Tue, 04 Sep 2001

Musical chairs results in PDI-P disharmony

JAKARTA (JP): Internal friction within the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) has been a major factor leading to the House of Representatives' commission II chairmanship vacancy.

PDI Perjuangan Deputy Chairman Karl Lukas Degey told The Jakarta Post here on Monday that President Megawati Soekarnoputri had ordered the executive board to discuss the issue in the party's meeting on Tuesday.

Chairmanship of Commission II on home and legal affairs has been in limbo following the ascendance of Megawati, PDI Perjuangan's chairwoman, to the presidency in July.

PDI Perjuangan, which claimed 137 seats in the House after winning the most votes in the 1999 general election, has three commission chairs, including in the House's Commission IV on transportation and communications, and Commission IX on financial and state budget affairs.

The party's executive board recently appointed Teras Narang as new chairman of the commission but in a subsequent 60-member commission meeting Haryanto Taslam won the majority of support.

"The problem persists as the party's board members defended its decision to appoint Teras Narang, replacing Amien Aryoso, while Haryanto Taslam rejected the party's policy," he said.

Karl said that the board members should accept Haryanto because the latter had secured majority support from the commission.

Megawati, he said, had been hinting prior to her ASEAN trip that the election of the commission chairman be conducted in the most democratic way possible.

Degey said Haryanto's rejection is related to friction over the proposed extraordinary congress to elect the party's new chairman and the latter's personal differences with he party's secretary general, Sutjipto.

"Haryanto and his supporters have called for an extraordinary congress to elect the party's new chairman while Sutjipto and several others, including Arifin Panigoro and Heri Achmadi, who are members of the PDI Perjuangan executive board and the party's House faction, do not agree.

"This is why the party decided not to hold an extraordinary congress recommended by the party's national meeting should Megawati be appointed as the new president," he said.

A similar case occurred in the election of chair of the House's Commission IV on transportation and communications, but that case was resolved after Postdam Hutasoit, who gained majority support from the commission, accepted the executive board's decision to appoint Maryoto as chair, Karl said.

Meanwhile, Postdam said he had decided to question the party's authoritarian decision to maintain the party's image.

"I have a right to protest the party's decision but I don't want other parties to know all internal problems in the party," he said, saying party leaders had exploited religious issues to block his chairmanship of the commission.

Another PDI Perjuangan legislator, who requested anonymity, said he was deeply concerned about the presence of conflicting factions in PDI Perjuangan, saying it could have a negative impact on the party's performance in the 2004 general election.

"PDI Perjuangan may have collapsed without Megawati's leadership in the party. Following Megawati's appointment as president, Sutjipto and Arifin have exploited Megawati's name several times in handling internal party affairs, including the appointment of party chapter chairpersons in many provinces and districts," he said.

He said the House's Commission II had objected to PDI Perjuangan's decision about Teras because he was considered incapable and partial in managing the conflict between Dayak people and Madura migrants in Sambas, West Kalimantan, last year.

He also said a list bearing signatures of supporters was being circulated among PDI Perjuangan legislators to propose a no- confidence motion against Arifin to let Megawati know that most members of the PDI Perjuangan faction do not accept the way he is leading the faction.

"We want Roy B.B. Janis, another deputy to the party chairman, to replace Arifin," he said.

The source warned Megawati against possible problems relating to the planned appointment of new legislators to replace those who were appointed as ministers in her new cabinet.

"Megawati must closely monitor the appointment of new legislators to ensure that it is conducted in line with the party's rules to avoid any possible collusion and new rifts among party figures," he said. (rms)