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Pay envy the root of Indonesian military-police row: Mahfudz

Jakarta Globe - April 26, 2012

Markus Junianto Sihaloho – A House of Representatives commission chairman on Wednesday called on the government to address the jealousy between soldiers and police, which he said was at the root of the conflict between them.

Mahfudz Siddiq, chairman of House Commission I, which deals with security and defense, said that without addressing the issue of jealousy, conflicts such as the one that pitted the two forces against each other last weekend would continue.

Six soldiers and two policemen were injured in a clash that broke out in Sulawesi's Gorontalo province.

"This conflict did not happen because of any misunderstanding on the field," Mahfudz said. "It relates to jealousy."

He said that since the reforms of the Armed Forces (TNI) in past decades, one aspect had been neglected – the improvement of soldiers' welfare. Meanwhile, the police were much better at improving the welfare of their own personnel, he added.

"This is something that cannot be denied," Mahfudz said. Therefore, he continued, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono should not only seek to mediate between the TNI and the police, but he should also take steps to prevent these conflicts from occurring again.

"The president should find a solution so that the discrepancies and the jealousy between the two institutions can be overcome," the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) legislator said.

He said the House planned to hold a joint meeting between Commissions I and III and invite the heads of the TNI and the National Police, the defense minister and the coordinating minister for politics, legal and security affairs.

"This is to seek the best solution," Mahfudz said. "We need to make sure that the interests of the nation and the state, in regards to security, comfort and conducive conditions, do not become neglected because the police and military personnel are fighting each other."

The violence between police and soldiers in Gorontalo on the weekend was only the latest in a series of similar incidents in many regions across the country.