Former PKS Politician Misbakhun’s Return Unlikely Despite New Ruling
Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Ezra Sihite
Former Prosperous Justice Party politician Muhammad Misbakhun is fighting his way back to the House of Representatives after the Supreme Court overturned his criminal conviction, but legislators say his chances of a comeback are slim.
Misbakhun, from the conservative Islamic party known as the PKS, was in 2010 sentenced to two years in prison for forging documents to obtain large loans from the now-defunct Bank Century.
As a consequence, he was fired from the House. He was released on parole in August last year for good behavior.
Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it had overturned his conviction, meaning that he should not have been imprisoned or fired from the House in the first place.
House Ethics Council chairman Muhammad Prakosa said Misbakhun’s acquittal did not mean that he would automatically be given back his House seat.
“Throughout the time Misbakhun was entangled in a legal case, the Ethics Council did not make any decision [to fire him from the House]. It was his party who said that Misbakhun had resigned. So this is between him and his party,” Prakosa said.
He added that his office had received a copy of the official letter from the PKS stating that Misbakhun had resigned from the party, which also automatically brought an end to his tenure as a legislator.
House Deputy Speaker Pramono Anung also said that Misbakhun’s return to the House was a long shot, adding that during his time as a criminal suspect awaiting trial, the PKS had already appointed someone to replace him.
“There is a chance but it’s very slim. Never in history has someone who was replaced ever come back to serve [as a legislator],” he said.
Pramono said Misbakhun’s political prospects were now in the hands of the PKS, which could theoretically revoke the appointment of the replacement and reinstate Misbakhun.
Abdul Hakim, the PKS secretary at the House, said the party had not discussed this possibility with Misbakhun or received a copy of the Supreme Court ruling. He said the party would study the prevailing laws and regulations to see if Misbakhun’s reinstatement was indeed possible.