Tue, 11 Apr 2000

Some ministers are selfish: President

PRETORIA (JP): President Abdurrahman Wahid blamed several ministers on Sunday for the delay in the disbursement of aid to Indonesia from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"There are several selfish Cabinet ministers, who are not taking national interests into account in the ongoing efforts to revive the country's economy," Abdurrahman told the Indonesian community living in South Africa following a dinner.

The President did not identify the ministers.

A week before his departure on a nine-day overseas trip, Abdurrahman called for a plenary Cabinet meeting and urged his aides to enhance coordination among themselves in implementing reform programs Indonesia had agreed with the IMF. He also banned his ministers from going abroad until the pressing problem with the IMF was resolved.

Rumors of another reshuffle in the Cabinet have been rife since then.

On Sunday, Abdurrahman expressed his optimism that an economic recovery was on the right track.

"Of 10 indicators, seven of them support the argument that our economy is recuperating. So we have already been able to cope with the crisis," Abdurrahman said.

The inkling of economic betterment came, to some extent, after foreign investment returned to the country, although the amount remained insignificant, the President said.

"But in the near future, there will be an encouraging development (of investment)," he said.

Abdurrahman said he had called French President Jacques Chirac, who will host the Paris Club meeting later this week, and heard from him that he would help Indonesia urge the IMF to disburse its loan as soon as possible.

The President added U.S. President Bill Clinton and Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok had also promised to support Indonesia in negotiating with the IMF.

First Lady Sinta Nuriyah was also present at the gathering.

The President and his entourage left South Africa for Mexico on Tuesday. (byg)