Thu, 11 May 2000

PDI Perjuangan warns Gus Dur over delegitimation

JAKARTA (JP): Abdurrahman Wahid's controversial leadership style is causing consternation in political circles with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) on Wednesday warning of delegitimation if the president does not curb his confusing manner.

PDI Perjuangan Deputy Secretary General Promono Anung said frequent controversial statements and policies made by the president have increased the potential for social unrest and public dissidence.

"If the president does not make changes to the way he leads the nation, he will face a serious leadership crisis and his government will undergo a deeper process of delegitimation," he told The Jakarta Post here on Wednesday.

Promono said that the issue became the main topic of discussions in Tuesday's meeting of senior PDI Perjuangan officials. Among those present during the meeting were Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri, Coordinating Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry Kwik Kian Gie, Minister of Agriculture M. Prakosa and former minister of empowerment of state enterprises Laksamana Sukardi.

Promono said the party was disappointed with many of the President's recent decisions including the allegations of nepotism as the reason for Laksamana's dismissal.

He said the party would support Laksamana if he filed a suit against the President over his firing.

He added that party executives also questioned the reason for the appointment of Rizal Ramli as new logistics agency chief and Dipo Alam as an assistant to the coordinating minister for finance, investment and economy.

The appointment of Dipo and Rizal to monitor Kwik's work, according to Promono, places Kwik in a negative light, as if he is no longer trusted.

"It has put Kwik in a difficult position in trying to do his job freely," he said.

Separately, Arifin Panigoro, chairman of PDI Prejuangan faction at the House of Representatives said Abdurrahman should not exploit his prerogatives to sack his ministers arbitrarily since the cabinet was formed on the basis of power sharing.

Separately political scientist Riswandha Imawan from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, said on Wednesday that the President should conduct a "cleansing" to weed out individuals who exploit his trust and physical handicaps.

"The President must take a firm attitude on this urgent problem, otherwise the government will collapse before 2004," he said, adding that it must be done before the general session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in August.

Riswandha remarked that there was enough evidence to support mounting accusations of growing cronyism, including the appointment of Abdurrahman's brother, Hasyim Wahid, as a special expert to the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency.

"Those people around the President continuously make a fool of him with their inaccurate information," he said, identifying the people as those who have direct access, such as close friends from the community of non-governmental organizations.

"Gus Dur himself, with his physical condition, can't recheck any written documents," he added.

Riswandha proposed the MPR form a special committee to watch over Abdurrahman's confidants if he refuses to personally screen them.

Meanwhile a close aid to the President defended the President's actions, including the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Acting State Secretary Bondan Gunawan said on Wednesday in Bandung that the President has been consistent laying down the parameters for building a clean and professional government and that no one is irreplaceable.

"The President has said previously that those who are at fault, those who cannot fully assist the President's policies or even those whom he feels are not helping, can be replaced, including myself," Bondan said. (25/44/rms)