No need for special session, says Abri
THE INDONESIA CRISIS : SOCIAL EFFECTS ————————————-
MOUNTING PRESSURE TO DISCUSS REFORM
THE Indonesian armed forces (Abri) has rejected calls for an extraordinary session of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) amid mounting pressure by groups in the country for a special meeting to discuss political reform.
Abri spokesman Brigadier-General Wahab Mokodongan said that calls for reform were already being considered by the authorities, so it was unnecessary for a meeting of the MPR – the country’s highest legislative body which only two months ago elected President Suharto for a record seventh term in office.
“Why should we hold an extraordinary session if the nation can settle the crisis and carry out the reforms through other means,” he asked reporters.
His comments took place against a background of calls by university students, academics and other groups for an MPR session to evaluate Mr Suharto’s handling of the country’s worst economic crisis in three decades, as well as to discuss political reform.
Mr Umar Juoro, a member of the influential Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association, said it was imperative the government hold the meeting because the country was on the “verge of a social revolution”.
“Indonesian society is waking up to this crisis and the only way to avert a disaster is for the government to raise its political credibility and be accountable for the crisis,” he said.
Former Home Affairs Minister Rudini told the Media Indonesia daily that the call to hold the meeting now was up to Parliament.
But Parliament Speaker Harmoko brushed aside demands for the meeting, saying Mr Suharto should be given the chance to carry out his mandate as President.