Tue, 15 Jan 2002

Surabaya mayor's fate to be decided on Tuesday

Ainur R. Sophiaan, The Jakarta Post, Surabaya

The Surabaya legislature was scheduled to hold a plenary meeting on Tuesday to determine the fate of Mayor Sunarto Sumaprawiro who mysteriously left his post for three months.

A number of legislators said on Monday they would go ahead with the proposed impeachment of the mayor, who arrived in Surabaya on Sunday after undergoing what he said was medical treatment in Melbourne, Australia.

Herman Rivai, a member of the legislative council's joint faction, said his faction's political stance would be similar to that presented during a special session last week.

Armudji, a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction, concurred saying that PDI Perjuangan was the faction which had fought for the mayor's impeachment.

"We have no other agenda than force the legislature to impeach the mayor who was considered to have failed to do his main tasks," he said.

During the special session held on Jan. 7, the legislature postponed making a decision because government regulation No.1/2001 on provincial and regency legislatures' internal rules did not allow the it to hold a special session to make a decision.

PDI Perjuangan, Golkar and joint factions gave their support for Sunarto's impeachment because besides health reasons, he could not cope with major problems which have occurred in the city in the last four months. The National Awakening Party faction said that it would cooperate with other factions to find a fair solution to Sunarto's ineffective leadership.

The Indonesian Military/National Police faction also proposed Sunarto step down voluntarily since he was not able to do his daily tasks or lead the city administration.

Sunarto was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Melbourne when the garbage problem plagued the city last October.

East Java Governor Imam Utomo, who took over the authority to tackle the garbage problem, would not comment on Sunarto, saying the Surabaya legislative council was expected to find a fair solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, Sunarto who arrived from Melbourne on Sunday, regretted the city legislature's recent special session to discuss his leadership, saying it has been engineered by certain sides who were trying to take political advantages of his bad health.

"I am a victim of political engineering. I'm still able to lead the city until the end of my term of office because I'm recovering," he said over coffee with journalists and several legislators supporting his leadership.

Sunarto, who is still looking pale, would not say what he was suffering from.

Deputy Mayor Bambang D.H., who also opposed Sunarto's leadership, was absent from the meeting.

Basuki, chairman of the legislative council, said the proposal for the mayor's impeachment was no longer relevant because the mayor had gone back to his daily activities and was available to solve all problems in the city.

"Sunarto's arrival and his presence in his office shows he is committed to completing his term of office. So, the factions' attempt to impeach him is no longer relevant," he said.