Wed, 31 Aug 1994

Indonesia must make voting a tradition, scholar says

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia should make voting a tradition in deciding some of the political issues, and not insist on consensus all the time, according to a noted political scholar.

Prof. Dr. Miriam Budiardjo, in her latest book which came off the presses yesterday, deplored the poor productivity of House of Representatives which has created a condition where too many issues are left unregulated, or managed by government officials' decrees instead -- thus stretching the executive's span of control.

In her book, Miriam suggests policy makers should be encouraged to take decisions through the mechanism of voting, something which has been considered as less than ideal compared to the Indonesian principle of musyawarah mufakat or "deliberation to reach consensus".

The application of voting by the DPR will give the Indonesian democracy "a specific color," the expert in the social and political sciences writes in her book Demokrasi di Indonesia: Demokrasi Parlementer dan Demokrasi Pancasila (Democracy in Indonesia: The Parliamentarian Democracy and the Pancasila Democracy).

The book, along with another entitled Pembangunan Politik, Situasi Global dan Hak Asasi di Indonesia (Political Development, Global Situation and Human Rights in Indonesia), was launched last night by its publisher, PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama, in honor of Miriam's 70th birthday.

The second book, which is edited by Haris Munandar, is a collection of essays written by 27 political analysts and other intellectuals and is also in Miriam's honor.

The launching of both books at Bentara Budaya Jakarta was attended by the creme de la creme of Indonesia's intelligentsia.

They include Taufik Abdullah, theologist Frans Magnis Suseno, political analyst Juwono Sudarsono and former minister of education Fuad Hassan.

Wife of Indonesia's first vice president, Rahmi Hatta, also attended, as did Miriam's colleagues at the National Commission for Human Rights, Roekmini Koesoemoastoeti and Albert Hasibuan.

Juwono said in his speech during the book launching ceremony that the intellectual community, or those who were born and raised in the "zone of peace and affluence", should dedicate the greater part of their lives to help the unfortunate and those still dwelling in the "zone of conflicts".

Born in 1923 in Kediri, East Java, into the family of Dr. KRT Mohamad Saleh Mangoendiningrat, Miriam had models of high achievement within her family.

Her eldest sister is Siti Wahyunah SH, better known as Poppy Sjahrir -- the wife of Sutan Sjahrir, Indonesia's first prime minister. The late Dr. Soedjatmoko, her elder brother, was an intellectual with an international reputation and was once rector of the University of the United Nations in Tokyo.

Miriam's younger brother, Nugroho Wisnumurti SH, LLM, is now Indonesia's ambassador to the United Nations in New York.

Miriam has one daughter, Gitayana, and two grandchildren.

The wife of Ali Budiardjo (81), a former politician and government official, Miriam's name will never be separated from the development of political sciences here.

She is Indonesia's first political graduate and she helped build the first school of political science at the University of Indonesia.

After a five-year stint as a diplomat in New Delhi and Washington (1948-1953), Miriam studied politics at Georgetown University. She obtained her Master of Arts degree while working as undersecretary of the Indonesian embassy in Washington, and returned home in 1955.

From 1959 to 1961, she took a specialization in political concepts in Harvard University. In 1962, she helped establish Public Affairs Science Program (IPK) as part of the Law School at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, and became chair of the political sciences program.

In 1968, the IPK was separated and became School of Social Sciences (now it is called FISIP-UI, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Indonesia). She chaired the political sciences program until 1973, and became dean from 1974 to 1979. She also became the coordinator of post graduate political studies and chaired the social sciences consortium.

After dedicating 40 years of her life to education, she retired in 1989. However, she still writes and teaches at the Military Law School. (swe)