Wed, 09 Jul 2003

House set to endorse bill on legislative bodies

Kurniawan Hari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The House of Representatives is expected to bring the bill on the status and composition of legislative bodies, the fourth bill needed for the elections, to a plenary meeting for endorsement on Wednesday.

The bill will be the fifth of 41 bills the House promised to endorse in the current 72-day sitting period. The House will go on recess on Thursday and convene again on Aug. 14.

Of the targeted 43 bills in the October-November sitting period last year, the House was able to finish only seven bills, while in the January-March session the House was able to endorse 15 bills of 53 targeted.

Deputy House Speaker Muhaimin Iskandar of the National Awakening Party (PKB) blamed the government earlier for its tardiness in appointing related ministers to discuss the bill.

The House asked the government for more funds to help improve its performance, but it was unable to improve its record.

Meanwhile, a special committee deliberating the bill on the composition of legislative bodies agreed to all articles in the bill after intensive discussion over a 45-day period.

"We will bring this (bill) to a plenary meeting for endorsement," committee chairman Yahya Zaini of the Golkar faction said at a hearing with Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno on Tuesday.

Unlike the deliberation of the presidential elections bill, the debate on the composition of legislative bodies was relatively easy.

Under the new bill, a House leader convicted of a crime is not allowed to preside over House's meetings or to act as spokesperson of the House.

The consensus was reached after lobbying among leaders of the House's factions.

The bill also gives political parties the authority to recall cadres for specific reasons, including if party members have committed crimes or violated the House's code of ethics.

Regarding the newly introduced Regional Representatives Council (DPD), politicians agreed to give limited authority to the new legislative institution.

Based on the bill, the DPD has the right to provide inputs to bills relating to regional autonomy to the House for discussion. However, the DPD does not have the right to discuss the bill with the government.

Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno emphasized on Tuesday that the bill was designed to improve the performance of the legislative bodies, to boost the supervisory role, as well as to improve the quality of future legislators.

"It is our responsibility to make all these ideas materialize," the minister said.