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Kamis, 04 Desember 2008

Royals to do 'good' for Yudhoyono

Desy Nurhayati , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 12/01/2008 10:36 AM | National

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has denied a a gathering held with royals and palace representatives at the State Palace on Saturday had any political motives.

The event, held for the National Royal Palace Forum (Forum Keraton Nusantara), was attended by kings and representatives from 17 palaces nationwide.

"This (gathering) is not a political forum. This is a forum for culture, heritage and civilization that shows the greatness of our nation. We should not relate this to politics," Yudhoyono said in his speech.

Forum head Ida Tjokorda Ngurah Jambe Pamecutan of Bali thanked Yudhoyono's administration for supporting the forum's establishment two years ago.

He said the country's palace community had started to become marginalized because of great improvements in the political system and democracy.

"But Bapak President has done many things for us, and we will do 'good deeds' in return," he said, without going into detail.

Support from the community will mean a lot for Yudhoyono, who will run for another term as president in the election next year.

Forum member Azwar Anas of West Sumatra denied claims that the community's "good deeds" for Yudhoyono would include voting for him in the 2009 election.

"No, it's not about politics. What we were referring to as good deeds is about participating in the development and not becoming troublemakers in this country," he added.

He said it was only during Yudhoyono's term that a ministerial decree was issued as a legal basis to establish the forum, which now has 118 members nationwide.

Anas said he personally supported Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla in their bid for a second term.

"I think if Yudhoyono and Kalla once again won the election, Indonesia would become an advanced country. They should be given a second chance for the next five years to complete their programs," he said.

The President said palaces were part of the country's diverse heritage and should be preserved.

"Palaces are part of our civilization. If we can preserve our civilization, we will be able to improve our self-reliance and competitiveness to be a developed country in the 21st century," he said.

Yudhoyono told the forum that palace communities should participate in the country's development by maintaining their culture, with support from the government.

"If the palace community can play its role, it would be a great contribution for this nation."

Among those attending the event were Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, Home Minister Mardiyanto and Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi.

King of the Yogyakarta Palace Sultan Hamengkubuwono X did not attend. The sultan -- the governor of Yogyakarta and a member of the country's largest political party, Golkar -- has announced he will run for president next year, thus becoming one of Yudhoyono's political rivals.

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