Megawati inaugurates new PDI-P volunteer wing Repdem

Koran Tempo – June 10, 2005
Repdem general chairperson Beathor Suryadi pictured centre (Antara)
Repdem general chairperson Beathor Suryadi pictured centre (Antara)

Jakarta – Yesterday, Megawati Sukarnoputri inaugurated the Volunteers for Democratic Struggle (Relawan Perjuangan Demokrasi, Repdem), a social organisation affiliated with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). At the same time, the general chairperson of PDI-P also inaugurated Repdem members as members of her party.

Megawati called on Repdem to be consistent with its name as a voluntary organisation, that is one with an independent character. She then went on to related her experience when she first joined the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) which later went on to become the PDI-P.

“I was ordered this way and that, I never asked for money, like a volunteer”, she said prior to the inauguration which was held at the party’s headquarters on Jalan Lenteng Agung. “So before any Repdem [members] even think of asking for money, [you] should leave okay”.

Megawati said she was happy with the statement by Repdem’s secretary general, Budiman Sudjatmiko, who said he would do whatever he was asked. “I’m just one small part of a wave building this country”, he said.

During the inauguration, Megawati symbolically handed over PDI-P jackets to Repdem’s chairperson, secretary general and other regional and city level leaders. The event, which began at 3pm, proceeded for around an hour, starting two hours later than scheduled. A number of PDI-P’s central leadership members attended.

Sudjatmiko said that the inauguration was the second happiest day of his life after the day the PDI-P declared itself as an opposition party. In a speech the former general chairperson of the People’s Democratic Party said that Repdem couldn’t become a party within a party. “Because that will cause anarchy within the organisation”.

Earlier, Repdem’s general chairperson, Beathor Suryadi, said the organisation will not undermine the authority of the party. “It won’t become a parasite within the party”, he said in a speech. He said he hoped Megawati’s spirit of populism would spread to Repdem.

Repdem was launched on November 3, 2004. At the PDI-P’s Second Congress in Bali at the end of March this year, Repdem supported Megawati’s reelection as party chairperson. Former activist Pius Lustrilanang, a leader of the PDI-P’s Red Alert Brigade (Brigass) on the other, hand opposed her. Lustrilanang was dismissed from the PDI-P last May along with 11 other activists from the PDI-P Reform Movement.

The chairperson of Indonesian Young Bulls (BMI), Roy B.B. Janis, said that the PDI-P does not have an affiliated organisations like other political parties. A number of social organisations such as BMI and the Democratic Youth have worked with the PDI-P once every five years when they were campaigning in the general elections. “The BMI will not support an authoritarian party”, said the PDI-P Reform Movement figure.

Janis admitted they are still garnering regional support to address the errors of the PDI-P leadership board elected at the May congress. Today, he was inaugurating the Reform Movement in Central Sulawesi and will then go to the West Java city of Bogor on Sunday for a similar event. “On Monday next week I’ll be going to East Nusa Tenggara”, he said. (Harun Mahbub Billah/Jobpie S.)

[Translated by James Balowski.]