Fri, 24 Nov 2000

Legislators fail to submit proposal against Gus Dur

JAKARTA (JP): Legislators failed to submit on Thursday a proposal for the House of Representatives (DPR) to issue a "right of expression" on President Abdurrahman Wahid's performance.

"We'll submit the proposal on Nov. 30. Now, we're waiting for more signatories," legislator Alvin Lie from the National Mandate Party (PAN) told reporters after meeting Deputy House Speaker Soetardjo Soerjoguritno.

Alvin, accompanied by Julius Usman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) and Ade Komaruddin of the Golkar Party, met with Soetardjo to discuss the proposal.

He said the proposal, which will describe several alleged Constitutional violations by Gus Dur, the president's nickname, has been signed by more than 100 legislators.

Ade Komaruddin said the proposal, if endorsed by the House plenary session, could lead to a petition questioning the President's performance.

"If the President cannot respond satisfactorily to questions in the memorandum, the House could call a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) to hold the President accountable," Ade said.

He claimed that legislators from Abdurrahman's own National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Indonesian Military (TNI)/Police factions refused to endorse the proposal.

A source said that Soetardjo, who is also a senior legislator of PDI Perjuangan, likely disagreed with the proposal initiated by the young legislators.

"On Aug. 30, the House will decide whether they will accept the memorandum or not. However, I, myself, will not sign it," Sutardjo said before his party's national meeting later in the day.

Former Coordinating Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry Kwik Kian Gie also said he would not sign the proposal.

"I have nothing to do with it, and I don't want to know about it, either", Kwik, who earlier sponsored an informal legislators meeting on Nov. 11, said.

Meanwhile, secretary to PKB faction Abdul Kholiq Achmad considered that the demonstrations at the DPR/MPR building compound on Thursday were closely linked with the memorandum calling for an MPR special session to impeach the president.

He said legislators who signed the memorandum were those who had demanded the President's resignation in the Kwik-initiated meeting.

"The memorandum will not win the support of the 500-member House because there is no evidence to prove that the President has violated the Constitution, the State Guidelines or the law," Kholiq said.

In a separate conflict between political elites, Fuad Amin Imran, another PKB legislator, challenged former finance minister Fuad Bawazir to go to court over an accusation that the latter had financed a series of anti-President Abdurrahman demonstrations.

"I have authentic evidence that Fuad Bawazir has sponsored the demonstrations at the House, asking the President to step down," he said on a talk show aired by private television station SCTV on Thursday.

Fuad Amin was responding to Fuad Bawazir's threat to sue him over the accusation.

Fuad Amin said he had 40 witnesses and copies of bank transfer receipts to prove that Fuad Bawazir had paid a number of non- governmental organizations to organize the mass demonstrations.

Separately, Taufikurrahman Saleh, chairman of the PKB faction at the House, and Kholiq confirmed that their faction had collected evidence alleging involvement by certain political figures, including Fuad Bawazir, in maneuvers to topple the President.

"We have prepared authentic evidence to present in court that Fuad Bawazir participated in financing the demonstrations," Taufikurrahman told The Jakarta Post.

He regretted the demonstrations and the political engineering conducted by certain political figures to topple the president, saying they should be held responsible if the demonstrations turn violent.

Outside the House building, thousands of anti-government demonstrators almost clashed with pro-government demonstrators on Thursday when the two camps readied sticks and stones while exchanging harsh words.

Pro-government demonstrators withdrew when around 500 anti- riot Police from the Police Mobile Brigade moved to disperse the two groups.

In Semarang, Abdurrahman's uncle and chairman of the Central Java chapter of the Indonesian Muslim Council of Ulemas (MUI), Sahal Mahfud, said the situation would not improve if the President was asked to resign.

"We should consider that the situation might get worse," said Sahal, who is also chairman of the legislative body of the country's largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). (02/har/rms/jun)