Sidarto named as new MPR chairman
Margareth S. Aritonang
The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has appointed lawmaker Sidarto Danusubroto, one of its most senior politicians, to replace People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Taufiq Kiemas, who passed away last month.
The PDI-P formally announced his appointment on Thursday.
Sidarto, currently a member of House of Representatives Commission I on information, defense and foreign affairs, will be inaugurated as the new MPR speaker on Monday.
'I'm honored to be entrusted to continue Taufiq Kiemas' leadership in my old age. Insyaallah [God willing] I'll give my best to carry on the task, especially to defend the four pillars because the unity of our country would be at risk without them,' Sidarto said, referring to the country's pillars of democracy comprising Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).
The 78-year-old politician said the four pillars were crucial aspects that enabled Indonesia, as a country with the largest Muslim population, to embrace the principles of democracy.
Sidarto, a former West Java Police chief and aide to first president Sukarno, will be the 13th MPR leader.
Separately, MPR deputy speaker Hajriyanto Tohari from the Golkar Party applauded Sidarto's appointment, saying that the latter's extensive experience in politics and security affairs would serve him well in carrying out his duties.
'I think he is the right person for the position. He is a senior politician and an expert on the police,' Hajriyanto said.
MPR member Martin Hutabarat from the Great Indonesian Movement (Gerindra) Party said PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri had made the right decision in appointing Sidarto to replace Taufiq.
'Our chief patron, Pak Prabowo Subianto, has encouraged all of us to support whoever Ibu Mega names to carry on Pak Taufiq's duties. And for us in Gerindra, the nomination of Pak Sidarto reflects Ibu Mega's statesmanship. I believe that all the party factions at the MPR will fully support Pak Sidarto's nomination,' Martin said.
Martin, who is also a member of House Commission III on law and human rights, said he was convinced of Sidarto's capability to continue Taufiq's mission to campaign for the four pillars of democracy nationwide.
Taufiq was awarded an honorary degree from Trisakti University in March due to his relentless efforts to promote the four pillars of democracy. He died at the Singapore General Hospital on June 8 from cardiac arrest. He was 70 years old.
The senior PDI-P politician is survived by his wife, Megawati, his daughter Puan Maharani, who is the leader of the PDI-P faction at the House, and stepsons Mohammad Rizki Pratama and Mohammad Prananda.
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