Sat, 04 Nov 2000

Analysts differ on political conflicts

YOGYAKARTA (JP): Political researcher Samsu Rizal Panggabean says that the current political conflict among the political elite was not alarming, while another observer Lambang Trijono is of the opinion that the conflicts could make social and political life in the country stagnate.

The contradictory statements were made by the two analysts at a one-day discussion sponsored by the Center for Security and Peace Studies (PSKP) in cooperation with the University of Gadjah Mada here on Friday.

Rizal, who is also a lecturer at the Social and Political Science School at the university, said that conflicts were part of the job of the politicians. "The conflicts between the political elite could be useful in the development of the administration and political life. Nothing to worry about, and nothing to be lamented."

He said the people should see the conflicts in a transitional context due to the democratization process in the last two years.

The other speaker, Lambang said that the political rifts among the elite reflected a crisis of trust among them.

He described, however, that the rifts among the political elite were not as serious as the crisis within the society.

"People are facing a prolonged economic and moral crisis, and the feeling of lack of security. These three factors could lead to despair," he said. He stressed that the moral crisis had resulted in violence in Maluku, Papua, Aceh and other areas.

According to Lambang, both the people and the political elite were suffering from "immoral communalism".

He suggested that the national problem be dealt with through national cooperation. "Ironically, the government has not yet done much for that. The result is that public trust in the government, political elite, law practitioners, social workers and security officers has been steadily decreasing."

Lambang said what the country needed now was the return of the collective national leadership by People's Consultative Assembly's Chairman Amien Rais, President Abdurrahman Wahid, Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Akbar Tandjung.

"Strong collective national leadership is the only answer to the economic, moral and security crises," he said. (23/sur)