Monarchs remain in control of Yogyakarta under new law


Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and Sri Paku Alam IX, twin monarchs of the Yogyakarta sultanate, will have their positions as governor and deputy governor extended for another five-year term after the government and the House of Representatives endorsed the bill on Yogyakarta’s special autonomy status.

In the bill, both sides agree that political leadership of the province will be held by the two royal families through appointment.

Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, 66, and Sri Paku Alam, 74, are expected to be inducted in October soon after the House officially endorses the bill in early September.

The terms for the two leaders officially ended in October 2011 but were extended by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, pending the deliberation of key issues in the bill.

Deputy chairman of House Commission II overseeing domestic politics Gandjar Pranowo said that it looked certain that the bill would be endorsed in a plenary session with only small changes from the draft approved today.

“The Sultan and the Paku Alam will be reassigned as governor and deputy governor for another five-year term if they are mentally and physically fit for the job. And if they are deemed incapable, it is the members of the two royal families who will find their successors,” Gandjar told The Jakarta Post here on Monday.

Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party finally caved in after a meeting between the President and Hamengkubuwono at the Presidential Palace in June.

Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi lauded the deal saying that it was an achievement to break the prolonged deadlock between nine political factions and the government, which is backed by the Democratic Party.

The Majority of political parties and the public in Yogyakarta have thrown their weight behind the province’s governor being appointed on the basis of royal traits rather than elected.

Chairman of the Democratic Party faction Nurhayati Ali Assegaf declined to comment on why her faction relented.

“Our faction does not want to waste time in deliberation. We want a quick endorsement of the bill,” she said.

Analysts have said that the Democratic Party’s sinking popularity from involvement in graft cases, had made it vulnerable to pressure in Yogyakarta.

Nurhayati said that as a trade-off, the two monarchies are required to groom good quality and well-educated princes or princesses to prepare them for the province’s top jobs.

“The Sultanate and Pakualaman have to send princes or princesses to quality schools and colleges or provide top-notch education to make them fit for the job,” she said.

The Yogyakarta Special Autonomy Bill is only one among a number of bills currently deliberated in the House dealing with local administrations.

Gandjar said that the House managed only to wrap up deliberation on the Yogyakarta Special Autonomy Bill and left out others including bills on regional administration, local elections and village administration.

He said the on-going review of the 2004 regional administration law suffered from too many inputs from the public while the deliberation of bills on local elections and village administration experience delay from bickering among political factions.

Source: Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Tue, August 14 2012, 6:20 AM


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