Refleksi :Lumpur Lapindo sudah lama. Selama ini SBY tidak berani dan mau 
berkutik, sekarang partainya  mau gertak sambal. Gertak demikian tidak berbeda 
jauh dari tong kosong nyaring bunyinya.'s-party-threatens-use-mudflow-case.html

SBY's party threatens to use mudflow case
Ridwan Max Sijabat ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Thu, 04/01/2010 9:37 AM  
|  National 

The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has suggested 
reopening the high-profile mudflow case in East Java, which implicates a mining 
company controlled by the business group of Golkar Party leader Aburizal 

House Speaker Marzuki Alie, a contender for the Democratic Party's top post, 
stressed here  Wednesday that the spreading mud covering 100,000 cubic meters 
of land and displacing thousands of villagers, was a legal and political 

The drilling activity of Lapindo Brantas Inc. in May 2006 was followed by a 
mudflow, which continues to spread. 

However the Supreme Court last year declared the company was not guilty of the 
disaster, which has impacted on people living in the industrial area of 

Although the government earlier announced that the mudflow was a natural 
disaster, also implying that the company should not be blamed, Yudhoyono on 
Monday reminded the management of its commitment to pay compensation to the 

Disaster tour: Two women stand by the edge of the mudflow in Porong, Sidoarjo, 
in East Java, on Monday. While urging faster payment of compensation to 
thousands of displaced villagers, the President had stated that the area, if 
managed well, could be developed into a study site for geological and fishery 
issues. Some experts say the mudflow could continue for decades. Antara/Eric 

The statement came in the wake of  reported weakening signs of his coalition, 
which includes the Golkar Party. 

"The Lapindo mudflow case has been dormant," said Marzuki. 

"But it may explode again into a national issue with political implications on 
the 2014 presidential election. It involves a major mining corporation 
belonging to a powerful tycoon and politician."

At the time of the mud eruption, which experts said could continue for dozens 
of years, Aburizal was the coordinating public welfare minister.

"Our party's agenda includes raising this issue in the immediate future," 
Marzuki said, because the mudflow near the country's second largest city, 
Surabaya, "has been handled less professionally," he said.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, he said, his party would ask the police and 
the Attorney General's Office to reopen the case, given the party's suspicions 
of judicial corruption in the handling of the case. 

The verdict was controversial amid differing views among experts, with some 
saying it was the 2006 earthquake of Yogyakarta and Central Java, not the 
drilling, that had triggered the mudflow.

Others said the distance of the earthquake's epicenter was too far from the 
drilling site to state that the earthquake was mainly responsible for the 
mudflow, which disrupted traffic routes.

Marzuki made the statement following Yudhoyono's visit to the disaster area, 
but he denied that his party's proposition was part of a political retaliation 
against Golkar. 

Along with the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Golkar has been considered to 
have betrayed the government coalition at the House, a partnership that briefly 
claimed to comprise 75 percent of  the House's 560 seats.    

Apart from the mudflow, Democratic Party members have another source of 
ammunition; many members have raised the case of alleged tax evasion of 
Bakrie's coal companies, also in the wake of the coalition fallout.

In the uproar over the bailout of the troubled Bank Century, Golkar and the PKS 
were among the most critical of the government decision regarding the bailout, 
which cost the state Rp 6.76 trillion (US$716 million). 

Reliable sources at the Democratic Party who asked for anonymity warned 
Aburizal against contending the next presidential race, saying the alleged tax 
evasion and mudflow cases were two issues the party could politicize to block 
his presidential bid in 2014.

The mudflow issue was more or less "dormant" since the Supreme Court's verdict, 
which upheld the lower courts' verdict. 

The class action, filed several months after four villages sunk in the large 
mud pond, led by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation and the Environmental 
Forum, accused Lapindo of environmental damage and human rights violations. 

The verdicts cited human error but concluded nonetheless that Lapindo was not 
guilty, the verdict referring to inconclusive evidence given the widely 
differing views of scientists on the cause of the mudflow. 

Public opinion gradually shifted. 

The Sidoarjo regency and provincial administrations, political parties and mass 
organizations with a large base in the dense area, including the largest 
Islamic organizations,  Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, which initially had 
pointed their finger at Lapindo, seemed to accept the scientific opinion aired 
by a number of experts that the mudflow was a natural disaster. 

This implied that the government, with taxpayers' money, must take 
responsibility for the mudflow's environmental and social impacts.

Prominent lawyer Bambang Widjojanto says if the Democratic Party can secure new 
evidence it can lead the way in reopening the case. 

"The different opinion among experts on the mudflow's cause cannot be taken as 
the only reason to drop the case. 

"The police should consider the continually spreading mudflow and the 
increasing suffering of mudflow victims as strong evidence to take the case to 
court again," he said. 

While some displaced residents have received compensation, the management said 
it was still processing payment to more than 40 percent of victims. 

The displaced have said compensation is slow while the management of PT Minarak 
Lapindo Jaya, the firm responsible for the payments, have said the issue of 
proving land ownership has been among the constraints. 

Political observer J. Kristiadi of the Center for Strategic International 
Studies says the Democratic Party will immediately try to block Aburizal from 
the presidential race, armed with the tax evasion allegations and mudflow case. 

"The Democratic Party will unlikely wait until 2014 to block his bid, 
Democratic Party politicians will likely begin doing it now," he said.

However, he added, the political fallout would unlikely affect personal ties 
between Yudhoyono and Aburizal, at least in public. 

Yudhoyono would likely attend the wedding ceremony scheduled Thursday of 
Aburizal's son Ardie Bakrie and actress Nia Ramadhani, Kristiadi said, to show 
the public his statesmanship and impress upon the public that the political 
friction between their two political parties has not disrupted personal 

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