Tue, 15 Jul 2003

Big names vie to become DPD members next year

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Claiming to represent the interests of Jakarta, a number of people including a former minister, businesspeople, activists and also ethnic Jakartans (Betawi) joined the race to gain membership in the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).

They were among the 398 people who picked up registration forms from the Jakarta Provincial General Election Commission (KPUD).

The registration forms were made available for collection on Monday July 8 and the registration period was to end this Monday, but the General Elections Commission (KPU) extended it until July 21.

The would-be candidates, who will be directly elected by the people next April, came from various background.

Betawi community leaders, who have taken the forms, include chairman of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) Fadloli El Muhir, noted Muslim female preacher Soerjani Tohir, son of the late noted actor Benyamin S., Beni Benyamin, and former presenter of state-run TVRI television station, Rusdi Saleh.

While national figures who have picked up the forms include former environment minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja and several businesspeople including Moeryati Soedibyo, Pontjo Sutowo and Kemala Motik.

Mardi, one of the registration staff, said on Monday that environmentalist Emmy Hafild also expressed the wish to take part in the race but she had not picked up the form yet.

The registration form is the first step in applying for candidacy to run for DPD membership before becoming an official candidate.

Each province will have four representatives in the new body. Together with the House of Representatives, DPD will form the People's Consultative Assembly, the highest legislative body in the country. It will be the first time for the country to apply the bicameral system.

The DPD will have various powers, including proposing bills to the House in connection with regional autonomy, management of natural resources and cooperation between the regions and the central government.

The KPU extended the registration period until July 21 as relatively few people have taken registrations forms in the regions due to poor dissemination of information about the registration.

"We are happy that the registration time has been extended as more people may join the race, " said KPUD member Riza Patria, at its meeting on Monday.

Previously a number of urban observers and activists criticized the KPUD for failing to dissemination information on the registration to the people. Between July 8 and July 11, only some 100 people had taken the forms.

The forms should be accompanied by photocopies of the identity cards of 3,000 supporters before they are returned to the KPUD office on Sept. 8.