Tue, 15 Aug 2000

MPR wants Megawati's tasks to be detailed

JAKARTA (JP): Subcommission C of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has agreed to prepare only one draft decree that instructs the President to issue a detailed presidential decree on the Vice President's new tasks.

The decree will incorporate the Assembly's recommendations to state institutions, including the government.

Postdam Hutasoit of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction, who presided over the subcommission's meeting on Monday, said the Assembly's recommendations and the delegation of presidential duty would be inserted in an appendix of the draft decree on the Assembly's evaluation of state institutions' progress reports.

"We don't need a special decree to formalize the handover of day-to-day running of the government because the aspirations of three minority parties proposing a special decree will be accommodated in the draft decree prepared by the Assembly's working committee," he said in the meeting.

Quoting the President's recent speech delivered before the Assembly's plenary session, Postdam said the draft decree stipulates a necessity for the President to issue a presidential decree on the Vice President's detailed tasks.

"According to the President's speech, the Vice President will tackle technical tasks of day-to-day administration, design the next Cabinet's work agenda and set the government's priorities. With the new tasks, the Vice President will have to report to the President regularly," he said, adding that such a draft decree was not against the Constitution or the presidential system of the government.

The subcommission reached the agreement after lobbying the United Development Party (PPP), Crescent Star Party (PBB) and reform factions, which proposed a special draft decree.

Sophan Sophiaan, chairman of the PDI Perjuangan faction, said the three minority factions' aspirations would be accommodated in the draft decree, which was prepared by the Assembly's working committee, but they would be carefully worded so that the draft decree would not violate the Constitution.

"There will be no delegation of power. The decree will contain a delegation of duty," he said.

He said PDI Perjuangan, along with seven other factions, opposed the insertion of the delegation of duty as it was pledged by the President in the draft decree.

"We reject the special decree proposed by the three factions because it has never been deliberated by the working committee," he said.

Amien Aryoso of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction said with the draft decree, the Assembly would accept and appreciate the President's good will to give new tasks to the Vice President to run the government.

Alvin Lie of the Reform faction said the three factions proposed the special draft decree because they no longer trusted the President, not to mention his physical handicaps, which have hindered him from managing the government.

"With the special draft decree, the three factions are trying to help him by giving him a valid and legitimate aide, Megawati, to safeguard his government," he said.

He declined to answer whether the three factions used the special draft decree as a political bargaining tool with the President to gain several seats in the next Cabinet.

"It's up to you to make such an analysis on the political motives behind the three factions' motion," he said.

M.S. Kaban of the PBB faction, however, acknowledged the three factions' strong attempt to gain several seats in the next Cabinet.

"Politics cannot be separated from power. Like other political parties, we are also intensifying our lobby to share in the power," he said.

Yahya Zaini of the Golkar faction said the three minority factions' draft decree could be seen as a political bargaining tool with major factions ahead of the planned Cabinet reshuffle.

"With the draft decree, the President is expected to consult the Vice President in the selection of ministers from the political parties, including the minority parties," he said.

More observers denounced the MPR's wish to formalize the task- sharing arrangement between the President and Vice President, saying the legislative body had intervened in executive affairs.

"It will be better if President Abdurrahman and Vice President Megawati make a sort of gentlemen's agreement, in which the two arrange the sharing of policy-making jobs," Ichlasul Amal of Gadjah Mada University said.

Another political observer from the university, Riswandha Imawan, said formalizing the handover of presidential duties would result in uncertainty in the state administration.

"Let the President and Vice President talk the matter over themselves. There should not be too many parties involved in executive affairs," he said. (44/rms/dja)