Taufik Kiemas: Chairman of People’s Consultative Assembly. Kompas/Totok Wijayanto
Around 500 members and sympathizers of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the main opposition party, joined many others at the HI Roundabout in Central Jakarta on Monday to protest the government’s plan to increase fuel prices on April 1.
The protest by the Volunteers of Democracy in Struggle (Repdem) apparently did not have the full support of the party; with senior PDI-P politician Taufik Kiemas warning that it could undermine ongoing debates in the House of Representatives.
“What is the purpose of having a faction in the House if they still take to the streets?” Taufik, who is also the chair of the People’s Consultative Assembly, was quoted as saying by kompas.com. Taufik, the husband of PDI-P Chair Megawati Soekarnoputri, has been known to depart from party lines in the past.
The PDI-P faction in the House has come up with a counter proposal that would entail higher spending on the energy subsidy while retaining fuel prices at current levels.
Faisal Rahman of Repdem said he received the instruction from the PDI-P Central Board to mobilize people to oppose the increase in fuel prices. “We will come out with more people tomorrow,” he said.