Banda Aceh – The chairperson of the Preparatory Committee for the Acehnese People’s Party (KP-PRA) is urging the government to immediately ratify the Draft Government Regulation on Local Political Parties in Aceh.
“The government must immediately ratify the government regulation on local parties. We are hoping that the February deadline that was promised by the government will not be shifted forward again”, said KP-PRA Chairperson Thamrin Ananda during a break at the KP-PRA’s first congress at the Aula State Vocational School in Lampineung, Banda Aceh, on Tuesday February 27.
The KP-PRA first congress between February 27 and March 3 is being attended by around 300 party members from 16 regencies/municipalities across Aceh. Following the congress, KP-PRA will be declared as the first local political party in Aceh, after the government allows the existence of local parties in the Land of Seulanga.
The Aceh government is also urging Jakarta to immediately ratify the government regulation on local political parties. “As those responsible, we are urging the central government to immediately complete drafting the government regulation on local parties that was promised to have been finished in late February. We are awaiting their response”, said the First Assistance to the Aceh Provincial Secretariat A. Hamid Zein, in a welcoming speech at the opening of the PRA’s congress.
In addition to calling on the government to ratify a legal umbrella for local parties, Thamrin said in a political speech that the congress aimed to set out a program, basis and platform, and to elect a chairperson and general secretary. After the congress, the Acehnese People’s Party will be declared as the first local party in Aceh.
During his speech Thamrin frequently focused on the domination of developing countries by the United States and Europe. While countries in Latin America and several other developing nations have endeavored to minimise US and European domination, the influence of the US and Europe in Aceh has instead grown stronger. Both of these forces said Thamrin, are imperialist and capitalist.
According to Thamrin, dependency on these two forces will weaken Aceh’s bargaining position, both in the areas of politics and the socially as well as economically. It is because of this continued Thamrin, that the PRA will endeavor to fight the domination by the US and Europe.
In order to fight this domination said Thamrin, the PRA is taking up the issues of eliminating poverty and unemployment, saying that 48 percent of the Acehnese population are economically poor. “The PRA will attempt to force down levels of poverty and unemployment. Both these issues can be resolved by creating employment opportunities”, he said. “We aspire to make Aceh modern and economically self-sufficient.”
Despite taking up the slogan of fighting imperialist and capitalist domination, the PRA will not reject foreign investors who wish to invest their capital in province that only recently has been released from the shackles of armed conflict. “But capital ownership must be balanced. For example 50 percent owned by the Acehnese government and the other 50 percent owned by investors”, he continued.
Zein meanwhile said that the Acehnese government warmly welcomes the new emergence of local political parties in Aceh. “The PRA represents the very first response to the substance of the Aceh Governance Law, that is the establishment of a local political party, which is better able to struggle around local politics in Aceh”, said Zein in his greetings to the conference. Zein said he hopes that the PRA will be able to become a vehicle to take up the wishes of the Acehnese people into the future.
The KP-PRA’s conference received warm greetings from a number of circles. Aceh Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) speaker Sayed Fuad Zakaria, the head of the Aceh DPRD’s Commission I Mukhlis Mukhtar and Ghazali Abbas Adan (a former member of the House of Representatives) were also seen during the opening of the congress. The three even gave welcoming remarks to the congress. [dzie]