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Legislators start to question government's performance

Jakarta Post - October 6, 2001

Jakarta – House of Representatives (DPR) legislators questioned on Friday the performance of President Megawati Soekarnoputri's government in the economic and political fields after nearly three months in office.

Legislator Effendi Choirie of the National Awakening Party faction (F-PKB) noted the country's exports had decreased in value and inflation had increased. "Meanwhile, foreign investment is still only a promise and local security is unstable. The condition is worsened by the increasing prices of basic commodities, while the rupiah's exchange rate is decreasing," Effendi said as quoted by Antara. He said the deteriorating security condition was not due to public attitude but was a result of the government's foreign policy which had failed to address people's aspirations.

Effendi, who is the PKB House faction deputy chief, said the government should therefore evaluate its foreign and other policies and if necessary reshuffle the Cabinet. He also claimed that Megawati's recent US and Japanese visits had failed to produce concrete results.

Meanwhile, Golkar Party legislator Priyo Budi Santoso questioned the government's 2002 budget and financial statement. "I was surprised to see the figures in the 2002 budget and financial statement as it had failed to favor the country's education development programs ... The figure was insignificant. The President must have told the public the truth that the country's economic condition is difficult," he was quoted by the news agency as saying.

Priyo said many legislators had initially pinned their hopes on the new government when it had miraculously succeeded in increasing the rupiah's value to 8,100 to the US dollar compared to Rp 10,000 to the dollar previously. "But I was surprised to see that the rate once broke the level of Rupiah 10,000 per dollar during the government's first 100 days," he said. He, therefore, asked the government's economics team to remain aware of the economic condition.