Wed, 21 Jun 2000

Health regulation for president needed: Amien

JAKARTA (JP): People's Consultative Assembly Speaker Amien Rais on Tuesday continued his drive for a health requirement to be imposed on the President suggesting that a bill be drafted which clearly defines these criterion for future presidents.

"We should think about such a law in the future. Physical and mental health are an absolute prerequisite for a president," Amien, who is also chairman of National Mandate Party (PAN), said.

Speaking after a meeting with Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) Chairman Satrio B. Joedono, Amien also lamented that his support for Golkar Party Deputy Chairman Agung Laksaono's proposal that President Abdurrahman Wahid be examined by an independent medical team was being misperceived as an effort to undermine the President.

Amien denied suggestions that he was being inconsistent since he, along with Axis Force members, were the first to advocate Abdurrahman's presidential nomination in October last year.

He insisted that Abdurrahman's condition in October was far different from his current condition. Amien even made an analogy of Abdurrahman's present condition with that of former president Soeharto.

"It's like former president Soeharto who was recently protested. Why was there no protest 32-years ago... The assumption is different," he claimed.

Amien's statements have prompted anger among the President's supporters, especially from the National Awakening Party (PKB), which was founded by Abdurrahman.

PKB legislators have called Amien's remarks "harassment" since it assumes that Abdurrahman may be mentally ill.

Meanwhile, the head of the Indonesia Medical Doctor's Association Merdias Almatsier rejected the idea of an independent medical team to examine the President.

"It implies that the current presidential medical team and other doctors are not independent," Merdias said in Makassar on Tuesday.

However, he said the presidential medical team, with the President's approval, could make public the President's medical records to prove his sound health. (27/jun)