Wed, 17 May 2000

Gus Dur enjoys breakfast at Mega's official residence

JAKARTA (JP): President Abdurrahman Wahid breakfasted at Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri's official residence on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday in a clear attempt at refuting rumors of worsening relations with her.

The President said at their meeting they discussed the latest state of the country and the relationship between the National Awakening Party (PKB), which the President cofounded last year, and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), which Megawati chairs.

He insisted the meeting was a routine one, and his relationship with Megawati was fine despite some differences in their political views.

"I received some suggestions from her, and in return I conveyed my opinions to her. I have never forced (my views) on her," the President said afterward.

Cracks have been showing in the long-standing relationship between the two reform figureheads following Abdurrahman's firing of Laksamana Sukardi, a senior member of PDI Perjuangan, as state minister of investment and state enterprises development last month. He was replaced by Abdurrahman's friend Rozy Munir.

Gus Dur, as the President is widely known, sent his daughter Zannuba Arifah "Yeni" Chafsoh Rahman and cousin Saifullah Yusuf to tell Megawati about the reshuffle, who was on a private visit to Singapore.

"I had breakfast with her just now. She wasn't angry," Abdurrahman replied when asked about their relationship.

When pressed on why he went to Megawati's home, he said: "It is my own business. Because she is a woman."

Abdurrahman also used the media briefing as an opportunity to defend his youngest brother Hasyim Wahid, who is currently working as an expert staff at the Indonesian Banking Restructuring Agency (IBRA).

He said the agency needed his brother's help to make problematic debtors repay their debts. "It is natural if IBRA chairman Cacuk Sudaryanto pays him and provides him some facilities," he said.

He said he had told Hasyim to go ahead with his work persuading debtors to settle their obligations, and guaranteed that his brother was a honest man.

The President also touched on rumors of a massive reshuffle of the Indonesian Military (TNI), including the replacement of TNI Chief Admiral Widodo A.S. (prb)