Wed, 09 Jul 2003

Legislator punches minister

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Legislator Djamal Doa punched State Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Alimarwan Hanan in the stomach on Tuesday for allegedly blocking the lawmaker's bid for a post on the central executive board of the religious-based United Development Party (PPP).

The incident, in front of a number of journalists, took place inside the compound of the official residence of Vice President Hamzah Haz on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta, before an internal party meeting.

Djamal, Alimarwan and several other party leaders were waiting for Hamzah, the party's chairperson, to invite them into his house when the legislator suddenly punched the minister.

Party executive Sofyan Usman, who was standing beside Alimarwan, came to the minister's rescue, pushing Djamal to the ground, causing the lawmaker's eyeglasses to fall to the ground and break.

Other party leaders, including Chozin Chumaidy and former attorney general Andi Ghalib, tried to end the scuffle by separating the two.

Djamal told the press after the incident that Alimarwan had prevented him from taking up the position of deputy chairman for the party's research and development division without any clear reason.

Hamzah "had nominated me for the position but Alimarwan rejected the decision without a clear reason," he said.

"Last Saturday, the party met to vote to decide whether or not I deserved the post. I don't know what went on (during the meeting) but I don't need that post now," Djamal told reporters.

"I need clarification on whether they rejected me because I was once branded as Pak Bachtiar's supporter."

Bachtiar Chamsjah, the current social affairs minister, was Hamzah's rival in the election for party chairman in May but was defeated.

Alimarwan refused to comment, arguing that "it (the incident) is an internal matter."