Thu, 11 Aug 1994

Long-time allies pull the rug from under Ismail Hasan

JAKARTA (JP): The chances Ismail Hasan Metareum will retain his post as chairman of the United Development Party (PPP) were severely undermined yesterday when long-time powerful allies decided to pull the carpet out from under him just three weeks before the election.

Six of the seven influential PPP figures who played a vital role in his rise to power five years ago decided to withdraw their support, saying that he did not have the political will to develop the Moslem-based party.

The "Group of Eight" or "Kodel Group", of which Ismail Hasan is a member, was set up late in the 1980s to oust the then powerful, government-backed PPP chairman, H.J. Naro.

The other members are Aisyah Aminy, Husni Thamrin, Mohamad Sulaiman, Holil Badawi, Yusuf Sakir, Hartono Mardjono and Faisal Basir. Now, Ismail Hasan can rely only on Aisyah's loyalty.

The dissident members said they were disappointed by Ismail Hasan's lack of openness in party policies and his inconsistencies in implementing the political organization's rules.

In a letter to Ismail Hasan, Thamrin criticized him for harboring suspicions against fellow party leaders.

"From the drafts of the party statutes offered to regional branches, it is obvious that Ismail Hasan has no political will to develop PPP," Thamrin said.

"I bid you good bye, may God clear your heart of all suspicions, hatred and vengeance," said Thamrin, a former student activist, who is well known as an outspoken politician.

Another dissident, Mohamad Sulaiman, told The Jakarta Post that he and Ismail Hasan had "too many differences" on principle party policies.

He said that a major weakness in the current PPP board of executives was the poor coordination.

He said it was embarrassing that Ismail Hasan was competing with the party's secretary-general, Matori Abdul Djalil, for the top spot and that both were making such a major issue of factions. Mohamad Sulaiman added that this was exacerbating and deepening internal conflicts.

"I think both Matori and Ismail Hasan should withdraw from the race for the sake of PPP's good name," he said.

PPP is a 1973 fusion of four Moslem organizations: NU, MI, Perti and PSII. Ismail Hasan is affiliated with MI, which has dominated the party's leadership since the party was formed 21 years ago. Matori belongs to NU, the largest faction.

Sulaiman said the six dissidents have not decided on which candidate they will back.

Ismail Hasan still appears to be the strongest of five candidates, but he has yet to prove that he is strong enough to endure efforts by regional leaders to upset his re-election bid.

Rafie Achmad, deputy chairman of the Tangerang PPP branch, yesterday called on other branches not to support Ismail Hasan on the grounds that his policies have resulted in internal conflicts.

Ismail Hasan has secured support from 22 of the 25 regional branches in West Java and several more from other provinces. The latest backing came from his home province of Aceh yesterday.

The support was announced at the end of a two-day meeting of 10 regional branches in the capital city of Banda Aceh on Tuesday.

The chairman of the Aceh chapter of PPP, H.M. Kaoy Syah, said that the support was lent not because Ismail Hasan hails from Aceh, but because he had the qualities that a party leader must have.

"Ismail Hasan has the right blend of ulema, intellectual and idealism; qualities that haven't worn thin since his youth," he said as quoted by Antara. (pan)