Former chief justice calls to end political oligarchy

Cirebon, West Java (ANTARA News) - Former constitutional court chief justice Mahfud MD has called on the people to put an end to political oligarchy, which has so far dominated governance and is not good for a democracy.

"Oligarchy begets transactions and transactions beget oligarchy," he noted at a seminar "Straightening Out Law Enforcement Reform in Indonesia under Political Constellation" at the state Syeh Nurjati Islamic Institute here on Tuesday.

He explained that political oligarchy is a political system under which important decisions are taken only by a group of political party leaders.

For this reason, he claimed that the position of a party leader has always been hotly pursued by many people, and many of them have even resorted to bribing in order to achieve it.

Mahfud added that almost no political party in the country has managed to truly represent the aspirations of the people so far.

He emphasized that several political parties have been held hostage by money politics, and therefore, in order to be able to win posts, legislative candidates need financial backing from certain quarters. Later, when they get elected, these politicians resort to corruption in order to return the money they had received from the quarters.

In view of that, Mahfud called on the people to not vote for leaders who have been held hostage by political oligarchy or political transactions in the upcoming general elections.

"This has to be stopped and this is a challenge for all of us for improving national politics," he added.

Indonesia will hold general elections on April 9, this year, to elect the district, city, provincial, and national legislative members, and later, a president to replace the current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who will end his second term this year.

Mahfud remarked that political oligarchy has crippled development in the field of law in terms of legal substance (legislation) and legal structure (law enforcement apparatus).

He claimed that currently, the law enforcement in the country is a matter of grave concern as the court, which is supposed to be the institution where people can expect justice, has been marred by corruption committed by the law enforcers themselves. In this context, he cited the example of the recent arrest of former constitutional court chief justice Akil Mochtar on graft charges linked to the election disputes.

"This has only happened in Indonesia. It has never happened abroad. This has happened because of political oligarchy," he stated.

He strongly believes that this grim situation can be changed only by changing the political system, and the best way to achieve this goal is by entering politics.

Entering politics does not mean that one has to affiliate oneself with a political party, but that individual should strive to get a strategic position in order to be able to improve the current system, he explained.

"One cannot change the country for the welfare of the people unless one has a political position, and therefore, involvement in politics is a must," he emphasized.

Mahfud has already expressed his wish to run for presidency in the upcoming election this year.

Reporting by Anita Permata Dewi