Tue, 19 Dec 2000

Political leaders told to get back on track

SEMARANG (JP): Chairman of the Indonesian Rectors Forum Eko Budihardjo warned political leaders on Monday to get back on track by implementing the people's mandate on reform.

Speaking at a one-day seminar on national reform at the Diponegoro University campus, Eko said the political elite, ignoring people's trust, had made conflicting and controversial statements, which resulted in their confusion and frustration.

"It is very dangerous if the public becomes frustrated and in despair. This situation could lead to anarchy and chaos," said Eko, who is also the rector of the Diponegoro University.

Eko said the political leaders had been keen in attacking each other, and losing control of wisdom. "So their activities are out of focus. It's time for the leaders to be aware that they are legitimate to cope with the nation's abundant problems."

"Civil disobedience, such as violence and terrorism, which are against democracy, has been thriving. This has really hampered economic activities, and discouraged investors," he said.

"Therefore, the Rectors Forum demands that the course of the reform movement get back on track. Cultural reform must be stressed by, among other things, enhancing informal and formal education, and maintaining educational discourses."

He added that the moral and intellectual strength among those on campus should be reactivated and magnified to unite all the nation's components to deal with efforts to disintegrate the country.

The seminar was attended by some 300 students from various universities in Indonesia. Liliek Hendrajaya, the rector of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Qodri Azizy, the rector of state-owned Islamic Institute (IAIN) Walisongo, and Jakarta-based Trisakti University rector Thoby Mutis, as well as members of the House of Representatives (DPR) were also on hand.

ITB rector Liliek said the administration of Abdurrahman Wahid must become more serious in arranging development plans. "The target of the plan must be clearly defined and communicated to the people."

"For the sake of the nation's future, education and law enforcement must be given top priority," Liliek said. (har/sur)