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Yudhoyono plays down ‘fairy tale’ coup threat
The Jakarta Post
The government is shrugging off reports that retired generals are using Islamic hard-line groups to overthrow President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said the threats came from only a handful of groups in the large, democratic country.
“We see no serious threat indicating it as treason,” Julian told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Su-yanto said the government was not troubled by the report.
“Who [does the report] annoy? I’m certainly not bothered,” he said, adding that there was no need to overreact in response to the issue.
In a recent report, Al Jazeera said “senior retired generals” have been secretly supporting hard-line groups to incite religious violence in an effort to overthrow Yudhoyono.
In the report, retired Army chief Gen. Tyasno Sudarto, a staunch government critic, talked about his support for groups that he said aimed to topple Yudhoyono in a “revolution”.
Tyasno’s name is listed as security minister in a proposed Cabinet line-up for an Islamic government. The line-up, posted online, was co-drafted by Muhammad Al Khaththath, secretary-general of the Islamic People’s Forum (FUI).
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro refused to acknowledge Al Jazeera’s report on the generals. “No, there’s no such thing. And such a thing may not happen in Indonesia,” he said, “We have tools that allow us to monitor developments in the field.”
One legislator dismissed the notion that retired generals had the ability to topple the government as a tall tale. “In this day and age, news stories saying retired officers conduct coups are fairy tales,” Lt. Gen. (ret.) Salim Mengga, a lawmaker on Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and information, said at the House of Representatives as quoted by tribunnews.com.
In her report, Al Jazeera correspondent Step Vassen quoted Chep Hernawan, leader of the Islam Reform Movement, as saying the generals had attempted to fuel backlash against the president by bringing up certain issues including corruption and the Ahmadiyah conflict.
Chep claimed on Wednesday that he would amass millions of Muslims on May 20 in a protest aimed at toppling the President. “We now have the Ahmadiyah issue, which has turned out to be well-responded to by all Muslims. We can use this to overthrow [Yudhoyono],” he said.