Fri, 30 Nov 2001

House endorses Da'i's nomination as police chief

Abu Hanifah The Jakarta Post Jakarta

All factions in the House of Representatives (DPR) endorsed on Monday the nomination of Commr. General Da'i Bachtiar as the new National Police chief to replace General Surojo Bimantoro who is expected to retire by the end of the month.

The endorsement came after Da'i presented his vision before members of a Joint Committee representing House Commissions I and II, which are in charge of police and security affairs.

"The meeting endorsed President Megawati's proposal to appoint Pak Da'i Bachtiar as the new National Police chief," joint committee chairman Teras Narang told the press after the meeting.

Under existing laws, the chief of National Police is appointed by the president with the approval of the House.

Teras said the committee would formulate its official report to be delivered to the House's Consultative Body (Bamus) on Nov. 28.

"The House will announce its official approval after receiving the report from the Bamus in its plenary meeting this Thursday," Teras said.

Committee deputy chairman Ibrahim Ambon said all its factions had approved Da'i's nomination, including the National Awakening Party (PKB) faction.

Earlier, the PKB expressed strong objections to Da'i's nomination for alleged human rights violations when he served as the East Java province police chief.

During the meeting with members of the Joint Committee, Da'i was asked to deliver his vision about the National Police and his ideas to boost its performance.

After presenting his vision and mission, committee members were given the chance to raise questions related to Da'i's past.

Questions raised in the meeting included: Da'i's alleged bribery case involving Rp 140 billion when he was questioning bankers accused of misusing Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLCI) funds; the July 27, 1997 attack on the headquarters of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) which was occupied by Megawati Soekarnoputri's supporters; alleged human rights abuses in Bondowoso and reports of his sons involvement with narcotics.

"We have delivered our accountability regarding the cases. About the July 27 attack, I was not in Jakarta at the time, I was posted as the head of detectives in East Nusa Tenggara Police," Da'i told a hastily conducted press conference after the meeting.

"About my son, I have asked his superior in Bandung. He said that there was no indication that my son is involved with narcotics," said Da'i, who now heads the Police's anti-narcotics agency.

Da'i's son Ade Pipit, who is a deputy police chief in East Bandung police subprecinct, was reportedly involved in a narcotics case.

About the Bondowoso melee which claimed five lives of former president Abdurrahman Wahid's supporters in July last year, Da'i said that he had dismissed the Bondowoso police chief and conducted investigations of police involved in the case.

The closed-door assessment process was criticized by Sutradara Gintings, legislator of the Indonesia Nationhood and Unity (KKI) faction. He said that such a process must not repeated again in the future.

"In other countries, the confirmation hearing is always conducted in open," he said, referring to Da'i's assessment process.