Sat, 13 Mar 1999

PDI Jakarta faces fresh dispute ahead of polls

JAKARTA (JP): The head of the Indonesian Democratic Party's Jakarta chapter, Lukman F. Mokoginta, led 20 supporters to City Hall on Friday to ask for clarification on the administration's recent invitation to a get-together extended to "rival" members of the party.

According to Lukman and his supporters, including executives of Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) branch offices here, the city administration invited two people who the PDI does not recognize as representatives to Wednesday's get-together at City Hall. The event was hosted by Governor Sutiyoso.

The two men, Rifkie Nawawi and D. Parlindungan Sitorus, were elected as head and secretary of the party's Jakarta chapter respectively by chairman Budi Hardjono at the 1998 PDI congress in Palu.

For Lukman and his supporters, who refused to attend the 1996 Palu congress due to "internal problems", the head and secretary of the party's office here is Lukman and Sahala P. Sinaga respectively.

They, therefore, questioned why the city administration accepted the claimed status of the two people while PDI members official recognized others as the Jakarta chief and secretary. They then accused the administration of being partial toward the "rival" PDI members.

"The administration must set this matter straight," Lukman, who is the only PDI City Council legislator, said.

During the get-together on Wednesday evening, a heated argument reportedly occurred between Lukman and his rivals outside the venue. Lukman apparently immediately left the scene.

The event, designed to discuss peaceful campaigns in the capital ahead of the June general election, was attended by representatives of 47 of the 48 officially recognized parties, with the exception of the Indonesian Muslim Awakening Party.

When asked to comment on the case, Sutiyoso only promised to find out whether his subordinates had been biased when extending invitations.

He vowed to take stern measures against any of his men who did not act impartially.

"I will not have it. I want this city to maintain its peace during the June polls," Sutiyoso said.

Separately, deputy governor of administrative affairs Abdul Kahfi insisted that the administration would uphold its promise not to take sides with any party contesting the polls.

Therefore, he said, the administration sent invitations for the get-together directly to the offices of each party.

"We did not send invitations to individuals," Kahfi said.

"PDI should resolve its own problems," he suggested.

Both Rifkie and Parlindungan could not be reached for comment. (ylt/ind)