Tue, 30 May 2000

Interpellation no plot to overthrow govt: PDI faction

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction at the House of Representatives here on Monday assured that the majority support for an interpellation was not aimed at toppling President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Chairman of the PDI Perjuangan faction at the House, Arifin Panigoro, told journalists that his faction's support for an interpellation plan was merely a way to check on the government.

"PDI Perjuangan has no objection to the President's decision to dismiss Laksamana Sukardi and Yusuf Kalla but wants to seek clarification about reasons behind the firings so that the government doesn't turn authoritarian," he said.

The House in its plenary session on Monday agreed to hand over the interpellation plan to be deliberated further by the House's committee in charge of deliberating policies (Bamus).

Last Friday, House Speaker Akbar Tandjung received a list of 277 signatures of legislators from five House factions supporting the interpellation plan.

PDI Perjuangan and Golkar Party legislators made up the bulk of the petition.

No less than 125 of 147 PDI Perjuangan legislators and 99 of 113 Golkar Party legislators in the House signed the petition for an interpellation.

Other support came from the Reform and United Development Party (PPP) factions.

Panigoro pointed out that the interpellation plan was not against the constitution because the House has the right to interpellate the President on any controversial decision and policies he made.

"The check and balance between the House and the government must be upheld in accordance with the democratic system. That is why the President should not consider the interpellation plan as a move from certain factions of the House to bring down the government," he said.

But another PDI Perjuangan legislator, Yoseph Umarhadi, warned that the interpellation plan could be manipulated by other factions to discredit the government and to propose a vote of no- confidence in the People's Consultative Assembly General Session in August.

"It is better for the President to be honest on the reasons behind his decision to fire the two ministers. If the President is not honest and the House is not satisfied with the President's explanation, it could raise further political consequences. The House could propose an investigation into the case," he said.

He acknowledged that his party was disappointed with Laksamana's firing because he was widely known as an honest figure in the party.

"We are disappointed that he was accused of corrupt, collusive and nepotistic practices and also over the fact that Laksamana's successor was not taken from our party," he said.

Amien Aryoso, chairman of the House's commission on home affairs, called on House factions not to manipulate the interpellation plan to bring down the government considering the chaotic domestic situation.

Hamzah Haz, PPP chairman, said in Jepara, Central Java, on Sunday that his party would support a move of no-confidence against the government if the President was proven to have failed in adhering to Assembly decrees. (rms)