Fri, 27 Jun 2003

Settlement of PKB dispute delayed

JAKARTA: The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights delayed on Thursday its decision on which camp of the National Awakening Party (PKB) deserves a place in next year's general election.

An official told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that the postponement followed a request from the PKB faction under defense minister Matori Abdul Djalil to visit the office on Friday.

"We will announce the decision after the visit," the official said, without elaborating.

A ministry official had said justice minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra would issue the decision on Thursday.

The two warring parties met separately with Yusril on Wednesday.

Both camps have been involved in a long-standing dispute that followed the dismissal of Matori as PKB chairman by PKB chief patron Abdurrahman Wahid after the former attended the Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in 2001, which led to Abdurrahman's removal as president.

Matori later set up his own faction of PKB. -- JP

;JP;DJA; ANPAa..r.. Scene-BMG-dry-season Dry season to peak in August: BMG JP/4/SCENE

Dry season to peak in August: BMG

JAKARTA: The Meteorology and Geophysics Board (BMG) predicted that the dry season would climax in August, with many provinces suffering from drought.

"The dry season will last longer than last year," BMG Chief Gunawan Ibrahim said on Thursday.

He said the rainy season may only begin between September and October, leading to water shortages in several provinces such as East Nusa Tenggara, East and Central Java for at least another three months.

The official further called on people to anticipate a prolonged dry season.

"We have arranged a program in cooperation with the agriculture ministry to enable farmers to survive during the dry season, for example by growing plants that require little water," Gunawan said.--Antara

;JP;DJA; ANPAa..r.. Scene-Muhammadiyah-presidency Muhammadiyah grooms presidency JP/4/SCENE

Muhammadiyah grooms presidency

MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi: Chairman of Muhammadiyah Ahmad Syafii Maarif urged members of the country's second largest Muslim organization on Thursday to be active in grooming presidential candidates.

A few days after stating that Muhammadiyah was not a political organization, Syafii said the organization was responsible for preparing a future national leader who would lead the country out of the crisis.

"The nation is in a dire need of a national leader who has competence, vision and commitment to uphold the reform movement which has almost died," Syafii said after opening the organization's national meeting here.

Syafii's predecessor Amien Rais, who is also chairman of National Mandate Party (PAN), failed to attend the meeting due to ill health. Amien has announced his bid for the presidency. --JP

;JP;TSO; ANPAa..r.. Scene-corruption-combat Anticorruption body demanded JP/4/ICW

Anticorruption body demanded

JAKARTA: President Megawati Soekarnoputri came under criticism on Thursday for stalling the establishment of an anticorruption commission.

Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) coordinator Teten Masduki said the President had failed to show commitment to fight corruption and promote good governance.

"I don't think that the President has a good reason to delay the signing of a decree establishing a team who will select members of the anticorruption commission, unless of course she is motivated by certain political interests," Teten said.

The Anticorruption Law No. 30/2002 which was passed last November stipulates that the five-member commission will have the authority to investigate all graft cases involving state officials and prosecute them in court.

The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has proposed 13 names, including Teten, noted lawyers Todung Mulya Lubis and Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara and academician Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, for the selection team to the President.

"It's almost seven months since the law came into effect, but the commission has not been established. We badly need it to fight rampant corruption and money politics ahead of the 2004 general election," Teten said. -- JP

;AFP; ANPAa..r.. Scene-maid-death Indonesian maids fall to death JP/4/SCENE

Indonesian maids fall to death

SINGAPORE: Two young Indonesian maids have died after falling out of high-rise apartments in separate incidents here, police said Thursday.

A police spokeswoman said the women, aged 18 and 20, died within two hours of each other on Wednesday and refused to give details as to possible causes except to classify the cases as "unnatural deaths".

Local media reports said the 18-year-old had been working for her employer for only 22 days, while the older woman had been living in Singapore for one month.

The Straits Times quoted unnamed sources as saying the teenager could have fallen from the ninth floor of the apartment where she worked as she hung clothes out to dry.

The paper said the 20-year-old fell from the 11th floor of a different apartment block, saying it was unclear what she was doing before the fall, or whether it was suicide. -- AFP