Jakarta, Dec 9, 2014 (Antara) - As the Golkar Party's two rival camps seek legitimacy from the government, experts have cautioned Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly not to repeat his past "mistake" involving the United Development Party (PPP).
The PPP had split into two camps following two separate leadership congresses in October 2014. Two chairmen were elected: Djan Faridz at the Jakarta Congress and Romahurmuziy at the Surabaya Congress.
While one of the camps took the dispute to the State Administrative Court (PTUN), Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly went ahead and issued a decree recognizing Rohmahurmuziy's PPP.
The Minister was criticized for acting immature by making a hasty decision and interfering in the internal conflict of the party.
A similar drama is now happening in the Golkar Party, which has been split into two rival camps headed by Aburizal Bakrie and Agung Laksono.
Aburizal Bakrie, who had been the Golkar Party's chairman for the 2009-2014 term, was reelected as general chairman for the 2014-2019 period by acclamation in a congress held in Bali on Dec. 3, 2014.
The Golkar, under the chairmanship of Aburizal Bakrie, is Indonesia's second-largest party leading the majority Red-and-White Coalition that is opposing the government.
Bakrie has approached Minister Yasonna Laoly to submit the report about the new structure of the party's leadership and seek official registration in the ministry.
"The Golkar Party has only one chairman," Bakrie said while visiting the minister's office in Jakarta on Dec. 8, 2014.
Bakrie was accompanied by several leading members of the party, including Executive Chairman M.S. Hidayat, Secretary General Idrus Marham, General Treasurer Bambang Soesatyo, and Deputy Chairman Nurdin Halid.
Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, a politician from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), personally received the report.
"I have received the documents directly from Mr Ical (Aburizal Bakrie)," Laoly told the media.
The minister revealed his plan to set up a special team to evaluate the documents submitted to him.
The team comprising the ministry's personnel will analyze the party's documents received by the ministry, he added.
A few hours after Bakrie's visit, the minister received the rival camp chief Agung Laksono, a former minister who had been elected as chairman by rival Golkar faction during the party's congress in Jakarta on Dec 6-8, 2014.
Agung Laksono had earlier set up a presidium and had planned to hold a congress in January 2015 to challenge Bakrie.
Laksono and 16 other cadres were dismissed during the 9th National Congress of the Golkar Party in Bali for violating the party's articles of association.
The members dismissed included Agung Laksono, Priyo Budi Santoso, Yorrys Raweyai, Agun Gunandjar, and Nusron Wahid.
Earlier, Agung Laksono and his group openly voiced their support for the government of Joko Widodo and expressed their intention to withdraw from the Red-White Coalition (KMP) comprising opposition parties.
He was optimistic that minister Yasonna Laoly will respond positively to his Golkar faction.
Professor of state administration law Yusril Ihza Mahendra has, however, reminded the justice minister to remain neutral and act within the existing laws while dealing with the Golkar case.
"The justice and human rights minister should not act out of political considerations. He should avoid making any decision regarding the party leadership structure," Yusril Ihza Mahendra wrote on his Twitter account @Yusrilihza_Mhd on Monday.
According to him, the minister should postpone the registrations of new leadership structures submitted by the Golkar party's two rival groups led by Aburizal Bakrie and Agung Laksono.
The Golkar is facing an internal conflict and so efforts should be made within the party to settle it, probably by forming a team, he noted.
The minister can accept the party's new leadership structure only after it manages to solve the problem internally or after the conflicting groups seek justice in court, he added.
In order to avoid a leadership vacuum in the Golkar when the internal conflict goes on, Mahendra suggested that the leaderships appointed at the party's Eighth Congress in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, in 2009, take charge.
Political observer, Igor Dirgantara of the University of Jayabaya, Jakarta, earlier said the Justice and Human Rights Minister should not be involved in the efforts to solve to the conflict in the Golkar Party.
"It will be better if the justice and human rights minister is not involved in the Golkar Party's internal conflict or not be asked to help solve the problem. The conflict should be solved through a mechanism in accordance with the party's statute," Igor Dirgantara remarked in Jakarta on Dec. 2, 2014.
He cited three reasons why the justice and human rights minister should not be asked to help solve the Golkar Party's internal conflict.
Firstly, the independent functioning of Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly is questionable as he is a politician from the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), which leads the Great Indonesia Coalition (KIH).
Secondly, looking at the case of the United Development Party (PPP), the minister's premature decision to recognize one of the conflicting PPP factions triggered strong protests, and it was finally overturned by the district court.
Lastly, any intervention by the government can boomerang, as the Golkar Party has been perceived as a major and mature party so far, he noted.
"The Golkar has always occupied executive positions, and now, it has changed its approach and has decided to remain 'outside' the executive. This crucial political decision should be respected by the government," he affirmed.
"If the government intervenes, it will be no different from the New Order government," he added.
Earlier, Deputy Chairman of the Golkar Party Fadel Muhammad had noted that the statement made by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Tedjo Edhi Purdijatno on the party's upcoming national congress indicated government intervention.
"We ask the minister to withdraw his statement," Fadel has said on Nov. 26, 2014.
Minister Purdijatno on Tuesday (Nov. 25) asked the police not to issue any permit for the national congress in Bali on November 30, 2014.
The minister cited that the congress will coincide with the year-end holidays. So, if the congress turns chaotic, it will harm Indonesia's image internationally.
Fadel Muhammad remarked that he regretted the minister's statement. He explained that the Bali provincial police chief had said Bali was conducive to the congress and the National Police Chief had given the permit to conduct the congress.
"The statement made by the coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs implies government intervention, so it's rather unpleasant," Fadel had stated at the Parliament building.
He added that the statement also indicated that the government was not neutral concerning the Golkar's internal problem.
"A number of colleagues have regarded the statement political because the coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs is from the National Democrat (NasDem) Party that had split from the Golkar," he noted.
Fadel, who is with the Bakrie camp, had emphasized that some elites were competing for the Golkar's top position and the matter was the party's internal problem.
For the sake of democracy, the government must not intervene in the party's internal issues, he had stated.