Tue, 09 Nov 1999

PKB names new deputy for House

JAKARTA (JP): The National Awakening Party (PKB) secretary- general Muhaimin Iskandar was installed on Monday as deputy chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR) replacing Khofifah Indar Parawansa, following the latter's appointment to the Cabinet.

Muhaimin was sworn-in by Chief Justice Chairman Sarwata.

At 33, he is one of the youngest DPR members, and certainly the youngest in the House's leadership. He began his political career with the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the Islamic social organization which founded the PKB last year.

Khofifah, who also hails from PKB, is 35. Her outspokenness earned her a Cabinet post as state minister for women empowerment.

The United Development Party (PPP) has yet to name a successor to Hamzah Haz as the House's deputy, following his appointment as coordinating minister for people's welfare and poverty eradication.

PPP secretary-general Ali Marwan Hanan told Antara that Hamzah, who is also PPP's chairman, had promised to name his successor in the DPR, but by Monday he had not made known his choice.

Ali and former PPP secretary-general Tosari Wijaya were believed to be the main candidates for the post of deputy speaker.

Ali had originally been nominated for the post during a party meeting last month, but in the absence of a consensus the party leadership decided to give the post to Hamzah Haz. "During that meeting, Tosari's nomination was submitted in writing signed by several members," Ali said.

Arguing for his candidacy, Ali said the post should be given to someone not affiliated to the NU, saying that a number of NU politicians had already taken up various strategic posts.

Hamzah and Zarkasih Nur, who is state minister for cooperatives, small and medium enterprises, are both affiliated to NU, as is Tosari Wijaya.

NU is one of four Islamic parties that were merged into the PPP in 1972. The organization pulled out of the PPP in 1984 because of discord with the other factions. Last year, NU encouraged the establishment of the PKB. (02)