Rabu, 02 Desember 2009

House OKs Century inquiry team

On Tuesday the House of Representatives endorsed an inquiry committee into the Bank Century scandal, with the Golkar Party likely to lead the committee and to emerge as the real winner, politically speaking.

The committee, will have full legal rights to investigate the Rp 6.7 trillion (US$710 million) bailout scandal and call witnesses including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani.

As many as 30 legislators will be involved, with Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, the biggest in the House, having eight legislators in the committee, Golkar six, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) five and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) three.

Now that the committee is endorsed, the next item on its agenda is to fill its leadership position. The Democratic Party is likely to throw its support behind Golkar to chair the committee rather than opening up opportunities for the opposition bloc led by the PDI-P.

Golkar, a late comer in Yudhoyono’s coalition, indicated after the endorsement that the party’s secretary-general Idrus Marham will probably chair the committee.

This possibility became clear after Ruhut Sitompul from the Democratic Party said that his party would have no problem with any of the Golkar candidates for the post of chairman, especially with Idrus Marham, who is Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie’s most trusted aide.

“Pak Idrus is a good capable man to chair the committee,” he said.

A number of experts agreed that Golkar would very likely be given the committee chairman post due to its status as the “middle party” in the House and the understanding by the Democratic Party, accused of possibly receiving Bank Century bailout funds, of resistance against it taking the post of chairman.

“The Democratic Party and the PDI-P are standing on two opposite sides in the committee. Golkar, as another party with significant power, becomes the middle party that is acceptable by the two other parties,” an expert from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Lili Romli, told The Jakarta Post.

Yudhoyono’s coalition in the House, also includes the PKS, the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP), and the National Awakening Party (PKB), which would tend to be allied to the Democratic Party.

Experts have said that by letting the chairmanship go to Golkar, the Democratic Party could seek a compromise and push the committee not to summon Yudhoyono or to make any move to endanger the President and his family members, increasing Golkar’s bargaining position vis a vis the government.

Burhanuddin Muhtadi from the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) said that he believed Aburizal would gain most in terms of both political and economic advantages by the end of the day.

“There is the possibility for Golkar to be given more ministerial posts during any reshuffle by President Yudhoyono as a bargain for the party’s crucial position at the committee,” he said.

Burhanuddin doubted, however, that Aburizal had a chance to replace Boediono, who is accused of being responsible for the decision to bail out the bank.

He said that having Idrus in the chairmanship would mean that Aburizal could have major influence in determining the committee’s agenda.

However, a number of legislators from other parties doubted Idrus.

“Who is Idrus Marham? What statement has he ever voiced?,” Desmon Mahesa from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) said.

Mukhammad Misbakhun from the PKS said that he would rather have the committee led by anyone from the PDI-P to maintain its soul.

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