Indonesian President Says his Government Faces no Immediate Danger
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Sunday said that despite mounting criticism of his rule, he and his government faced no immediate political danger and called on his supporters not to resort to mobilizing masses in his defence.
"Just leave politics to me. Do not worry, I am still calm," Wahid told a meeting between Muslim leaders and police leaders in East Java in Tuban, East Java, the Satunet online news service said.
"If I can no longer stand it, then I will run to see Kyais (Traditional Javanese Muslim leaders)," Wahid said.
East Java is the stronghold of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Muslim organization, which Wahid headed until he became Indonesia's first democratically-elected president in October 1999.
NU Muslim leaders have warned that tens of thousands of NU supporters in East Java were ready to march on to Jakarta to defend Wahid against his political opponents should they mobilize masses to hold anti-Wahid protests in the capital.
Rumors spoke of plans for mass anti-Wahid protests planned in Jakarta in mid-January.
"To those people who are striving to unseat me, please go ahead, I have the courage to march foward and I have no fear," Wahid said.
On Saturday, Wahid told visiting MPs from the NU-backed National Awareness Party (PKB) faction at the East Java provincial parliament at the Merdeka Palace here, not to worry about him.
"If the conditions become worrying, I will surely start to scream first. So, as long as i am not screaming, you do not need to worry," he told MPs, according to the Suara Pembaruan evening daily.
He also said that there were four groups currently bent on ousting him from power.
He identified the groups as those with strong ambitions for power, those who are afraid of legal actions taken by the government, those who wanted to maintain the status quo, including supporters of former president Suharto and several generals, and those using religion to their own end.
Wahid, however, did not mention any names.
He also said that opposition to his government was merely the work of only a few people.
"At the most, 16 people at the central parliament," Wahid said, again mentioning no names.
Several MPs at the 500-member lower house, the People's Representative Council (DPR), have been vociferous in their criticism of the president.
They have also spearheaded efforts of the DPR to form special commissions to investigates at least two financial scandals in which they believed Wahid was involved.
Wahid on Saturday said he was innocent in both cases.
Wahid's opponents and critics have accused the president of having failed to take the country out of its current economic and political crisis and some of the DPR legislators have been calling for a special convention of the national assembly to depose Wahid -- JAKARTA (AFP)
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