Thu, 26 Oct 2000

Muladi: Gus Dur has little legal knowledge

SEMARANG (JP): President Abdurrahman 'Gus Dur' Wahid's order to delay legal proceedings against three of the country's most indebted businessmen just demonstrates the President's insufficient knowledge of the law, says newly-appointed justice Muladi.

"Gus Dur should have consulted legal experts before making statements on law-related matters," the former minister of justice, Muladi, told journalists here on Tuesday.

The President also had no legal authority to postpone any legal process. "His prerogative rights only include giving pardon, amnesty and abolition."

"Therefore Gus Dur should have asked the Attorney General or Minister of Justice before making any statements relating to legal affairs, or people will again be startled by his confusing statements," said Muladi.

Abdurrahman made the controversial statement in Seoul last week when he admitted to having ordered the Attorney General's Office to delay the prosecution of the chairman of Texmaco Group, Marimutu Sinivasan, chairman of Barito Pacific Group Prajogo Pangestu, and Gadjah Tunggal Group chairman Syamsul Nursalim.

The three owe billions of dollars in bad debts to the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA).

The President's decision was based on the fact that the business groups were major exporters who could contribute to the country's economic recovery.

"I think that the President just used his logic (when making the statements)," Muladi said. "Things must be transparent. How far would the delay in the legal proceedings benefit the workers, exports and the country's industry?"

"Anyhow, the President's order is not legally sound. It's just a statement. The House of Representatives should ask the President for clarification on the issue of the three business tycoons."

"The Attorney General has the authority to inform the public about the legal proceedings against the three businessmen," said Muladi, former rector of the Semarang-based Diponegoro University.

Asked about the idea of the establishment of a new intelligence body, Muladi said that the existing intelligence body needed to be reorganized. "I am of the opinion that we don't need a new intelligence body."

It was Minister of Defense Mahfud MD who aired the idea on the formation of a new intelligence body.

"Reorganizing the State Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Bakin) would be better," Muladi said, adding that Indonesia now also needed laws on intelligence to make clear-cut duties for an intelligence body.

"The laws will enable the intelligence body to work more appropriately in protecting the state, including the maintenance of human rights." (har/sur)