Sacked police chief rejects Wahid offer


Indonesia’s sacked national police chief General Suroyo Bimantoro on Monday rejected President Abdurrahman Wahid’s offer to appoint him as ambassador to Malaysia.

However, Bimantoro said he now accepted his controversial dismissal as police chief by Wahid “as a reality,” acknowledging that the president had the authority to replace him.

“I personally and my family offer a million thanks for the respect and appreciation shown by the president … by offering me the post as ambassador to Malaysia,” Bimantoro told a press conference.

“With all due respect, we cannot yet accept (the offer) owing to limitations on our part,” he said.

Wahid responded by branding Bimantoro’s rejection of the post as “insubordination.”

However Bimantoro, who has for the past four weeks defied Wahid’s request for his resignation and his subsequent suspension, said Wahid was entitled to sack him.

“Even though in reality, according to the MPR (upper house) decree number 7/2000, my dismissal should be approved by the DPR (lower house), I realize that it is the president’s right.”

Bimantoro was suspended as police chief by Wahid on June 2, after refusing his request the day before to resign.

He said Monday he had only been refusing to submit his resignation, and was not rejecting a formal dismissal.

Wahid revealed at the police force’s 55th anniversary celebrations Sunday that he had named Bimantoro as Indonesia’s new ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, after issuing a presidential decree dated June 30 formally dismissing Bimantoro.

The near-blind Wahid is battling impeachment and the upper house is due to convene a special meeting on August 1 to demand he accounts for his rule. He will be impeached if lawmakers reject his account.

Bimantoro’s recent defiance of his suspension had the support of the country’s top police commanders, former police chiefs and MPs, who cited the MPR decree that requires parliamentary approval for the appointment or dismissal of the police chief.

Lower house speaker Akbar Tanjung accused Wahid Monday of violating procedures by formally dismissing Bimantoro without consulting the parliament.

“This in fact creates a new problem because the dismissal of the police chief violates procedure,” he was quoted as saying by the state Antara news agency, adding that the parliament would demand a more detailed explanation from Wahid.

Tanjung also challenged Wahid’s attempt to make Bimantoro an ambassador.

“His appointment must be approved by the DPR and so far we’ve received no notification,” Tanjung was broadcast as saying by Indosiar TV.

“The president is ignoring the rules of the system.”

A meeting of top brass at the national police headquarters, led by Secretary General Yun Mulyana, Monday accepted Bimantoro’s dismissal but also demanded that Wahid seek parliamentary approval.