President Yudhoyono not wrong: Marzuki Alie

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A ruling party figure defended President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyonos meeting with party cadres in Bali on Sunday saying that there was nothing wrong with it.

Marzuki Alie, the deputy chairman of the ruling Democrat Partys Supreme Council, stated here on Monday, "President SBY came late in the afternoon because he was scheduled to open a national meeting of Gapensi (the Association of Indonesian National Construction Contractors). So, he used night hours and that, I think, is not wrong."

Marzuki Alie, also house speaker, pointed out that it was natural for the President, as the general chairman of the party, to meet with his cadres with regard to the legislative elections on April 9.

President Yudhoyono has received criticism following his meeting with Democrat Party cadres in Bali on Sunday, while people in several regions in the country were facing problems to natural disasters such as floods in Jakarta and Manado and Mount Sinabung eruptions in North Sumatra.

Marzuki pointed out that the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) as well as Regional Disaster Mitigation Agencies (BPBD) have been set up to handle natural disasters.

"So, as long as the disasters are still categorized as local and not national, the system that works is also local," he emphasized.

He reiterated that the President did not place party interests above national interests.

President Yudhoyono met with 4,500 cadres from Bali and East Nusa Tenggara provinces in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Sunday, in which he gave directives with regard to meeting the next legislative elections on April 9.

A number of party figures currently in his cabinet also attended the meeting, such as energy minister Jero Wacik, minister of cooperatives, small and medium businesses Sjarif Hasan and law minister Amir Syamsuddin in addition to other party executives including Marzuki Alie. ***1***

Reporting by Anita Permata Dewi