1985), visiting professor at Frankfurt U (Indonesian studies Summer Program 1986), senior research fellow at Kyoto Univ Center for Southeast Asian Studies (1987), in doing research on Indonesian culture conflicts; senior research fellow at the Tokyo Institute of Developing Economies (1988), in doing research on management system of profit sharing based Padang restaurants.
He was recently a visiting scholar and researcher at Leeds Univ, England (2002) and at the Univ of Michigan Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Ann Arbor (2003), both for the writing up of the Compendium of the Quranic verses com-piled thematically, for which 5 of the 10 intended volumes already published with Indonesian translation and similarly an English version is also under plan.
As member of the Peoples House of Representatives and now as member of the Regional House of Reprentatives he has traveled extensively to many parts of the world, particularly in connection with the comparative studies of the legislative bicameral systems in the US, Canada, England, Scandinavian countries, Germany, Turkey, Korea, China, Ma-laysia and Australia.
Thus far he has written some 600 papers (in some 4.300 pages) for various purposes and in various topics, besides a number of books in various topics, and a number of research reports. He wrote in scientific as well as popular manner with easy to digest language and with sociological and philosophical outlook.

Mochtar Naim
Jakarta, February 22, 2007

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