Former MPR speaker Kharis Suhud passes away
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Former People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Lt. Gen. (ret.) Mohammad Kharis Suhud passed away at Pertamina Hospital in South Jakarta early on Monday.
He was 87 years old.
He is survived by four children and eight grandchildren. His wife, Sri Sukarsi, died in 2005.
Kharis reportedly suffered a combination of heart, liver and kidney disorders. He had been hospitalized for a month due to his worsening condition.
Born in Madiun, East Java, on April 10, 1925, he was buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery, also in South Jakarta, on Monday afternoon.
The former Army general became a journalist and also served as a commander in the peacekeeping force Garuda Mission in the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS) in Saigon, Vietnam.
He had also been a former Indonesian ambassador to Thailand in 1975 to 1978 before serving as Assembly speaker from 1987–1992 from the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), the previous name of the Indonesian Military (TNI), during the Soeharto administration.
MPR deputy speaker Hajriyanto Thohari said that Kharis was a nationalist who always cared for his country.
Hajriyanto of the Golkar Party and fellow assembly leaders often met Kharis during the latter’s retirement at national events held by the assembly, such as the commemoration of Constitutional Day or the MPR anniversary.
“Although he was old, he was still enthusiastic in visiting the assembly to share experiences or give suggestions and criticism to assembly members,” he said.
Hajriyanto said that despite coming from military background, Kharis was a soft-hearted yet firm leader.
“Kharis tended to use persuasive methods and dialogue in resolving conflicts,” he said, giving an example that Kharis preferred to talk first to the civil society organizations before drafting the organization bill.
He was often disappointed to learn of the poor quality of current politicians — products of the reform era — whose attitudes were improper as they quarreled during a plenary meeting at the House of Representatives, according to Hajriyanto.
Kharis and other senior political figures like Kemal Idris, Sri Edi Swasono, Solihin G.P. and Rachmat Witoelar established the National Front, to provide the public with alternative views different from those disseminated by the authoritarian Soeharto government in the 1980s.
According to another former Assembly speaker Hidayat Nurwahid, Kharis was a military man whose actions were very civilian.
“He never preached at us but rather gave appreciative suggestions,” Hidayat said while expressing his condolences to the family. (cor)