Wed, 24 Mar 1999

Golkar Party told to refuse financial aid from Japan's LDP

JAKARTA (JP): The Golkar Party must return any financial aid given by foreign donors, including that from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), as this violates the new law banning political parties from receiving foreign assistance, Minister of Justice Muladi said on Tuesday.

"If it is true, the aid must be quickly returned," Muladi said after meeting with President B.J. Habibie at Merdeka Palace.

On Friday, Golkar deputy chairman Abdul Gafur disclosed in Tokyo that the supervising chairman of LDP, Yukihiko Ikeda, had assured him that LDP was ready to give financial assistance to Golkar's program to help Indonesian farmers.

Gafur's statement was reported by Suara Karya and Pelita newspapers on Saturday. Gafur is general manager of the Pelita daily. He had said LDP would channel its assistance after the June general election "to avoid any uproar."

A few days later Jacob Tobing, chairman of the National Elections Committee, demanded that the government investigate the report, citing the new law. The United Development Party (PPP) demanded a clarification from Golkar.

Suara Karya on Tuesday reported that Yasril Ananta Baharuddin, a Golkar executive, said the party's trip to Japan was "an invitation from LDP to discuss long-term cooperation in empowering poor farmers in Indonesia," he said.

A Japanese official recently said Japan would avoid any sign of favoritism ahead of the polls because it would only hurt its own interests.

Meanwhile hospitals across Central Java have been instructed to prepare to treat victims of campaign violence ahead of the June polls.

Campaigning is scheduled from May 18 to June 4, but clashes among supporters of different parties have already occurred. One man died in Yogyakarta last week.

On Tuesday, the director of Karyadi General Hospital in Semarang, Sulaeman, said the hospital was appointed coordinator of 105 state and private hospitals in the province.

"We have notified and instructed each hospital to form special teams to take care of possible victims," Sulaeman said.

Teams will be on 24-hour alert in emergency wards. They will work with the provincial branch of the Indonesian Amateur Radio Operators Organization. This would ensure that the injured could be transferred to the nearest available hospital if a medical facility was unable to provide treatment due to various reasons, including patient overcrowding. Two ambulances would be on standby at each hospital, he said.

Meanwhile, secretary of the provincial branch of the ruling Golkar, Sutoyo Abadi, said about 1,500 party flags were damaged and burned by supporters of other parties in several regencies.

He alleged security personnel did nothing to halt the destruction although they were seen witnessing the acts. (har/prb)