SBY summons Dahlan over
extortion comment

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono summoned State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Dahlan Iskan to the Presidential Office on Monday to question the latter’s recent heated debate with lawmakers centering on Dahlan’s statement that some politicians were not beneath extorting enterprises.

Dahlan, however, related very little about the meeting to journalists. “I did not ask the President if the discussion in the meeting could be disclosed to the press or not,” he said, adding that the meeting was “unscheduled”.

Speculation is rife that the President told Dahlan to maintain good relations with House of Representative members to ensure political stability, especially when Yudhoyono would be leaving the country on a state visit on Tuesday.

Yudhoyono is scheduled to visit the United Kingdom to receive an Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath from Queen Elizabeth II. In London, the President will also have a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Cameron and other top figures, such as Prince Charles, British Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Opposition leader Ed Miliband.

Yudhoyono will also lead the second meeting of the High Level Panel on the Post Millennium Development Goals.

Dahlan refused to comment on the matter. “One thing’s for sure is that the President is consistent on any form of [collusion] being prohibited,” he said.

Dahlan recently distributed a circular to executives of hundreds of SOEs across the nation instructing them to avoid any form of collusion, gratuity and bribery involving any party, including lawmakers.

Lawmakers, who felt offended by the circular, turned furious and attacked Dahlan through the media. Politicians, including House Speaker Marzuki Alie, said Dahlan himself was “not too clean”.

The House has also summoned Dahlan, in his capacity as former president director of state electricity company PT PLN, to clarify the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) audit on PLN, which reported that the company had suffered Rp 37 trillion (US$3.85 billion) in lost revenue.

Dahlan said he was ready to name the alleged extortionists in the next House meeting.

“I am not being slanderous here. If the House wants me to reveal [the names of the lawmakers], then I will reveal them. But let’s wait until they summon me again,” Dahlan said. (lfr)

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