Wed, 17 May 2000

'Poros Indonesia' members could be sacked: Theo

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) deputy chairman Theo Syafei threatened to dismiss party members who join splinter group "Poros Indonesia" and pursue policies contrary to the party.

"They could be given warning letters and even fired if their statements go against party policy," Theo announced after a meeting at the party's headquarters on Tuesday.

He said the party still considered "Poros Indonesia" (Indonesia Axis) as only a faction within the party, rejecting that the group is a breakaway faction of the party.

"We don't think that the group is a big problem. A faction within a political party is common and a natural phenomenon," the retired lieutenant general said.

He also refuted the group's claim that PDI Perjuangan former treasurer and former minister of investment and state enterprises development Laksamana Sukardi had joined the group.

He said Laksamana earlier pledged to remain loyal to the party.

Meanwhile, Poros Indonesia supporter Mochtar Buchori brushed aside Theo's threat, saying the group was founded to uphold democratization and to correct irregularities within the party.

"If we are dismissed because we are struggling for democracy, it's OK," Mochtar, formerly head of the party's research and development body, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday evening.

He said the group would officially be launched on June 6 to coincide with the birthday of the country's first president, Sukarno.

He said the group, which was initiated by party legislators Meliono Suwondo and Haryanto Taslam, also included people outside the party.

Meliono and Taslam are the party's former deputy treasurer and deputy secretary-general.

Film director Eros Djarot, who challenged Megawati Soekarnoputri as party chairperson in a recent congress two months ago in Semarang, has also reportedly joined the group. (jun)