As he gains support, Anas begins his attacks on the Cikeas family. Some HMI alumni turn their backs on him.
After interviewing Anas Urbaningrum twice, TV One presenter Dwi Anggia noticed two important items at the venue of the interviews; the sarong worn by Anas and a painting by the late Kiai Ali Maksum, leader of the Krapyak Islamic boarding school in Yogyakarta, from 1946 to 1989. "These two possessions have to be there, always," said Dwi Anggia who interviewed Anas before and after his resignation as Democrat Party chairman.
Kiai Ali Maksum is the grandfather of Atthiyah Laila, Anas' wife. He is known to be a spiritual leader to several Nahdlatul Ulama (NU, the biggest Islamic organization in Indonesia) figures such as Abdurrahman Wahid, Chalil Bisri and also Musthofa Bisri. After becoming Rais Aam (chairman) of the NU's Executive Board for the 1980-1984 period, Kiai Ali Maksum passed away in 1989. Maksum's painting was also displayed when Anas was interviewed by RCTI and Metro TV recently. Those close to Anas, who is also the former chairman of Muslim Students Association (HMI) Executive Board, said that it was meant to show 'who Anas is and where he came from'.
While he alternated between TV interviews on Wednesday and Thursday last week, Anas coolly launched his attacks. Named by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) as a suspect in the infamous Hambalang graft case, he described himself as a victim of politics. In his resignation statement, he said that from the beginning, some people disapproved of his presence in the Democrat Party. "I'm an unwanted child," he bemoaned.
Since he joined the Democrat Party in July 2005, after resigning from the General Elections Committee (KPU), Anas's career had been relatively smooth. After holding the position of head of the political division, the man born on July 15, 1969, in Blitar, East Java, was elected to the House of Representatives (DPR) in 2009 and was quickly appointed chairman of the Democrat faction. His main job then was to block the Bank Century inquiry spearheaded by the Golkar Party. He accomplished this task.
Yudhoyono then planned to have Anas and Andi Mallarangeng lead the Democrat Party. However, at the May 2010 Bandung Congress, Anas chose to run against Andi, the candidate supported by Yudhoyono, for the position of party chairman. Backed by the blessing of Sunarti Sri Haidyah, Yudhoyono's mother-in-law, Anas felt confident. He eventually won the election, beating Andi and Marzuki Alie.
Amid the euphoria over Anas's victory, Yudhoyono received an unsavory report of money that was flushed in to ensure the victory of the new chairman. According to a politician inside the party, Yudhoyono summoned Anas that same night. However, the new chairman refuted that allegation. Later, when the graft scandal that dragged down Muhammad Nazaruddin, the treasurer appointed by Anas, exploded, the allegation grew stronger, especially after Anas and Nazaruddin turned against each other.
As soon as his indictment was made public, Anas gathered his family on the second floor of his home in Duren Sawit, East Jakarta. They came downstairs when guests began streaming in. Anas made his decision to resign after listening to the views of his closest friends, among them Saan Mustopa.
In the afternoon, two weeks ago, after announcing his decision to resign, Anas took off his blue Democrat Party jacket. He did not bid the executives farewell, nor did he send an official resignation letter to the DPD or the Upper Chamber. Saan, the Party's deputy secretary-general who accompanied Anas at that time, said "the public announcement already represents all." An official letter was thus deemed unnecessary.
Anas' supporters followed his move. Tridianto, chairman of the Democrat Party's Cilacap branch and Muhammad Rahmat, the party deputy executive director, stepped down. "This is a personal political stance. My political mentor is out, so why should I still be in the party?" Rahmat said.
In his speech, Anas said his status as a suspect was not "the end of everything." "This is just the first page. There will be many other pages we will open together," he said. Dignitaries from other political parties came to pay their respects at Anas's house. His close allies, who are often at odds with Yudhoyono, are also rallying support and inviting several public figures to his house.
The activities in Duren Sawit bothered Yudhoyono. Last Tuesday, he invited the chairman of NU's executive board, Said Agil Siradji, to the Bogor presidential palace. A source within Yudhoyono's circle said that the President felt that several members of HMI's alumni (KAHMI) and NU activists were using Anas's case to attack him. "Pak SBY expressed concern because HMI and NU's networks are quite extensive," he explained.
Said Agil declined to elaborate on the details of the meeting. He said the President only asked him to 'secure' the large NU family so as not to be lured into a heated political situation. "I take responsibility in ensuring that the NU members will not be influenced," he said. "Legally, I support the KPK that works professionally and independently."
According to Mahfud Md., chairman of the KAHMI presidium, Yudhoyono's concerns are baseless. KAHMI's visits, including his, were only to maintain good relations and to show empathy. "If he is proven guilty then I will say he's guilty. I will help the KPK if he is indeed guilty."
Initially, there were many KAHMI activists backing Anas. Mahfud said they withdrew their support after a meeting at Akbar Tandjung's residence two weeks ago. The meeting attendees decided that Anas's case did not concern KAHMI. Mahfud said, "That is Anas's personal problem with the Democrat Party, and SBY within the Democrat Party." The meeting was attended by several politicians, among others, Fuad Bawazier, Taufiq Hidayat and Bambang Soesatyo.
Akbar Tanjung recounted that after Mahfud read legal facts regarding Anas's case, the attendees promptly pulled back. "This is dangerous," Akbar quoted. It was finally decided that support for Anas would be left to the discretion of individuals and individual parties. "We fear he would turn out guilty after we defend him all out. It would be grave, wouldn't it?" he said.
However, the tensions between Anas and Cikeas (the President's residence) could no longer be concealed. Anas finally challenged Cikeas outright. He launched his subtle attacks during a series of interview broadcasts with several national television stations. "This is only the first page, two paragraphs," he quipped.
Anas mentioned, among other things, his unhealthy relations with Yudhoyono, the Party's Advisory Council chairman. He also made a vague accusation that Secretary General Edhie 'Ibas' Baskoro (Yudhoyono's son) may have accepted money from Nazaruddin, adding that Secretary of the Ethics Council, Amir Syamsuddin once interrogated Nazaruddin.
This statement offended Yudhoyono. On Saturday two weeks ago, he was unconcerned by Anas's tune of "this is just the first page." However, once Anas began mentioning his family in interviews, Yudhoyono began to waver. Anas claimed he found out about Nazar's confession after the latter was interrogated by the Ethics Council in 2011.
In a meeting at Cikeas last Wednesday, Yudhoyono lamented Anas's maneuver. "It is unhealthy when he starts mentioning family members," an attendee quoted him as saying. At the same time, the 'leaked documents' regarding the fund flow from Nazaruddin's company were also distributed. Mentioned in the two dated documents was Ibas's name. Ibas has always denied having accepted money from Nazaruddin. "The accusation is untrue and groundless. This is like a broken record, but I am 1,000 percent sure that I did not accept money in the case," Ibas reiterated.
Mahfud was uncertain whether Anas's maneuver will lead to serious consequences. "No matter what, Anas is part of the page he himself will open," he said. He suggested Anas provide legal proof to avoid political unrest.
By Widiarsi Agustina, Anton Septian,Aryani Kristanti, Rasdianah
No. 13/28, March 10, 2013