Tue, 08 Aug 2000

Legislators dissatisfied with President's progress report

JAKARTA (JP): Many legislators said they were less than satisfied with the President's progress report on Monday, saying it was being too general and lacked depth and factual data.

House of Representatives Speaker and Golkar chairman Akbar Tandjung said the speech lacked any elaboration on concrete measures taken by the administration.

He described the contents of the speech as a mere justification for the administration's shortcomings. "The report was not able to describe concrete things ... It was just a normative report."

Akbar also criticized the administration's inability to overcome the country's economic crisis and to end the country's security difficulties. "Our life is still not safe. There is still turbulence in the regions although the government says it has taken action to end the upheavals."

Golkar Party legislator Ferry Mursyidan Baldan also lamented the lack of detail in the progress report. "We need numbers, not only qualitative statements, because it's supposed to be a progress report."

The report itself was to be accompanied by an appendix, however as of late on Monday none was forthcoming. Presidential officials said the appendix would be coming "soon".

Legislator Jacob Tobing from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) remarked that the report not only was uninformative, but was merely a description of the problems faced by the country.

"The report did not mention any managerial mistakes inside the administration," Jacob said.

However, he underlined that this would not result in the President being impeached.

"We will make it clear during this Annual Session that for our party it is important that a fixed five-year term for the legitimate President increase the quality of our democratization process," he said.

Another PDI Perjuangan legislator, Zulvan Lindan, said legislators could not evaluate the progress report because it was too general.

"It's difficult to grab the substance of the speech because it was too general. We cannot understand what the main point of the President's explanations was," Zulvan said.

Legislator Rusydi Hamka from the United Development Party (PPP) remarked: "It seems the President was only saying that the nation is facing difficult problems. We agreed with that, but we doubt he can resolve the problems."

Hatta Radjasa from the National Awakening Party (PAN) described the speech as mere rhetoric. "The speech was rhetoric. The problem does not lie in whether we will accept the report or not, but we want a concrete report from the President."

The only legislators who seemed satisfied with the progress report were from the National Awakening Party (PKB), the party which Abdurrahman helped establish.

"The administration has shown its achievements, such as economic growth, low inflation and so on," PKB legislator Taufiqurrahman Saleh said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono said the most important thing was that the report gave a new sense of direction and coherence in running the government.

Attorney General Marzuki Darusman claimed the speech was well received because it provided clear signals to legislators that the President was open to criticism.

"I think the main point is that he is open to criticism and expects suggestions to make corrections. I think the speech was well received," Marzuki said. (dja/nvn/prb/jun/rms)