Tue, 24 Jun 2003

Legislators' no-show delays anticorruption law revision

Kurniawan Hari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The House of Representatives failed on Monday to hold its scheduled plenary meeting as less than half of the total number of legislators showed up.

The meeting was slated to discuss a proposal on the revision of Law No.30/2002 on the Anticorruption Commission.

The poor attendance prompted House deputy speaker Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno to close the meeting and tell the House steering committee (Bamus) to arrange another time.

"This is very embarrassing," Soetardjo said after bring down the gavel to cancel the meeting.

Soetardjo opened the meeting at 9:30 a.m. when the number of legislators present in the auditorium was recorded as 114.

After a delay of more than an hour, the number of legislators reached 229, which is below the mandatory number of 251.

The plenary meeting was supposed to hear views from the House's nine factions on the proposed amendment of anticorruption commission.

The proposed amendments were submitted by 19 cross-party legislators in January, but many of them have since withdrawn their support due to instructions from their respective factions.

Tumbu Saraswati of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction, who is among those who have withdrawn their support, said the poor attendance was possibly linked to disagreement among the legislators.

Tumbu, however, declined to explain what this disagreement might be.

The proposal to revise the law was spearheaded by legislators from the United Development Party (PPP) faction.

The PPP faction has rejected the articles in the law that abolish the Public Servants' Wealth Audit Commission.

The audit commission is chaired by Jusuf Syakir, a senior PPP member.

Jusuf revealed last week that he and fellow commissioners had appealed to the Supreme Court (MA) over two conflicting laws -- Law No.30/2002 on the anticorruption commission (KPTPK) and Law No.28/1999 on the audit commission (KPKPN).

Under Law No.30/2002, the KPKPN is subsumed into the KPTPK.

The move to get rid of the KPKPN is apparently popular among legislators. The powers of the KPKPN to force the disclosure of the assets of all public officers, including legislators, had long been worrying House members.

But, Soetardjo, whose PDI Perjuangan faction has rejected the proposal, seemed to deny the controversy, saying that the poor attendance was simply due to personal inadequacies on the part of legislators.

"This is due to the legislators's poor discipline. We urge the leaders of the factions and political parties to act resolutely (against them)," Soetardjo said, while admitting frequent delays in the holding of House sessions.

Meanwhile, the head of the Session Administration Bureau in the House secretariat, Subijanto Sudardjo, said that his bureau always sent attendance lists to each faction, but still poor attendance was commonplace.

Subijanto added that his team had been calculating and evaluating the attendance of legislators, and reporting on this to the House leadership since 1999, but there had been no significant changes as regards percentage attendance.

------------------------------------------------ No. Factions Seats Attendance ------------------------------------------------ 1. PDI Perjuangan 152 60 2. Golkar 120 40 3. PPP 58 27 4. PKB 54 24 5. Reform 41 23 6. Military/Police 38 35 7. KKI 12 4 8. PBB 11 9 9. PDU 11 7 ------------------------------------------------

497 229