Sat, 11 Nov 2000

Tables are set for Kwik Kian Gie's party

JAKARTA (JP): All the preparations were completed on Friday, and the stage is set for Saturday's informal gathering of like- minded legislators to discuss national problems.

The meeting's patron, former Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry Kwik Kian Gie, is due to give opening remarks on the technical aspects of the severe economic problems gripping the country.

Even before the start of the meeting it has drawn controversy as there have been allegations it is a precursor to a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly which could impeach President Abdurrahman Wahid.

The National Awakening Party (PKB) has objected to the meeting and along with the Indonesian Military (TNI)/Police Faction have announced that they would boycott the meeting.

However, some 300 legislators and noted guests have confirmed their attendance for Saturday.

Kwik told journalists on Friday that "it's sad that there are suspicions that the meeting's purpose is to try to rattle the government".

In an apparent slight to PKB, Kwik remarked that "the accusations came from a minor party".

Kwik, a legislator of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), said in his introduction he would promote debate on how to solve the economic problems.

He also reiterated that the meeting is only "a medium for expressing opinions" among individuals who happen to be members of the Assembly and the House of Representatives without carrying the banner of their respective political parties.

"There will be no conclusion such as asking the President to step down or anything else," he remarked.

Asked on the planned speech by former Minister of Finance Bambang Sudibyo, Kwik said Bambang's views and technical knowledge along with those of former minister of agriculture M. Prakosa -- although they are not legislators -- are needed.

House deputy speaker A.M. Fatwa, who is deputy chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN) teasingly noted that participants should not be afraid if the meeting was considered a political meeting which could pressure the government.

"Why are we afraid of making a political maneuver? Gus Dur makes a maneuver everyday," he remarked referring to the President by his nickname.

The meeting's organizing committee chairman Ade Komaruddin of the Golkar Party said the meeting would take place at Niaga Tower on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, South Jakarta.

There are three main topics on the agenda: economy, law and politics.

He said the economic discussion would be moderated by former Ministry of Manpower and Golkar deputy chairman Fahmi Idris accompanied by PAN secretary general Hatta Radjasa and legislator of the United Development Party (PPP) Suryadharma Ali.

Discussion on law will be led by Hartono Mardjono of the Crescent Star party (PBB), Didi Supriyanto of PDI Perjuangan and M. Akil Mochtar from Golkar.

House deputy speaker Soetardjo Soerjoguritno accompanied by Fatwa and Hafiz Zawawi of Golkar will moderate the discussion on politics. (jun)