Tue, 01 Aug 2000

Team to discuss request for MPR special session

JAKARTA (JP): The plenary session of the People's Consultative Assembly's working committee was postponed on Monday after a group of legislators presented two letters, one of them demanding that the Assembly provide the possibility of turning the incoming Annual Session into a special session.

Assembly Speaker Amien Rais, who presided over the session, proposed that it should be delayed until Wednesday to give the Assembly's Ad Hoc II Committee for Non-Constitutional Amendment time to discuss the letters.

"It's just a technical matter. We hope the ad hoc committee would be ready on Wednesday," Amien, who is chairman of the National Mandate Party, said before banging his gavel to close the session.

He said that the letters were each signed by 27 legislators and 28 legislators who are members of the Ad Hoc II Committee.

He did not give further details about the letters.

Separately, the Ad Hoc II Committee chairman Rambe Kamarulzaman admitted that the letter that was signed by 28 legislators proposed the change to the Assembly's current internal ruling.

"The legislators who signed the letter came from various factions, except the National Awakening Party (PKB)," Rambe of Golkar Party told reporters after the session.

He said the letter suggested that the Assembly's Annual Session should not only listen to the President's progress report, as stated at the MPR internal ruling article 49, but also evaluate the report.

He said the legislators also proposed that the Assembly's Annual Session could recommend that the Assembly hold the special session.

The Assembly's internal ruling article 50 does not stipulate whether the annual session could recommend a special session or not.

However, Rambe urged the public not to see the letter as an effort to topple President Abdurrahman Wahid.

"People should not worry about it. It's just an effort to make the internal regulation clearer," he contended.

PKB's legislator Syafrin Romas regretted the move by Rambe and his company, since the matter had never been discussed during the previous Ad Hoc II Committee's meetings.

"The letter was mainly proposed by Golkar legislators to topple the government," Syafrin, who is a member of the committee, told reporters.

He said according to the regulation, a special session should only be demanded by the House of Representatives after it gives the President a memorandum three times.

"So, its not the Assembly's duty to recommend the special session," he remarked.

He claimed that the legislators proposed the letter based only on the minimum requirement of 25 signatories.

He said the letter, if it was accepted, could only be applied in next year's General Session since it has never been discussed in the earlier meetings.

Earlier in the day, Amien reiterated that there will be no special session to topple Abdurrahman during the Annual Session which will be held between Aug. 7 and Aug. 18. (jun)