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Buya denies members were involved in West Kalimantan

Kompas - February 19, 1997

Jakarta – The General Chairman of the Central Directing Council of PPP, Ismail Hasan Metareum, evaluates that those meant by Army Chief of Staff General R Hartono, when he mentioned there were elements from East Java inciting the community in West Kalimantan, were Parliament PPP Fraction members KH Amin Imron and Madurese religious teacher KH Abdullah Schal.

Therefore, in his meeting with the press in the office of the PPP Central Directing Council on Tuesday (18/2) yesterday, Ismail Hasan Metareum, who is cordially called Buya, denied that accusation. Buya emphasized that the two persons had never incited the mass and caused the riots in West Kalimantan.

Buya who was sided by Chairman Hamzah Haz, Zain Badjeber, and PPP Fraction member Koen Solehoeddin, put forward that the two high religious teachers from East Java had not been to West Kalimantan after the initial riot which happened in Sanggau Ledo.

This statement was conveyed after Buya had delegated Koen Solehoeddin to meet with Amin Imron in Jakarta yesterday. Amir Imron is fourth on the list of candidate members of legislature for PPP from East Java.

Koen explained that Amir Imron had been shocked that his name had been linked to the riots in West Kalimantan. Amir, said Koen, regretted that the apparatus had not questioned him prior to launching that unfounded accusation. Amir also said never to have visited West Kalimantan in that connection.

According to Buya, the PPP Central Directing Council had once indeed send a team to observe the riots that had occurred in Sanggau Ledo. But that was a while ago, namely around the beginning of the fasting month.

"They long since returned and we are still studying the results. We have indeed not yet written a letter to the Armed Forces Commander concerning our findings," said Buya.

Posters did not incite

Buya also said it was not true that the posters picturing the two religious teachers from East Java - with the PPP symbol in the center and Arabic writing above - were inciting in tone. Buya heard that the Arabic writing on the upper side of the posters was thought to call for holy war.

"In fact when you understand Arabic, it means, may on us be bestowed by Allah the blessing of these two people in the world and in the hereafter," said Buya while pointing at the poster.

The Security Assistant to the Army Chief of Staff, Maj.Gen. Zaki Anwar Makarin on Monday (17/2), before journalists showed photographs of persons with initials AI and AD, who until now are suspected as the cause of the spreading of the riots. (Kompas, 18 February 1997).

Those posters, recounted Buya, were printed about three months ago in Bangkalan, Madura, East Java, and sold to get general elections campaign funds for the Bangkalan PPP Branch Directing Council. The branch printed about 25 thousand sheets. Thus far, already some Rp 25 million has been collected.

According to Buya, those posters had created a problem in East Java, but subsequently the local government stated it had no objections and permitted circulation of those posters.

But Buya admitted that the bare Arabic writing on those posters could well be interpreted in various ways by people who did not understand the specific purpose. "That can happen," he said.

To meet the Army Chief of Staff?

Buya said he had not yet thought about meeting Army Chief of Staff General R Hartono, because the accusation about the two persons from East Java had come from the side of the Army leadership.

"I read about it just today. Even should we have to meet, we must have complete data, so we will know what problem will be discussed," said Buya.

Of course, Buya said that he wants the matter to be settled fully quickly. He also asked the Chairmen of the PPP Central Directing Council to officially summon the PPP members who had been the target of the accusation.

"I want this problem to be over quickly. And I am also grateful to Pak Hartono who quickly settled the riots. Only, I think that they obtained inaccurate information which led to misdirected accusation," he said.

Nevertheless, Buya invites the authorities to investigate the two accused if that is in accordance with procedure. (*)