The Jakarta Post
It was a special day for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and close political ally Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa as they saw their children united in an engagement ceremony held Wednesday evening in Jakarta.
The youngest son of President Yudhoyono, Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro pledged to wed Siti Ruby Aliya Rajasa, Hatta’s daughter at the engagement ceremony.
The 20-vehicle entourage of Yudhoyono and First Lady Kristiani Herawati arrived at Hatta’s residence on Jl. RS Fatmawati in South Jakarta at 8:15 p.m. Yudhoyono rode in his private car, not the presidential vehicle.
Yudhoyono was dressed in brown batik and Kristiani wore a gold kebaya.
Yudhoyono was accompanied by his eldest son Agus Harimurti, daughter-in-law Annisa Pohan, Democratic Party politician Hadi Utomo, State Secretary Sudi Silalahi and Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto.
The engagement ceremony — closed to the public — fell on Aliya’s 25th birthday, with the wedding was reportedly scheduled for Nov. 24 this year, to coincide with Ibas’ 31st birthday.
“This is a family affair,” presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said Tuesday.
Yudhoyono, founder and chief patron of the ruling Democratic Party has strong relations with Hatta, who has twice been appointed minister in Yudhoyono’s Cabinet.
In 2009, Yudhoyono appointed Hatta, a senior politician from the National Mandate Party ( PAN ) to the post of coordinating minister for the economy.
Hatta then chaired PAN in 2010, strengthening his position to support Yudhoyono’s administration in the six-party ruling coalition.
PAN politicians said the engagement was not politically motivated, but a love match.
“Love is God’s business, human beings cannot interfere. We must respect it and not trying to link everything with politics,” senior PAN politician and Law and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said.
He said PAN would compete against the Democratic Party in the 2014 general elections.
PAN politician Bima Arya also denied there were political motives behind the engagement.
“This is not politics, this is a coalition of love,” he said.
Outspoken Democratic Party politician Ruhut Sitompul agreed, but expressed hope for better relations with PAN.
“If necessary, the two could merge as one since the parties use the same color in their branding.”
House of Representative deputy speaker Pramono Anung from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle ( PDI-P ) claimed this was not a regular engagement as both Ibas and Aliya were linked to top figures in the country.
Ibas, a graduate of Curtin University of Technology in Perth, is the secretary-general of the Democratic Party. He is also a legislator in the House’s Commission I overseeing security and international affairs.
Aliya graduated from the Bandung Institute of Technology ( ITB ) business and management school. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in London.