Mon, 22 Dec 2003

Mayor told to obey decision of councillors

Nana Rukmana, The Jakarta Post, Kuningan, West Java

West Java governor Danny Setiawan urged on Saturday Cirebon mayor Subardi and deputy mayor Agus Al Wafier, to obey a recent decision by the Cirebon Legislative Council in which they were prohibited from issuing strategic policies after being dismissed from office.

"It will be better for them to obey the decision, until a team from the Ministry of Home Affairs completes its investigation into the case," Danny told reporters, after swearing-in Kuningan regent and deputy regent Aang Hamid and Ason Suharso for the 2003-2008 term.

The governor's statement followed the dismissal of both the Cirebon mayor and deputy mayor on Wednesday during a plenary meeting at the Cirebon Legislative Council.

They were fired after the council expressed concern that they had failed to answer some questions raised by several councillors on several crucial matters, including incidents of alleged abuse of power.

Besides being fired, the pair were also prohibited from producing strategic policies, including the promotion of civil servants, the issuing of decrees or bylaws and producing agreements with other parties.

According to the governor, the pair had to obey the council's decision, in order to mitigate tension in the city.

But, Danny suggested that the pair continue to work. "They have to carry out routine duties, to make sure that public services runs normally," Danny said without going into details.

Danny said that he would report the case immediately to the Ministry of Home Affairs, in order for the ministry to dispatch a team to investigate the case.

The central government has the final say in the issue.

Separately, Subardi, told reporters that he would not resign as mayor, unless the decision by the Cirebon Legislative Council was endorsed by the President.

"Let's wait and see. I am not a subdistrict head, who can be easily inducted and then fired. If there is no decree from the President to endorse the decision by the Cirebon Legislative Council, I will remain the mayor of Cirebon," he said.

The plenary meeting last Wednesday was attended by Cirebon Legislative Council speaker Suryana, Subardi and other officials at the Cirebon administration.

The ouster of the pair was supported by five major factions in the council. They were the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party, the Justice and Unity Party and the Crescent and Star Party factions.

The mayor was quizzed over several things, including abusing his authority. Soenaryo, a councillor, for example, accused the mayor of launching a reshuffle of officials at his administration without consulting the council and the city's ranking and post supervisory board (Baperjakat). Another councillor Enang Iman Gana said the mayor often neglected his duties, as he was frequently absent from the office.

Nineteen out of total 30 councillors rejected a response by Subardi to inquiries made by the councillors. Only 11 councillors accepted the response of the mayor.

The rejection was the second faced by the mayor, after the legislative council rejected an accountability report by the mayor in October. During the plenary meeting in October, 19 councillors rejected his response to an inquiry by the councillors, nine accepted the mayor's speech and two others abstained.

Subardi and Agus Al Wafier were elected as mayor and deputy mayor in January last year on the PDI Perjuangan and National Mandate Party ticket. They were installed by the West Java governor in April 2003.