Sun, 14 Jan 2001

Get-together is not needed

Democracy, even transitional or experimental democracy, has its price. At this time, halfway into January of the new year, a written apology to the head of state from the House of Representatives is required before democracy can roll forward in Indonesia.

President Abdurrahman Wahid feels he was treated poorly by members of the House during an informal get-together to discuss issues still standing in the way between the executive and legislative branches. The idea was to narrow the differences between the two bodies, although the Constitution or the rules of the legislature do not call for such a meeting, as all problems must be discussed openly in plenary sessions and solutions found through debate.

However, it so happened that the friendly get-together last year left a bitter aftertaste with the President. Following his unconstitutional remarks and inconsistent attitude, a leading legislator suggested to the President that he comply with calls to resign rather than be forced to step down through impeachment.

Personally, I believe there is no need to stage such informal "get-togethers" when the spirit of tolerance is absent and where, in most cases, the President, as the executive, has to defend himself following so many "gates" -- Bulog-gate, Bruneigate, etc.

Understandably, Abdurrahman Wahid does not want to be the target of questions about problems he is seen as responsible for, such as the disappearance of Tommy and the stalled appointment of the Supreme Court chief justice.

Meanwhile, if one takes a look around, the country is still in a mess. Look at Bank Indonesia, which is not operating on its own. It looks as if state institutions are walking with crutches.

The economists are divided into optimistic and pessimistic camps, both basing their views on their own theories, since data supplied by the bureau of statistics shows no real inflationary trends.