Gov holds back grant for Surakarta Palace

Central Java Governor Bibit Waluyo said his administration was not ready to disburse the Rp 1.1 billion (US$121,000) grant for the operational expenses and revitalization of Kasunanan Surakarta Palace because the recent reconciliation to end an internal rift in the royal family had not worked.

Speaking after receiving Mooryati Soedibyo representing the Surakarta Palace at the governor’s office in Semarang, Bibit said the reconciliation between the twin kings PB XIII Hangabehi and PB XIII Tedjowulan was only on paper and not implemented on the ground.

Bibit said there were still internal problems and the dualism in leadership within the palace was also still there. “If [the reconciliation] works, what the king instructs will be implemented by the patih [deputy king]. If not, it means the internal problems are still there,” Bibit said on Wednesday.

The reconciliation between Hangabehi and Tedjowulan was made in Jakarta on May 16, 2012, during which both signed an agreement to jointly manage, preserve and develop the palace.

Tedjowulan in this case agreed to surrender his PB XIII title and received the position as mahapatih (deputy king) with the title of Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Haryo Panembahan Agung Tedjowulan. Hangabehi, similarly, agreed to work with his brother Tedjowulan to jointly lead and manage the palace as a duumvirate.

Bibit said he postponed the disbursement of the palace grant following an official letter sent by Hangabehi asking for a temporary postponement of the fund while waiting for the reconciliation process to proceed and the conflicting parties to get along together. “Otherwise, the fund will not be able to be disbursed. Who will manage it if dualism still exists?” Bibit said.

He added that the funds would not be written off from the province’s 2012 budget and that he was not complicating the disbursement. The funds could be disbursed once the king officially asked for it. “It’s the taxpayers’ money. If there is no clarity on who manages the fund then who will be accountable for the spending of it?” Bibit said.

Meanwhile, Mooryati refused to comment on the matter. “We’re just paying a visit. No comments,” she said.

Separately chairperson of the Kasunanan Surakarta Palace’s custom institution, GKR Wandansari Koes Moertiyah, confirmed that since the reconciliation that led to the official welcoming of Tedjowulan into the palace on June 15, 2012, there had not been any follow-up meeting between the conflicting parties. “The conflict is over and we only have a single king presently, but no follow-up meeting has been made so far,” Wandansari said on Wednesday.

The spokesman for Tedjowulan, KPH Bambang Pradotonagoro agreed. He said no letter had been signed with regard to the comeback of Tedjowulan since the reconciliation. “Mahapatih [Tedjowulan] has also not returned to the palace since the Jumenengan,” said Bambang, referring to the anniversary celebration of Hangabehi’s coronation on June 15 during which Tedjowulan’s return to the palace was officially welcomed.

Wandansari added that the reconciliation should not affect the disbursement of the grant from the provincial budget, arguing that it just marked the end of the internal conflict but had nothing to do with the palace’s custom institution.

“The palace is an institution. The fund is for the institution. It has nothing to do with the reconciliation because the conflict was between Sinuhun [Hangabehi] and Tedjowulan,” she said.

Head of the palace’s law institution, KP Edy Wirabhumi, expressed a similar view, questioning why only this year there was a problem with the disbursement of the funds. “What makes this year different from previous years? This is what we will find out from the governor,” he said.

Ainur Rohmah and Kusumasari Ayuningtyas, The Jakarta Post, Semarang/Surakarta | Archipelago | Thu, July 26 2012, 7:25 AM



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