Fri, 23 Feb 2001

PBB clarifies position of party members in the House

JAKARTA (JP): Chairman of the Crescent Star Party (PBB) faction at the House of Representatives Ahmad Sumargono on Thursday dismissed earlier press reports that the party had recalled two senior legislators from the House membership.

Speaking to journalists, Sumargono said the party had only transferred legislators Hartono Mardjono and Abdul Qodir Djaelani to other factions in the House.

"I did send a notification to the House, but it was to move Hartono from Commission II to Commission III and Djaelani from Commission I to Commission VI. So, they remain House legislators," he said.

He said that the reason for transferring the two legislators was simply for efficiency because the House does not recognize the recalling mechanism anymore.

"The two were dismissed from our party's membership and the only possibility for them to stay as legislators is to become non-faction members. But, we're not going to do that, we are going to settle the problem internally," he said.

It was reported on Wednesday that the two legislators were no longer registered as House members and House Speaker Akbar Tandjung had signed approvals over the matter on Feb. 8.

The party's executive board dismissed Hartono and Djaelani from the party membership on Feb. 1 following their claim that they are respectively the legitimate chairman and secretary- general of the party.

While insisting that the party's legitimate chairman is Yusril Ihza Mahendra, as registered in the Supreme Court, Sumargono said the maneuver of the two former members was intolerable.

However, he said that the party was still trying to maintain a good relationship with the two.

"So, pak Akbar signed only the letter which endorsed the transfer of the legislators to other commissions, but not the one that removes the two from House membership," he said.

Separately, Akbar said the House will not interfere in the faction's internal problems and that he had only approved the transfer of the two legislators, but not their dismissal.

"Law No. 4/1999 on ranks and position of the legislative members does not recognize the recalling system. But, if the faction wants to make some changes, then we have to leave it to them," Akbar said later on Thursday.

He said that although the two legislators had been dismissed from the party, the party faction had the capacity to decide what to do on the matter.

"I think the dismissal is not a final decision. The House could only respond if the two legislators resign from their position," he added. (dja)