Fri, 18 Aug 2000

Legislator practices politics for people

JAKARTA (JP): Efforts to brush aside the long-standing image of the House of Representatives as a mere rubber-stamper of the government should not simplify the role played by a young politician from Golkar Party, Ade Komarudin.

The nation saw "a political taboo" maintained for more than three decades broken when the House questioned, if not criticized, the policy of the President.

It was the 35-year-old legislator who, along with fellow young turks in the House, initiated the House interpellation motion against President Abdurrahman Wahid's decision to dismiss two ministers without clear reasons.

Talking about the move, Ade contends he never had any intention to unseat Abdurrahman by proposing the motion or any ill-feeling toward the President, saying that he was just exercising his responsibility as a legislator who has to control the President.

"There is no personal animosity against him, but it is the right and obligation of legislators to watch over the President," Ade told The Jakarta Post.

He underlined that he wants to erase the public image that the House merely says "yes" to whatever decision is taken by the government.

"If every state body functions as it is supposed to be, everything will be all right. We, legislators, have to fight for the people we are representing and this does not mean we are attempting to topple the President" Ade said.

"House members need empowerment to exercise their rights and obligations. They should not be chained as happened during the New Order regime."

In the ongoing Annual Session of the People's Consultative Assembly, Ade has a seat in the Commission C charged with evaluating the progress reports of state institutions, including the presidency, and proposing recommendations to reply to the reports.

However, he admitted he remains unhappy with the commission's decision to merely ask the President to give details of the task- sharing formula between the President and Vice President without putting further pressure on the government to improve its performance.

"For the last ten months, the executives have yet to prove anything, there has been no reform at all. No change has taken place because everybody can see the New Order survived," he said.

Born on May 20, 1965, and married to Netty Marliza, Ade joined Golkar Party in 1997 and in that year's general election he was elected a legislator representing the province of West Java.

Soon after arriving in Senayan, the area where the House is located, Ade was among the first Golkar legislators who read signs of the New Order's demise and signed "a vote of non- confidence" against former president Soeharto.

"I remember it was on May 18, 1998, that I, along with 20 legislators, signed the note in the House's room number 1314 and submitted it to our faction chairman. Our faction was afraid to take a stance," Ade recollected.

Politics is nothing new in his life and he has been known as an activist since he was a student at the Jakarta-based Syarif Hidayatullah State Institute of Islamic Studies. He is also a former deputy chairman of the Association of Islamic Students (HMI).

Following in the footsteps of his senior, House Speaker Akbar Tandjung, Ade joined the Indonesian Young Generation for Reform (AMPI), a youth organization affiliated with Golkar.

"So actually everything is as usual, if right now I am still critical and trying to look for a better solution to this stagnant condition. I have made politics my choice of life and I will be serious in this field," Ade said.

When asked whether he is afraid of being outspoken about the government, he said: "We should start to worry when most people disagree with us, but not when most people agree with what we are doing."

"In life we should not expect or be afraid of anything. Life goes on and we do our best and see how things come up." (dja)