Wed, 28 Jun 2000

Political observers fault leaders with negligence

JAKARTA (JP): Observers lamented here on Tuesday that all political elites, including President Abdurrahman Wahid, were too busy searching for leverage in the next general election while neglecting their larger responsibilities to the state.

In a seminar to mark the 35th anniversary of Kompas daily, political observer Mochtar Pabottingi, lawyer Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara and sociologist Ignas Kleden charged that political elites have not displayed a commitment to improve the quality life in Indonesia.

Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara cited as examples, new indications of corruption cases, abuse of power and fighting among elites to obtain governmental posts to strengthen party funding.

Abdul Hakim accused President Abdurrahman Wahid, Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri, House of Representative Speaker Akbar Tandjung and People's Consultative Assembly Speaker Amien Rais of being busy augmenting sources of finance through governmental posts.

"It will be impossible to ask Abdurrahman and Megawati to stay out from the economic field because their parties' interests are also at stake," Abdul Hakim said during the seminar.

He further said the different approach by the government and the House in solving many corruption and human rights abuse cases further indicated the existence of political bargaining between the elites.

The new cases along with many other unresolved corruption and human rights abuse cases and the lack of progress in the economic field have led many to question the commitment of national leaders to reform.

Mochtar Pabottingi remarked that most political elites do not really pay attention to the public's demands.

"We have to urge the party elites to improve their political ways," he said.

Sociologist Ignas Kleden said the stagnant condition of the reform movement is evidence that so called political players have proven themselves to be "amateurs".

"Leaders in the House are always expressing comments which are actually unnecessary...It's really just a show for the public. Meanwhile the government always takes everything lightly," Ignas said. (dja)