Golkar’s rival factions jostle over plan to inquire into law minister

THE JAKARTA POST: The two competing factions within the Golkar Party are racing against each other in a plan to investigate Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly for his decision to recognize the leadership of a camp led by Agung Laksono.

The losing faction led by Aburizal Bakrie has previously rallied support from the opposition Red-and-White Coalition to open an inquiry to investigate Yasonna for favoring Agung’s pro-government faction.

In another case of infighting in the United Development Party (PPP), Yasonna has also favored the government’s side led by Muhammad Romahurmuziy.

“Once the House [of Representatives] approves the proposal, the inquiry will reveal the mastermind behind the dirty game that has intervened in the disputes within Golkar or in the PPP. It will open up whether the [ministerial] directors or the minister were involved,” said lawmaker Bambang Soesatyo, a loyalist of Aburizal.

The maneuvering of Aburizal’s camp, which also leads the opposition bloc at the House, may not run smoothly as Agung is stripping Aburizal’s supporters of their leadership positions in the House’s party faction and other internal bodies.

One of Agung’s deputies, lawmaker Agus Gumiwang, for example, has been touted as the new leader of the Golkar faction at the House, replacing Ade Komarudin, who was installed by the rival group.

Bambang, who serves as the secretary of the party faction, is also set to be replaced by lawmaker Fayakhun Andriadi, the son-in-law of Golkar senior politician Muladi, who previously expressed opposition against Agung’s chairmanship but eventually acknowledged it.

Unlike Agus, who was seen with the Agung camp since the very beginning of the rift with Aburizal, Fayakhun, a member of House Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and information, is still listed as a deputy secretary-general in Aburizal’s central board lineup.

Additionally, Agung has also submitted new names to replace Aburizal’s other supporters who currently hold leadership positions throughout the House’s 11 commissions, including Commission I; Commission II, which oversees domestic governance, regional autonomy, state apparatuses and agrarian affairs; and Commission III.

In a recent interview, Agung told The Jakarta Post that such rotation is common practice at the House.

“There are changes in some [commissions] although not many of them,” Agung said.

He said further that he was ready to accept those formerly known as supporters of Aburizal, some of whom are said to have approached Agung for positions.

Besides Bambang and Ade, individuals who are considered Aburizal loyalists include lawmaker Tantowi Yahya, deputy chairman of House Commission I, lawmaker Rambe Kamarulzaman, who chairs Commission II, and lawmaker Aziz Syamsuddin, who chairs Commission III.

Once the House’s chairmanship officially accepts Agung’s proposed candidates, supporters of the inquiry into Yasonna will lose the majority of Golkar’s 91 House votes as Agung has repeatedly said that under his direction, Golkar would not support the plan.

The cloud hanging over Agung’s camp is that even Yasonna has yet to issue a formal letter to recognize Agung’s chairmanship as the minister is still verifying the documents submitted by Agung.

Yasonna said earlier that Agung’s leadership would be formally endorsed if he successfully included supporters of Aburizal.

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