Tue, 26 Sep 2000

West Kalimantan governor faces no-confidence motion

JAKARTA (JP): The West Kalimantan provincial legislative council is set to vote this week on the future of governor Aspar Aswin following increasing student demonstrations demanding his dismissal.

Silvanus Sungkalang, deputy chairman of the provincial legislative council, said the council had no other choice than to hold a plenary session to debate a no-confidence motion proposed by 38 of 55 members of the five factions at the council.

"Only the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) and the Indonesian Military/National Police factions oppose the motion," he said after meeting with House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Akbar Tandjung here on Monday.

Silvanus, who was accompanied by six council members, said that over the last three months, Aspar's administration had been under fire because of alleged corruption and failure to settle long-running bloody conflicts between ethnic Malays and Madurese, and Dayaks and Madurese, in the province.

"There has not been a single day without student demonstrations over the past three months. The students have demanded that Aspar resign over his alleged corruption and collusion with local businessmen since his installment for a second consecutive term in 1997," he said.

He said students were also disappointed with the way he had handled ethnic conflicts.

"So far, there have been no settlements to the conflicts," he said.

Dozens of people were killed and thousands of Madurese migrant families were forced to return to East Java when vicious fighting broke out between Malays and Madurese in Feb. 1999.

He said Akbar supported the provincial council's plan to hold a plenary session to decide Aspar's fate. He also said he backed a police investigation into his alleged corruption and collusion.

In a separate development, more than 180 village heads from Sampang regency in Madura staged a protest at the DPR building on Monday, demanding that President Abdurrahman accept Fadhillah Budhiono's election as new regent.

"We come here to channel the aspirations of local people in Sampang that the government swear in Fadhillah as new regent. Otherwise, we will all resign," Nurun Tajalla, a spokesman for the local village heads delegation, said.

Fadhillah's installment has been delayed after alleged vote rigging by two former councillors of the Sampang legislative council during the regent's election.

Sampang was tense earlier this month, when around 5,000 local people occupied the regent's office to protest the delay of the installment of Fadhillah.

The National Awakening Party (PKB) faction, which dominates the legislative council, has also protested Fadhillah's election victory, after allegations that he was involved in swindling food aid destined for Madurese refugees from Sambas, West Kalimantan.

Akbar, who met the village heads, vowed to discuss the matter with the President and the home affairs minister.

He said that Fadhillah, a police senior superintendent, should be sworn in while investigations into the allegations were carried out.

"If he is proven guilty, the regency legislative council could make a decision on his fate," he said. (rms)