Sat, 13 May 2000

PKB, axis force say allegation of treason 'baseless'

JAKARTA (JP): President Abdurrahman Wahid's National Awakening Party (PKB) and a coalition of Muslim-oriented parties called the axis force played down on Friday a plot linked to People's Consultative Assembly Speaker Amien Rais to undermine the government.

The coalition parties, which formed the Reform Faction at the House of Representatives, labeled the allegation "baseless".

"It is impossible for a figure like Amien Rais, who has been entrusted to chair the Assembly and National Mandate Party (PAN), to make such a dirty plan.

"Amien and the axis force will never oust Gus Dur, albeit if he steps down for natural reasons," House Deputy Speaker A.M. Fatwa said, referring to Abdurrahman's nickname.

PKB chairman Matori Abdul Djalil, who is Amien's deputy at the Assembly, said that despite his criticism Amien had never intended to shake Abdurrahman's government.

Both Fatwa and Matori were responding to a statement by Kemal Idris, chairman of the National Front (Barnas), formerly a group of government critics, who accused Amien and the axis force on Thursday of masterminding a move to force Abdurrahman to step down.

Abdurrahman has several times unveiled alleged campaigns to overthrow him. Most recently, he accused the Jawa Pos daily of taking part in a ploy by publishing special report on alleged corruption, collusion and nepotism practices (KKN) linked to the President.

Fatwa said that Amien, who is on a trip to Eastern European countries, and the Reform faction would throw their weight behind the President and his government as long as Abdurrahman was committed to the reform agenda.

"Amien and PAN will continue to support the President as long as he leads the nation, as was expected when he was nominated as presidential candidate last October," he said.

He said of the most importance tasks PAN expected the President to carry out during his tenure were to try former president Soeharto and his cronies for alleged corruption practices during his 32 years of rule, phase out the military's dual function, amend the 1945 Constitution, enforce the law, implement the planned regional autonomy and to uphold democracy.

Fatwa said Barnas should no longer be a whisperer or a political parasite on the President, due to the fact that it had links with the New Order regime of Soeharto.

"Barnas should be aware of its position because it has been classified into an alienated group according to public opinion," he said.

Meanwhile, Matori confirmed Amien's commitment to supporting the government of Abdurrahman until it completes its tenure in 2004.

"Amien told me recently that Gus Dur should be given an opportunity to run his administration and he needs support," he said.

Matori, who is also the Assembly's deputy chairman, reiterated that Abdurrahman's government had a strong legitimacy and that a conspiracy to topple the government would be a serious threat to the reform agenda.

PAN deputy chairman Abdilla Thoha also jumped to defend Amien, saying Barnas did not know precisely about Amien and his stance on Abdurrahman's leadership.

"The accusation is far from the truth," he said.

Abdillah pledged to bring Kemal and Amien together in efforts to phase out suspicion among the two. (rms)