Former vice president Jusuf Kalla confirmed on Wednesday that he was not invited to a closed-door meeting on Oct. 9, 2008 at the State Palace, at which it was deemed a discussion took place on moves to save the country from potential economic crisis.
Kalla was invited by the House of Representatives monitoring team to a meeting today to present his testimony in investigating President' Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's decision to disburse Rp 6.7 trillion (US$710.2 million) to save the troubled Bank Century.
Speaking before members of a monitoring team of the Bank Century bailout, Kalla said that he was in town on that day, but received nothing from the President in terms of informing him about the meeting.
"I would have definitely cancelled all meetings for the whole day if I had received an invitation from the President. Who would dare to say no to the President's call?" Kalla said, responding to lawmakers from the Democratic Party who questioned Kalla's absence during the meeting.
"You had other meetings on Oct. 9, 2008, such as with Kuntoro Mangkusubroto and scholar Anies Baswedan. So, why must you specially highlight the fact that you were not invited by the President, who is our chief of patron?" asked Achsanul Qosasi, a Democratic Party lawmaker.
Achsanul's fellow Democratic Party politician, Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, told Kalla that "the President must not involve the vice president in every single meeting that the former arranges".
Yudhoyono was reported to have hosted a limited meeting on Oct. 9, 2008, which according to former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chief Antasari Azhar, was attended by several senior government officials, including Vice President Boediono, who was then governor of the central bank, former National Police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri, former attorney general Hendarman Supandji, former coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister Widodo AS, former finance minister Sri Mulyani, state secretary Hatta Rajasa, presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng and a member of the presidential advisory team, Denny Indrayana, who is now deputy law and human rights minister.
Antasari was also invited to the meeting. (iwa)