Sat, 08 Oct 1994

Gutless leaders make mockery of autonomy

JAKARTA (JP): In spite of the intensive campaign for more regional autonomy, many government leaders in the region are still reluctant to make their own decisions, according to a senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Such an attitude often results in government policies being implemented in a rigid fashion, Director General for Regional Administration and Autonomy Sumitro Maskun said.

"The Central Government still feels that regional leaders often take their time in carrying out every government policy," Sumitro was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency.

He made the remarks on Thursday evening before top administrators of the Lampung province, including governor Poedjono Pranyoto, in Bandar Lampung.

Sumitro reminded the audience that every level of leader in regional administration, from the governor, regents, city mayors down to district chiefs and village heads has the authority to make decisions they see as appropriate when carrying out government policies.

"We need more creative leaders who can adapt central government policies to their regions, especially now that we are promoting greater autonomy to the second level administrations," he said.

Sumitro realized that many regional officials are reluctant to take their own initiatives for fear of making the wrong decisions. "Everything has a risk. What we need to do is to minimize the risk as much as possible."

He appealed to Governor Poedjono, who is now in the process of selecting new leaders for the 10 second level administrations in Lampung, to choose persons who truly have the capability to lead the people in their designated regions. (emb)