Tue, 08 Aug 2000

Fate of regional faction still unclear

JAKARTA (JP): The plenary meeting of the People's Consultative Assembly's Annual Session skirted controversy on the issue of a regional representatives faction when it referred to the issue to be discussed in a commission.

"I personally agree with the establishment of a regional representatives faction. But let the matter be discussed by the Assembly's commission," Assembly Speaker Amien Rais said at the opening of Monday's plenary session.

Amien was responding to interruptions by several regional representatives during the opening proceedings demanding that the Assembly accept a proposal to allow it to set up the faction.

The regional representatives demanded that the Assembly alter its internal rule, specifically Article 13, which states that the Assembly's factions should only consist of factions from political parties, the Indonesian Military (TNI)/National Police and representatives of societal groups.

Legislator Alex Hansekan, a representative from Irian Jaya province, said the proposal was aimed at highlighting regional development.

"We hope regional interests can be better heard with the establishment of the faction," said Alex.

Golkar Party chairman Akbar Tandjung said also his party could accept a regional representatives faction.

"For the sake of the nation and regional development, the proposal can be considered," Akbar, who is also speaker of the House of Representatives, said after the session.

But senior legislator Aisyah Amini of the United Development Party (PPP) rejected the idea of such a faction, saying that it should be incorporated into respective political parties.

"The regional representatives are appointed by political parties, so it's normal that they be grouped in political parties' factions," Aisyah said.

On Article 49 of the internal rules, the Assembly agreed on Monday to change the article to allow the Assembly's annual session to "listen to and evaluate" the president's progress report.

The previous article stated that the session would only listen to the report. (jun)