Sat, 09 Dec 2000

House urged to continue presidential investigation

JAKARTA (JP): About 1,000 people from various labor and student organizations assembled at the House of Representatives building here on Friday to express support for the House special committee probing corruption scandals allegedly linked to President Abdurrahman Wahid.

The groups included Gaspermindo and the PPMI Muslim labor union, the Islamic Youth Front (Front Gemuis) and students from the University of Indonesia, the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and the State Accounting Institute (STAN).

Front Gemuis spokesman Nadjamudin Ramly said his group demanded a swift and thorough investigation despite the fact that the House was now officially in recess.

"We urge the House to postpone the recess in the case of the special committee so it can continue its probe," said Nadjamudin, who is also deputy chairman of the Pemuda Muhammadiyah, a youth wing of the second largest Muslim organization Muhamadiyah.

House Speaker Akbar Tandjung said on Friday that he had to be informed by the committee members as to whether it would continue its probe during the recess which will last until the middle of January.

"The commission can continue the investigation in so far as it does not interfere with its members' (regular) duties during the recess," Akbar, who is also chairman of the Golkar Party, told representatives from Front Gemuis and Gaspermindo.

He said the House would only take a stance on the issue and decide whether to send a memorandum to the President once the committee had completed its investigations and presented its recommendations.

During his speech marking the closing of the House's second session on Friday, Akbar also reiterated that the committee had been set up in accordance with the House's function of supervising the executive.

"The committee does not aim to interfere with the law," he added.

The committee plans to question the President about his alleged role in the withdrawal of Rp 35 billion from a State Logistics Agency (Bulog) foundation and a US$2 million donation he received from the Sultan of Brunei Hasanal Bolkiah.

Meanwhile, the committee's chairman Bachtiar Chamsyah asserted that committee members have decided to continue the investigation during the recess.

"The decision taken is in line with the increasing show of support from many sides," he said. (rms/jun)