Mon, 23 Oct 2000

Golkar celebrates with harsh critique on government

JAKARTA (JP): The Golkar party celebrated its 34th anniversary on Sunday with a stinging critique of the government's failure to stamp out corruption and collusion and charged that the executive body was no better than the past highly criticized Golkar administrations.

"Many people spoke out against corruption, collusion and nepotism when Golkar was in power but elements in the current government conduct the same practices," party chairman Akbar Tandjung said during celebration at the grounds of the Cipanas Palace gardens in West Java.

Akbar, who is also speaker of the House of Representatives, criticized the way President Abdurrahman Wahid managed the government saying that it was no better than Golkar when it was in power.

He said corruption and collusion were just as evident.

"The trend of these illegal practices should be fought based on our commitment in the reform era," he remarked.

Akbar claimed the new Golkar of today had thoroughly self- introspected and accepted that it was no longer in power, evident in the fact that none of the Cabinet ministers came from Golkar, except for Attorney General Marzuki Darusman.

He noted that after two and a half years of humiliation, public trust was slowly returning to the party.

"It's okay being outside of the government. To return to power, we just have to wait for the right time," Akbar remarked as quoted by Antara.

He said the return of public trust also boosted the spirit of the party's executives in its preparations to win the 2004 general election.

The celebrations were belated as Golkar was established on Oct. 20. Commemorations had to be postponed due to the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference. (jun)