Markus Junianto Sihaloho
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s claim on Wednesday that his Democratic Party ranked only third in terms of the number of its members involved in corruption has not sat well with officials from the country’s oldest party.
Bambang Soesatyo, a Golkar Party legislator, said on Thursday that the president’s statement that two unnamed parties were far more corrupt than the Democrats was an insult.
“His statement, though meant to boost the self-esteem of his own party members, was an insult to other parties,” he said. “Everyone knows that it’s the Democrats who are embroiled in major corruption cases at the moment.”
Bambang also called into doubt Yudhoyono’s statistics on the matter, which the president claimed to have obtained from an unnamed “official source.”
In a speech to senior Democrats on Wednesday night, Yudhoyono said only 8.6 percent of his party’s legislators, ministers and regional heads had been involved in graft cases, far below the top two parties, which had 33.7 percent and 16.6 percent of their members implicated in corruption.
Bambang said that even if the figures were true, the president was sending out the wrong message by appearing to condone a low level of corruption.
Priyo Budi Santoso, a senior Golkar official and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, said he believed Yudhoyono was being overly generous in saying the Democrats were not the most graft-ridden party in the country, only the third worst. “I hope it was only a slip of the tongue,” he said.
While Golkar officials rankled at Yudhoyono’s graft ranking claim, those from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) brushed off the statement as inconsequential.