Fri, 18 Aug 2000

Akbar calls on the nation to boost spirit of nationalism

JAKARTA (JP): House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung in his address at the official start of a new House session on Wednesday stressed the need for the nation to evoke the spirit of nationalism to face the country's problems.

"Nationalism is needed to reach the goal of independence, to uphold the unitary state which is based on the state Constitution and Pancasila state ideology," Akbar, who is the Golkar Party chairman, said in his speech.

He warned that the nation was now facing various problems, not only a social and economic crisis but also serious religious conflicts in many areas in the country.

He urged the public to use the momentum of the Aug. 17 independence day celebrations to forge a joint commitment to reduce differences for the sake of the nation.

"The independence day should also be used as a moment for introspection, to find wisdom," Akbar said before President Abdurrahman Wahid gave his state of the nation address.

He said, therefore, that the House urged the government to settle conflicts in Maluku, Aceh and Irian Jaya provinces through peaceful means.

Commenting on the People's Consultative Assembly's Annual Session, Akbar pointed out that it was a new experience in the country's state affairs which could be considered a form of public accountability by the state organs in exercising their tasks and functions within the framework of reform and democracy.

He noted that he expected the Assembly's Annual Session to produce decisions and decrees with optimum strategic values in the handling problems faced by the nation.

"It is, thus, only right for us to prioritize the interests of the people, nation and country over individual and partisan ones," he said.

"Conscience is the eternal voice of truth and justice, which cannot be suppressed by anyone, and will always guide us in our struggle to achieve the ideals of the Proclamation (of Independence)," he added. (jun)