Not Even Note From Parents Will Excuse Lawmaker Absences, Democrats Insist
The deputy chairman of the Democratic Party said on Wednesday that he supported a plan to hand down strict sanctions to absentee party lawmakers, including Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro Yudhoyono, the party’s secretary general and son of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“If [the House of Representatives] faction wants to hand down sanctions, please do it clearly and strictly,” party chairman Sutan Bhatoegana said on Wednesday, as quoted by Okezone.com. “Please take strict action, if it is including Ibas and also if it is including me.”
He said his party would not protect anyone who failed to fulfill their attendance obligations, nor would such standards be implemented selectively.
Journalists at the House have claimed that Ibas sometimes attends plenary sessions, but rarely joins the smaller meetings of Commission I, to which he is assigned. The commission oversees foreign and defense affairs.
Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, chairwoman of the Democratic Party’s House faction, denied that Ibas often missed the meetings. According to her, Ibas frequently attends, a fact that journalists had failed to take note of.
“Actually Ibas often attends them, but people just don’t know that,” Nurhayati said. “We’re not treating him in a special way.”
The House has come under scrutiny for the alarmingly low attendance rates of many of the legislature’s members. The situation led to the purchase of fingerprint-based attendance registers, which are expected to begin logging lawmakers’ absences beginning next month.