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Bintang denies PUDI responsible for unrest

Jakarta Post - February 25, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian Democratic Union Party (PUDI) denied yesterday charges made by Armed Forces Chief Gen. Feisal Tanjung last week that it was behind recent unrest.

PUDI chairman Sri Bintang Pamungkas said his organization shunned violence although it adopted a "noncooperative" policy toward "people who refuse political reform".

"Besides, issues related to socioeconomic disparity and injustices had often been raised by people and community leaders long before PUDI came into existence," he said in a statement.

Feisal told journalists in Bandung last week that PUDI the unrecognized Democratic People's Party and Indonesian People's Council doubted the sanctity of the state ideology Pancasila.

The organizations, according to Feisal, distorted historical facts about the 1965 abortive coup and exaggerated discrepancies in government development programs and socioeconomic disparity.

Bintang, 51, was convicted last year of defaming President Soeharto in speeches he gave during a visit to Germany in 1995. The Jakarta High Court rejected his appeal and upheld the 34-month sentence handed out by the district court. He has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Bintang said the latest incidents of mob violence in the provinces were triggered by government policies which he said did not favor the masses. As for Feisal's charges that the three above "parties" insisted on seeking the abolition of the five political laws Bintang said the accusation was not true either.

Bintang said PUDI was not interested in proposing the axing of the laws because it did not believe the relevant institutions would accommodate his wishes. (01)