"Telkomsel is a state firm and is a subsidiary of state-owned PT Telkom."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s largest cellular phone operator PT Telkomsel, a subsidiary of state-owned telecommunications company PT Telkom, is appealing a district court verdict declaring it bankrupt.

A Central Jakarta district court has ruled in favor of PT Prima Jaya Informatika which had filed a bankruptcy lawsuit against Telkomsel.

In order to safeguard PT Telkomsel from bankruptcy, Minister of Communications and Informatics Tifatul Sembiring and other legislators have called on State-owned Enterprise Minister Dahlan Iskan to help PT Telkomsel, the largest state cellular phone operator which boasts of over 100 million customers.

"In the case of Telkomsel, Dahlan Iskan is the most competent authority as he is the minister for state-owned company. Telkomsel is a state firm and is a subsidiary of state-owned PT Telkom. So, Minister Dahlan is most competent to help it," the communications minister said on Thursday.

Tifatul added it was not wise for the Ministry of Communications and Informatics to look into and involved itself too far in the legal dispute of Telkomsel.

Legislator Maruarar Sirait of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) faction also expressed hope that PT Telkomsel would be safeguarded from the bankruptcy verdict of the Central Jakarta District Court.

"Telkomsel has so far contributed a lot to the state in the form of taxes. Therefore, it should be safeguarded. All stakeholders should provide their full support," Sirait said on Thursday.

PT Telekomunikasi Seluler Tbk (Telkomsel) appealed to the Commercial Court on Friday last week against the Central Jakarta District Court`s verdict which ruled in favour of a bankruptcy lawsuit filed by PT Prima Jaya Informatika (PJI).

"We file an appeal at the Commercial Court today (Friday, Sept 21, last week) because our client is not satisfied with the judges` decision to declare Telkomsel bankrupt," Telkomsel lawyer Ricardo Simanjuntak said.

He added that Telkomsel filed the appeal as his side considered that the judges reached their verdict by only seeing one aspect, while ignoring other legal facts.

"The hearing should have also considered these legal aspects. There was even a judge who quoted a different statement from an expert witness," he said.

Simanjuntak stressed that the court should have dealt with this properly.

He said further that PT Prima Jaya Informatika filed the lawsuit against Telkomsel for terminating their work contract. PJI actually failed to meet its `Kartu Prima` card sales obligation, because of which Telkomsel did not fulfill the request of PJI for `Kartu Prima` cards.

It was reported that on September 14, 2012 Central Jakarta District Court judges, chaired by Judge Agus Iskandar, in their verdict declared PT Telkomsel bankrupt, after PT Prima Jaya Informatika, distributor of Kartu Prima card voucher, filed a bankruptcy lawsuit at the court.

Telkomsel and Prima Jaya Informatika announced a partnership on June 1, 2011 for a period until June 2013, with the agreement that Telkomsel would provide vouchers with a special sports theme to Prima Jaya.

But the partnership ended up in a dispute in June 2012 when Telkomsel terminated the contract because it considered that Prima Jaya had failed to meet the required conditions.

Prima Jaya Informatika then filed a bankruptcy lawsuit against Telkomsel at the court because it viewed that Telkomsel still had a debt amounting to Rp5.3 billion based on the terminated contract.

It was also proven that Telkomsel had debts payable to PT Prima Jaya Informatika and to a number other creditors, like PT Extend Media Indonesia, amounting to Rp21,031,561,274 and Rp19,294,652,520, respectively.

According to the court, the lawsuit filed by PT Prima Jaya Informatika met the conditions as set in Article 2 Point (2) of the Bankruptcy Law.

In its legal battle against the verdict, Minister Tifatul Sembiring suggested that the Supreme Court should take fair steps with regard to the legal case of Telkomsel which had appealed to the commercial court in Central Jakarta.

"From the logical perspective, it is impossible for a company with assets worth hundreds of trillions of rupiah to be sued and declared bankrupt only because of a debt amounting to Rp5.7 billion. I think the MA needs to pay attention to this. The court must also be fair enough to see these considerations," noted Tifatul Sembiring.

He added that PT Telkom was one of those state companies where the state had the biggest stake.

"So, these aspects must be considered," explained Tifatul.

According to legislator Maruarar Sirait, PT Telcomsel with over 100 million customers is a state asset that should be safeguarded. Its contributions to the state in the form of taxes are very significant.

Legislator Roy Suryo of the ruling Democratic Party (PD) and a member of the House of Representatives (DPR)`s Commission I on information has also called on the government, particularly the Ministry of State Enterprises (SOE) to take a step with regard to the bankruptcy verdict.

He supported his colleague Maruarar Sirait, who called on SOE Minister Dahlan Iskan to help PT Telkomsel.

Minister Dahlan Iskan said last week that he supported PT Telkom`s efforts to help settle the bankruptcy problem facing one of its subsidiaries.

"State-owned Telkom can appeal to the higher court. Telkom is a big company which has qualified lawyers who are capable of settling its legal problems," Minister Iskan said.

He said that he had previously been informed of the case by the members of the board of directors.

"I have been informed of the matter but because this is a matter of corporation, I do not want to interfere and it should be overcome through legal corporate means," Iskan added.

Dahlan said further that he had asked for the reason of the management of Telkomsel to terminate the contract.

"They (members of the board of directors) said the contract clearly disadvantaged Telkomsel, so was decided to be terminated," the minister said.

He added that in the future, all contracts which are disadvantageous, not only to Telkomsel but also to other state-owned companies, must be terminated.

"We cannot tolerate problematic contracts. Disadvantageous contracts hamper the development of state-owned companies," he added.

Reporter: by Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012