Jakarta. Taufiq Kiemas, the chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), suspects there is a certain group of people creating the controversy around the long-delayed bill on Yogyakarta’s status, with the purpose to develop friction between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Yogyakarta’s Sultan Hamengkubuwono X.
“There is an indication that there are people taking advantages from the friction,” Taufiq said.
“This is the first time in history that a bill, which has not been handed to the House of Representatives, already stirs so much controversy and makes people fight,” Taufiq said.
He urged the government to hand the bill to the the House as soon as possible. He also suggested the Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi to stop making comments on Yogyakarta’s special status.
“On the other hand, the Sultan must also take wise action. As the governor of Yogyakarta, he must order the residents to take down the provocative banners and flags,” Taufiq said.
According to Taufiq, both Yudhoyono and the Sultan are great statesmen.
“I believe there are no serious problems between them. President Yudhoyono and the Sultan fully understand the four pillars [of democracy],” he said.
Yogyakarta exists as a special province in which the Sultan sits as the governor, an elected position in the rest of Indonesia.
But the central government sparked fierce controversy this month when it proposed elections for governor rather than automatically granting the sultan the post.
On Monday, the people of Yogyakarta turned their attention to a special legislative session meant to send a message of protest to the central government.
Tens of thousands of people observed an open plenary session of the provincial government held specially for legislators to express their support, through a verbal vote known as an acclaim, of the sultan’s automatic appointment as governor.
It was the largest and fiercest show of support yet for keeping Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and Paku Alam IX, the leader of the Paku Alam princedom of Yogyakarta, in place as governor and deputy governor, respectively.