Golkar may face Koran scandal fallout in 2014
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Observers say that the Koran bribery scandal involving Golkar Party lawmaker Zulkarnaen Djabar may tarnish the party’s chances in the presidential and legislative elections in 2014.
“The bribery allegations against Zulkarnaen might taint Golkar’s image, especially because it is happening right now, only a year-and-a-half before the 2014 election takes place,” J. Kristiadi, a senior analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said on Sunday.
Kristiadi said that the danger for Golkar might be heightened since the party’s senior leaders have not appeared to take the case seriously.
“Even a single weak spot could be used as target to attack the party. Thus, Golkar should immediately declare its support for the investigation,” Kristiadi said.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) previously named Zulkarnaen as a suspect in a graft case involving the procurement of Korans by the Religious Affairs Ministry that were intended for public distribution.
The KPK also named Zulkarnaen’s son Dendi Prasetya as a suspect in the case.
The KPK investigators said that the father and son were involved in three separate graft cases: the irregular Koran procurements in 2011 and 2012 and a computer procurement project in 2011.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad said that Zulkarnaen had rigged the procurement by giving orders to the ministry’s Directorate General for Islamic Community Affairs to appoint certain companies as the winners of the tenders.
Zulkarnaen has issued an apology for his involvement in the graft case, although he has declined to resign, as his critics have demanded.
Meanwhile, Golkar’s leaders have yet to issue an official statement on the Koran scandal, although a host of senior politicians in the party have privately called for Zulkarnaen to be dismissed.
The KPK named Zulkarnaen suspect in the graft case a day before Golkar endorsed its chairman, Aburizal “Ical” Bakrie as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2014 election.
Political analyst Yunarto Wijaya of the Jakarta-based think tank Charta Politika said that a number of graft cases implicating the Golkar Party chairman could deal a severe blow to Ical’s candidacy.
“Golkar is now facing the potential that this problem could create an internal rift within the party. This is not about the corruption case itself, but the issue could be used as weapon by those who stand against the nomination of Ical,” Yunarto said in a discussion on Saturday.
Contacted separately, analyst Maswadi Rauf from the University of Indonesia said the Koran graft scandal would likely cause little damage to the image of the
“This case won’t cause any serious harm to the party because Zulkarnaen isn’t a central or important party figure,” Maswadi said.
Golkar politician Indra Pilliang said that Zulkarnaen was a lone wolf in the party.
“From early indications, we find that Zulkarnaen, for example, did not use the money to fund the party congress. This leads me to believe that the graft allegation won’t turn into a major disaster for the party,” Indra said.
Indra said that the Golkar Party would not stand in the way of the KPK’s investigation.
“We will follow procedure. And if the investigation finds that a lawmaker is implicated in a graft case, they will be suspended,” he said.
Earlier, Golkar Party deputy-secretary-general Nurul Arifin urged that Zulkarnaen be suspended as a lawmaker while he was under investigation by the KPK.
Kristiadi and Maswadi agreed that Golkar had to decide on Zulkarnaen’s future in the party immediately.
“Golkar must be resolute in upholding the party’s regulations against its members who are implicated in graft cases,” Kristiadi said.