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Indonesian politician allegedly robs for campaign
Publication Date : 29-11-2013
Indra Kusuma, a newcomer politician from the United Development Party (PPP), has seen his chance of a long stint as a member of the Musirawas Legislative Council, South Sumatra, disappear.
The police arrested him for allegedly masterminding a robbery last week in which 100 million rupiah (US$8,2000) was stolen from the Lohjinawe cooperatives unit in Tuban regency, East Java. Indra was arrested in Jombang, East Java, on Tuesday along with four alleged accomplices.
Indra has admitted his wrongdoing, saying that each of the five suspects, including himself, got 15 million rupiah. However, he claimed that his share went to his campaign team for his legislative candidacy.
“I was short of cash to fund my candidacy. I was planning to spend the money on banners for campaigning,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Indra’s arrest, according to PPP deputy secretary-general Muhammad Romahurmuziy, led to the party immediately dismissing him from the PPP.
He said a dismissal letter had been sent to Indra. “Today, we also sent a letter to the General Elections Commission [KPU], requesting it remove his name from the legislative candidates’ list.”
Romahurmuziy said the party deeply regretted Indra’s wrongdoing and pledged to implement stricter selection criteria for PPP legislative candidates in the future.
“We apologize that we mistakenly recruited him. We will improve the selection process,” he said.
Romahurmuziy said the party would not evaluate its legislative hopefuls, reaching around 8,000 individuals, who would be vying in the 2014 general election. He also said that Indra’s reasoning that he needed money to finance his campaign was baseless and irrelevant.
“He just made that up to justify his behaviour,” he said.
Reports say that it costs between 1 billion rupiah and 2 billion rupiah to secure a seat at the House of Representatives.
Political observer Ikrar Nusa Bhakti from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said it was difficult to tell to what extent Indra’s behavior was driven by his political ambition.
Ikrar noted that there was stiffer competition in politics as lawmaker hopefuls from the same party were vying with each other for seats and it could lead relatively unknown people to do anything to jack up their popularity.
He added that the incident proved that most political parties would do anything to increase their chances of victory in next year’s general election.
“There should be a serious eva-luation over the recruitment process. How a political party recruits members determines a lot of things,” he said.