Fri, 17 Nov 2000

Golkar has no plan to topple President: Akbar

JAKARTA (JP): Golkar Party has no plan to join the ranks of critics demanding the resignation of President Abdurrahman Wahid, its chairman Akbar Tandjung said on Thursday.

"Golkar will never unseat the President, but instead will continuously criticize him for the government's poor performance," Akbar, also the House of Representatives Speaker, remarked.

He said the conclusion of last weekend's informal meeting between legislators which demanded Abdurrahman's removal, represented their personal views.

The legislators, some of them from Golkar, announced on Wednesday they would ask their respective factions to file a memorandum asking the People's Consultative Assembly to reprimand the President over the way he runs the government.

Although some of its members attended the meeting, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) has pledged to support Abdurrahman until his term ends in 2004.

PDI Perjuangan and Golkar hold between them more than half of the House's 500 seats.

Chairman of the Abdurrahman's National Awakening party (PKB) faction Taufikurrahman Saleh agreed with Akbar, saying the outcome of the meeting could not represent the House.

"It's just an emotional expression of certain legislators who are disappointed with the government," Taufikurrahman said.

He suggested the legislators find solutions to the country's innumerable problems, rather than just repeatedly calling on the President to step down.

Legislators from PKB and the Indonesian Military (TNI)/Police faction skipped Saturday's meeting which was sponsored by former coordinating minister for economics, finance and industry Kwik Kian Gie.

As previously predicted, the meeting became a forum for certain outspoken legislators to list a litany of mistakes as justification to ask for Abdurrahman's resignation.


No faction has so far officially proposed for a memorandum against Abdurrahman as recommended by the meeting.

The Crescent and Star Party (PBB), through its faction chairman Ahmad Sumargono, expressed on Thursday its intention to take action on the meeting's recommendations.

"We should follow up the results of the meeting. People will be angry if we do not," Sumargono remarked. He said his faction has yet to formally receive a report from its members attending the meeting.

House Deputy Speaker A.M. Fatwa said his Reform faction would just follow the major factions, namely Golkar and PDI Perjuangan.

"We should discuss it together. We should wait for Golkar and PDI Perjuangan," Fatwa, who is also deputy chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), remarked.

He denied reports of his party's nomination of its chairman Amien Rais for vice presidency if Abdurrahman resigns.

Amien, who is also the Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly, expressed his readiness to take the vice presidential job in response to a reporter's question, Fatwa said.

"Pak Amien just indicated his readiness if it's needed for the good of the nation," Fatwa contended.

He said his party would nominate United Development Party (PPP) chairman Hamzah Haz for the vice presidency if Megawati replaces Abdurrahman as the president.

Meanwhile, political observer Muh. A.S. Hikam played down on Thursday the resignation calls directed at Abdurrahman.

"I think there is no serious threat in such a motion. It's part of the growing pains of our reform. Such a call is actually meaningless as it has been exaggerated by the media," Hikam, who is also the State Minister for Research and Technology, said.

He said a meeting outside the House would result in people's disrespect for formal institutions as a venue to channel their aspirations.

Many of the political elite in the parliament have run out of issues and are prone to making sensational remarks to show that they are working, according to Hikam.

"It's not fair to ask a person to resign on baseless grounds," he added. (jun/edt)