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Jakarta Post

House heading toward paralysis

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 28, 2014   /  08:05 am

The House of Representatives has once again been thrown into paralysis as the Red-and-White Coalition struggled to maintain control of the legislative body, following the breakdown of a peace deal on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the House canceled a hearing in which it expected to summon Health Minister Nila Moeloek and called off a meeting to discuss whether or not the legislative body should hold another selection process to find a replacement for retiring Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioner Busyro Muqoddas.

The two meetings were canceled after only a handful of lawmakers from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)-led Great Indonesia Coalition showed up.

Though Nila was ready to attend, the meeting room of House Commission IX overseeing health and welfare was deserted. Meanwhile, Commission III overseeing law and human rights, which was scheduled to meet on the selection process, was forced to postpone the meeting after no lawmakers from the Great Indonesia Coalition were present.

Only a small number of lawmakers from the United Development Party (PPP) and the Hanura Party could be seen in the meeting room.

'€œWe will attend any meetings, as well as hearings only if we'€™ve completed amending the MD3 Law, as per the peace pact,'€ lawmaker Abdul Kadir Karding of the National Awakening Party (PKB) said.

Abdul, secretary-general of the PKB, was referring to Law No. 17/2014 regulating Legislative Institutions, known as the MD3 Law, which is to be amended to tap lawmakers from the Great Indonesia Coalition for chairmanship posts within the House'€™s internal bodies, including its 11 commissions.

An amendment to the law is included in the peace deal sealed by the two rival coalitions earlier this month after a month-long dispute over control of the House.

However, a House plenary meeting unexpectedly ditched the amendment on Tuesday due to technicalities; a decision made only one day after the government interfered with an escalating internal conflict within the Golkar Party '€” one of five members of the opposition Red-and-White Coalition '€” in the run up to its national congress to select a new chairman, slated to take place in Bali this weekend.

Besides Golkar, other members of the Red-and-White Coalition are the Gerindra Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono'€™s Democratic Party has also recently joined the group, although it repeatedly claims to be a '€œbalancing power'€ between the two competing coalitions.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, a NasDem politician, was accused of meddling in the Golkar Party internal conflict for calling on the police not to issue a permit for the party'€™s national congress in Bali.

Several lawmakers confirmed that the Golkar faction in the Legislation Body (Baleg), which is tasked with deliberating the MD3 Law amendment, declined to support the amendment only hours after Tedjo'€™s statement went public.

A number of Golkar politicians said that the party would not change its position regarding the amendment, in spite of Jokowi'€™s overture to install Golkar politician Nusron Wahid as the new head of the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI).

In October, Jokowi made a similar move by appointing PPP politician Lukman Hakim Saifuddin as Religious Affairs Minister, although the Muslim-based party had yet to officially join the PDI-P-led coalition.

'€œI don'€™t believe that what happened with PPP will take place in Golkar. Nusron'€™s appointment has nothing to do with the party'€™s future,'€ Golkar lawmaker Azis Syamsuddin said.

Baleg itself has decided that the discussion over the fate of the MD3 amendment will take place after Golkar'€™s national congress, scheduled for next week.

'€œ['€¦] We have made an agreement. We'€™ll see what happens. But Baleg is determined to make a decision by Dec. 5, before we take a one month recess,'€ Baleg deputy chairman Saan Mustofa of the Democratic Party said.

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