Badrul Kamal: Golkar has instructed me to fight back

BADRUL Kamal is questioning the decision of the Supreme Court (MA) which annulled his win in the West Java High Court. “Even if the judge had erred, it should not have influenced the court’s decision,” he maintained. The following are excerpts of an interview with Badrul Kamal, by Tempo reporter Abdul Manan, last Friday.Why did you fight back?

The Supreme Court’s decision clearly conflicts with Law 32 on Local Government, Supreme Court Ruling No. 2/2005 and Government Regulation No. 6/2005. All have judged it as final and binding, so that the decision of the Supreme Court panel of judges is legally flawed.

So the focus of your protest is the decision on your appeal by the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court’s decision does not refer to its own regulations and the law. All legal experts say that the decision on the case (local elections conflict in the local high court) was final and binding. This includes Supreme Court Chief Justice Bagir Manan and Constitutional Court chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie.

When the verdict of the West Java High Court was issued, he stated it was final and binding. Why the change now?

The Supreme Court said the West Java High Court had surpassed its authority…

Actually, if we look at the decisions of the high court, there should be no other legal actions taken. The local elections are lex specialis, or having special status. Criminal and civil cases can go through cassation, because that involves each person, each institution. The process could take years. But when its about the local elections, the victims would be the people. Look at Depok today, and how it continues to wait for certainty. That is why the local elections case must be settled fast, simply and lasting 14 days in the high court. Don’t let people be the victims.

How can one say the high court judge has surpassed his authority?

In its own ruling, the Supreme Court delegated its authority on conflicts involving city and district elections, to the high court.

Why is this authority suddenly being taken back?

That is acting for and on behalf of the Supreme Court itself. Even the law says it.

What if the judge is deemed to have made a mistake?

It shouldn’t affect the decision of the court.

One of the arguments that your lawyer submitted to the Constitutional Court is that legal certainty came first, then justice. What was his argument?

We also fault the law, without setting aside justice. But that would mean justice in the proportional sense, without looking at it only from one side. We should try to look at it from both sides. That was proven by the high court, that voters came in droves from Bogor district. Then, the list of voters was the one that could not be altered. Later, they staged huge demonstrations in front of the mayor’s office to change that. Is that justice?

Isn’t it the changeover of Nurmahmudi votes to you by the West Java High Court that the Supreme Court considers as surpassing its authority?

The authority of the high court is in context of the votes issue.

So, transferring the votes to you is the authority of the high court?

It is within the authority of the high court because the Depok local elections conflict is only about the votes.

Outside the realm of the law, what is being done by Golkar party?

Golkar has instructed me to fight back. It included this case on the agenda of Golkar leaders meeting last December. Lastly, all Golkar branches in West Java moved to carry out a political protest.

What else can be done by Golkar regarding this case?

To make people understand that the law cannot be stepped on. We are now undergoing reforms and trying to enforce the supremacy of the law. If the Supreme Court as protector and defender of the law in Indonesia acts this way, how would others below it behave? This is a bad precedent and could have repercussions, because 300 more local elections need to be held.

What needs to be done by the government?

To prevent a bad precedent, implement the law as it should. As an example, the conflict between Bush and Al Gore in California was settled in one week’s time. We are dragging our feet on this one.

Some people are charging that you are out to rescue your projects…

What projects? I haven’t been a mayor for a whole year. I have no reasons anymore. All the projects have long been completed and they have been looked at by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK). And clearly, there was nothing amiss.

TEMPO, JANUARY 16, 2006-019/P. 36 Heading Cover Story

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