[The following is a compellation of abridged translations from Detik.com on reactions to the establishment of the GAM Party by former members of the Free Aceh Movement in Banda Aceh on July 7.]
Banda Aceh police protest use GAM logo and flag as party symbol
Iqbal Fadil, Banda Aceh – Banda Aceh municipal police chief Superintendent Drs Zulkarnain is protesting the use of the Free Aceh Movement flag and symbol for a local political party formed by former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) fighters.
"The symbol is not allowed. Although the people in the party are different. This symbol still represents the armed resistance movement of the past", protested Zulkarnain on July 7.
Earlier, former GAM members from the Aceh Transitional Committee (KPA) declared the establishment of a local political party called the GAM Party.
During the official opening of their new office around one kilometre from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, GAM Party general secretary Tengku M. Nazar said that GAM is not an acronym or abbreviation meaning GAM in full. "GAM is us, not an acronym", asserted Nazar.
Former GAM commander Muzakir Manaf chaired the opening although not one government official from the Aceh provincial government attended, including Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf, who is also a former GAM spokesperson.
The GAM Party was established to participate in the 2009 general elections. Two other local political parties have been formed in Aceh: the Aceh People's Party (PRA) and the Gabthat Party. (Detik.com, 8/7/2007)
GAM party does not have government's blessing
Luhur Hertanto, Jakarta – State Secretary Hatta Radjasa has denied that the government gave its agreement to the formation of the GAM party or gave its blessing for the party to use the GAM symbol as its logo.
"There is no truth to the reports. It is untrue that the president agreed to the formation of the GAM Party", said Radjasa in Jakarta on July 9.
Radjasa explained that one of the aims of a discussion between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former GAM leader Malik Mahmud on July 4 was to come to an agreement over the formation of a local political party as part of the implementation of the Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the law on Aceh governance. (Detik.com, 9/7/2007)
GAM's new political party concrete evidence of rebellious intent
Muhammad Nur Hayid, Jakarta – The use of GAM's name and flag for a local political party in Aceh is concrete evidence of GAM's rebellious intentions and the government must act firmly.
"This can no longer be tolerated. Summon the leadership, if they don't respond then arrest them", said House of Representatives (DPR) Commission I member Suparlan in Jakarta on July 9. Suparlan said that firm measures are needed so that the government does not continue to be harassed. "Take [them] to court and let the courts decide", he said.
Similar commends were made by another commission member, Sutradara Gintings, who said that GAM had violated Law Number 11/2006 on Aceh Governance and the government cannot just let it go. "We are waiting to see what the government's position is, because this is clearly a violation", he insisted.
National Mandate Party commission member Abdillah Toha meanwhile said that GAM's actions demonstrate that former GAM members no longer wish to be part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). "The fatal error in the MoU is that it does not have a clause on the dissolution of GAM. This can no longer be tolerated", he asserted.
Golkar Party politician Yuddy Chrisnandy is also asking the government to act firmly so the situation does not become even more uncertain. "Take fast and firm action so that [the problem] isn't prolonged", he said. (Detik.com, 9/7/2007)
Government must take immediate action against GAM's new party
Muhammad Nur Hayid, Jakarta – National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) Governor Muladi is calling on President Yudhoyono to take action against the GAM Party over concerns that it could become the embryo of a separatist movement.
"The party is continuously looking for loop holes or gaps in the law", said Muladi during a break in a Commission I meeting at the DPR on July 9.
According to Muladi, by calling itself GAM and using GAM attributes they have violated the Helsinki MoU, the law on Aceh governance and the government regulation on local political parties in Aceh. "The department of Justice and Human Rights must refuse to register the party", he said.
Muladi also said that the matter must be reported to the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) and the movement stopped before it get international support. "The movement cannot remain alive if it doesn't get international support", he said.
He also added that based on the results of the recent election of regional heads in Aceh, if the GAM Party takes part in the 2009 elections they would win the legislative elections. "If they take part in the Regional House of Representative elections, their demands for a referendum will continue to grow", he said. (Detik.com, 9/7/2007)
Jusuf Kalla denies government agreed to new GAM party
Ken Yunita, Jakarta – Vice President Jusuf Kalla has denied a statement by GAM Prime Minister Malik Mahmud that the government does not have any problems with the formation of the GAM Party.
"Ah, I think that's absolutely not the case. There was no agreement whatsoever", said Kalla after attending the final training session of the national soccer team in Jakarta on July 9.
Kalla said that the establishment of the party is not in accordance with the spirit of peace in the Helsinki MoU but conceded that the agreement does not specifically mention the dissolution of GAM. "Malik Mahmud did indeed convey the matter to me, but there was no agreement", asserted Kalla.
A short time ago KPA spokesperson Ibrahim Syamsudin stated that during a meeting attended by Kalla, Yudhoyono told Mahmud that he had no problems with the GAM Party using the GAM symbol. (Detik.com, 9/7/2007)
Muladi: Destroy the GAM Party!
Ken Yunita, Jakarta – There have been positive and negative responses to the formation of the GAM Party. Lemhannas Governor Muladi says that the party should be destroyed legally, not through armed force.
"Yeah destroyed. The term 'destroy' is pretty harsh. But it must be so, it must be destroyed legally, not militarily, and must bear in mind not violating human rights", said Muladi following a meeting with Jusuf Kalla in Jakarta on Tuesday July 10.
According to Muladi, a resolution must be found that also pays attention to social justice and uses a cultural approach. "Invite the traditional councils to discuss it. Basically don't let there be any more discussion of independence, because it will only lead to more blood being spilt", he said.
In addition to this he continued, the territory surrounding Aceh must be strengthened militarily. "So there is no smuggling of weapons into Aceh. Deploy fighter jets, but they shouldn't enter Aceh territory, because the deployment of [non]-organic troops is prohibited. Aceh and Papua are more dangerous than RMS [the South Maluku Republic independence movement]", he explained. (Detik.com, 10/7/2007)
GAM party endangers integrity of NKRI
Muhammad Nur Hayid, Jakarta – There have been different assessments made of the the GAM Party. Some believe that the party cannot just be ignored because it endangers the integrity of NKRI.
"It is as if, a necklace of war has been draped around our necks. How can we just remain silent", said DPR Commission I deputy chairperson Yusron Ihza Mahendra when speaking with journalists in Jakarta on Monday July 9. "The formation of the GAM Party is clearly not in accordance with the Helsinki MoU. It also violates Law Number 11/2006 on Acehnese Governance", he added.
According to the Crescent Star Party politician, the Helsinki MoU states that after Aceh has been given regional autonomy, GAM must be disbanded and all GAM symbols destroyed. Mahendra believes therefore that the government has no choice but to obliterate symbols of GAM and the separatist movement. "Not provide space or even perpetuate them by allowing the GAM Party to be established and officially sanctioned", he said accusingly. (Detik.com, 10/7/2007)
GAM party could end up fighting for referendum
Ken Yunita, Jakarta – There are concerns that emergence of the GAM Party as a local political party in Aceh will end up in calls for a referendum or the liberation of the province.
"If it is allowed, [we] can see how it will pan out. Local parties are established, then dominate the parliament, and later that's what the parliament will discuss. They will be able to discuss anything, including asking for a referendum", said Lemhannas Governor Muladi in Jakarta on July 10.
"This is a serious problem. Attention really must be paid to it. This case closely resembles East Timor before. The government must reflect upon it, because all of our lines are stretched thin", said Muladi in an outburst of emotion.
Muladi said that by using GAM symbols, the new party has no other goal but to achieve independence. "They are using the GAM flag. GAM is the Free Aceh Movement. So if [they] still continue to use GAM symbols it means that's their aim", he asserted. (Detik.com, 10/7/2007)
GAM Party activists could be arrested, indicted
Indra Subagja, Jakarta – The formation of the GAM party has invited considerable polemic. It remains uncertain however whether the government will ban the party or not. At present, police are still monitoring the new party.
"There is monitoring, patrols, and our intelligence operatives are following it closely. Because it [could be] a precursor to disunity. And it could provoke feelings among people that previously felt GAM had won so it could form the GAM Party", said the head of the National Police Headquarters public relations division, Inspector General Sisno Adiwinoto on July 10.
Adiwinoto added that if the Department of Justice and Human Rights along with the Department of Home Affairs prohibits the party, the police would take immediate legal action. "If so it there will certainly be arrests", added Adiwinoto.
Although there has yet to be any prohibition, the activists from the GAM Party could be indicted under other articles. "Not because of being prohibited but what it does later, provocation for example, evil conspiracies, and hostility towards the state", asserted Adiwinoto. (Detik.com, 10/7/2007)
[Translated by James Balowski.]