The Jakarta Post
The Golkar Party has issued an official apology for a publicity stunt involving House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto appearing at US presidential hopeful Donald Trump's campaign event last week in New York.
Bambang Soesatyo, the Golkar faction secretary at the House, offered an apology on behalf of the party, as he maintained that the introduction of Setya by Trump in public was uncalled for and that the party would not interfere with further motions to bring the House speaker before the House's Ethics Committee (MKD).
'Golkar will not take sides or report those involved, although we must admit that the meeting [in New York] was not an elegant move, considering how Trump is still just one candidate among many others,' Bambang told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
'Golkar hopes that our [lawmaker] colleagues will be able to understand [Setya's] actions, even though it has incited anger [in many circles]. It's barely been a year since he became the House speaker, so he may still be clumsy sometimes. We humbly beg for your forgiveness.'
Bambang said that the party would respect the decision of the ethics council, whatever the outcome, while also hoping that the House leaders involved would only receive a verbal warning.
He said that the party had not yet received a statement from Setya, who will be subject to questioning upon his return from the US. As a result, Golkar's House faction has yet to take a stance on the matter.
Bambang, who is a member of House Commission III overseeing legal affairs, also lambasted Trump as a figure that the Indonesian public perceives as negative.
'It is regrettable that Trump's image is not so positive among the Indonesian people. He has a reputation for being a gambling king, playboy, racist, and is stigmatized as anti-Islam,' he said.
On Monday, the House's ethics council slammed the controversial meeting, announcing that it would investigate lawmakers who publicly appeared at Trump's press conference after meeting him at his office in New York on Thursday.
According to council member Sarifuddin, if the lawmakers were proven to have violated their code of ethics, the council could impose light, medium or heavy sanctions.
A light sanction would be a written warning about their misbehavior. The medium punishment would be their removal from their positions at the House and the heaviest a recommendation for dismissal.
Seven lawmakers reported Setya and Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon to the council, alleging that the attendance of their colleagues had tarnished the image of the nation.
They were Adian Napitupulu, Budiman Sudjatmiko, Charles Honoris and Diah Pitaloka from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Amir Uskara from the United Development Party (PPP), Maman Imanulhaq from the National Awakening Party (PKB) and Inas Nasrullah Zubir from the Hanura Party.
Meanwhile, Fadli was out to take revenge against members of the House who had reported him to the ethics council because of his attendance at the real estate magnate's campaign event at Trump Tower.
Fadli is now planning on reporting those members to the ethics council as well. 'I will report them to the ethics council for making stuff up and spreading false information,' Fadli told reporters on Tuesday as quoted by Antara news agency.
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