Mon, 22 Mar 1999

Court urged to probe LDP aid to Golkar

JAKARTA (JP): The National Elections Committee (PPI) called on the Supreme Court to investigate agricultural aid from the Japanese Liberal Democrat Party (LDP), channeled through the Golkar Party.

"The Supreme Court must conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the provision of LDP assistance to Indonesian farmers through Golkar because it is against the law," PPI Chairman Jacob Tobing told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

As reported by state-run TVRI station late Friday, Golkar deputy chairman Abdul Gafur received agricultural aid from Japan's ruling LDP for Indonesian farmers.

The 1999 law on political parties bars foreign aid contributions.

Jacob said there were fears Golkar would use government contributions for its own purposes prior to the June elections.

"The use of money politics is apparent because the aid was provided just before the elections.

"Golkar has committed two mistakes: receiving foreign aid and employing money politics. If proven guilty for the two violations, Golkar should be disqualified," Jacob said.

Sri Edi Swasono, a member of the National Front, said it was a severe error on the part of the LDP to channel its aid through Golkar.

"The LDP hurts Indonesian people's hearts," he said on Saturday after addressing a seminar on postelection democracy in Yogyakarta.

Legal professor Harun Alrasid, General Elections Commission (KPU) deputy chairman, suspected Golkar planned to use the aid to win farmers' votes in the upcoming polls.

"If the Japanese ruling party wants to help Indonesian farmers, it should channel it through the government," he said at the seminar.

He said he would bring the case to the commission's plenary session on Monday.

Arbi Sanit, a political observer, called on the PPI to lodge a protest with the LDP and Golkar over the incident.

"A strong protest should be lodged with the LDP for its impartiality, an activity that could mar the elections."

Arbi said the Supreme Court and the Indonesian Elections Committee -- scheduled for establishment on Monday, should immediately investigate the case as their independence was at stake.

Arbi, who refused to sit on the government-sanctioned committee, said both the Commission and the committee should take action against Golkar.

"If not, people will run amok," he said. (rms/44)