Thu, 03 Aug 2000

Can legislators evaluate their own performances?

JAKARTA (JP): A political observer considered it strange and paradoxical that the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), a majority of whom are members of the House of Representatives (DPR), will have to evaluate the House's progress report in next week's first Annual Session.

Samsuddin Harris from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said that although the House is subordinate to the Assembly and both have their own functions, it would be psychologically impossible for the Assembly to evaluate the House and make objective corrections because 500 of the Assembly's 700 members were also MPR members.

"This means MPR members will evaluate their own performance," he said in a discussion on the MPR Annual Session's agenda here on Wednesday.

One of the Assembly's main agendas during the session is to evaluate the progress report from the government, State Audit Agency, Supreme Advisory Council, Supreme Court and the House.

According to Samsuddin, the House should make its annual progress report to the people who elected them in the last general election.

This can be done, he said, with the help of the mass media.

"The people, legislators' constituents, can then present their evaluation through the general election and they will certainly cast their votes to parties who they feel absorbed their political aspirations," he added.

Several legislators dismissed Samsuddin's analysis, saying that apart from the 500 House members there were also 200 regional representatives and the interest group faction in the Assembly which can play a key role in the evaluation.

Heri Achmadi, secretary of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction, said the presence of these other 200 members is expected to give a special color to the Assembly's proceedings.

Yahya Zaini of the Golkar Party faction said political observers should not think too negatively of the House because the present legislature is quite different from those in the past.

Alfi Achmad of the Reform faction concurred and said it was the first time the Assembly would hold an Annual Session.

"Let the Assembly hold the annual meeting according to the agenda because we are learning the process of democracy," he said.

The three legislators also said their factions at the Assembly had no objections to the 164 regional representatives' plan to establish their own faction to channel regional aspirations in the Annual Session.


In a separate development the National Awakening Party (PKB) faction rejected during a meeting on Wednesday the Assembly's Working Committee decision to bring the controversial draft decree on a review of its internal rulings to the Annual Session, saying the draft decree has yet to be deliberated by the Ad Hoc Committee.

A. Choliq Achmad, secretary of the PKB faction said the Working Committee was discriminative and inconsistent as it turned down another draft decree proposed by the regional representatives in their efforts to establish their own faction.

The Working Committee in the Plenary Session on Wednesday accepted a decree proposed by 27 legislators, suggesting that the Assembly's Annual Session not only listen to the government progress report but also evaluate it.

Assembly speaker Amien Rais who presided over the session on Wednesday said: "For democratic reasons, the PKB faction will still have a chance to reject the draft decree in the Annual Session."

The draft decree also allows the Annual Session to recommend a Special Session to ask for an accountability speech from the president. If the draft decree is endorsed the Assembly could hold a Special Session to impeach the president if he is found to have violated the constitution, state policy outlines and the law. (rms/jun)