Wed, 29 Nov 2000

House accepts police chief's installation

JAKARTA (JP): House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung said on Tuesday that the House had accepted the installation of National Police chief Gen. S. Bimantoro by President Abdurrahman Wahid.

"We consider that controversy around the installation (of Bimantoro) is over. We consider that the President has met the procedures," Akbar, who also chairs Golkar Party, said.

He said the President had sent a letter to the House, asking for approval of Bimantoro's installation. The formal request was considered to have met the requirement stipulated in the People's Consultative Assembly Decree No. VII/200 on the Indonesian Military (TNI)/Police.

Akbar said House Commission I for political, security and foreign affairs and Commission II for domestic and legal affairs had discussed the President's letter.

"We hope in the future it will not happen again. We never rejected Bimantoro, but questioned the procedure of his appointment," he added.

Abdurrahman abruptly installed Bimantoro on Sept. 23, replacing Rusdihardjo who was considered unable to maintain security in the capital following a series of bombings in the city.

The President's move was deplored by a majority of the House. Some of them used the issue, in conjunction with allegations of impropriety in meeting a convicted felon at a hotel to discuss a pardon and the President's masseur taking Rp 35 billion from Bulog, to demand a special session to hear the President's account of his conduct.

Commission I chairman Yasril Ananta Baharuddin said on Tuesday the installation was accepted because the House and the government need to discuss the current security situation.

"A meeting between Commission I and Commission II agreed to accept Bimantoro's installment after examining the President's letter," Yasril of Golkar said.

He said the commissions would propose to a plenary session of the House on Wednesday to officially accept the installation of Bimantoro and the dismissal of Rusdihardjo.

The House has never invited Bimantoro to a hearing. A hearing recently called by Commission I with the National Police was canceled due to the presence of Bimantoro, whose appointment was deemed unconstitutional.

The President had earlier insisted that a House approval was unnecessary since the MPR decree suggests that the election of a National Police chief will be regulated further with a law.

Akbar refused to comment on whether the House's acceptance would affect the disgruntled legislators' plan to file a memorandum against Abdurrahman. (jun)