The controversy began when the government decided to bail out Bank Century with US$ 716 million in public funds. In reality, the bank rescue hides a political clash between reformers, who want to fight corruption and promote development, and parts of the opposition, tied to some powerful economic elites, who feel threatened by reforms.
The establishment of a commission of inquiry is seen by some as an attempt to discredit Vice President Boediono, a former governor of Indonesia’s central bank, and Finance Minister Indrawati, whilst undermining President Yudhoyono’s popularity
For local observers, financial tycoon and Golkar leader Aburizal Bakrie appears to be behind the political efforts to discredit the government. The Democratic Struggle Party (PDIP) of former President Megawati and Islamist Prosperous Party (PKS) are also part of the anti-government front.
In a televised address to the nation, President Yudhoyono defended Boediono and Indrawati, insisting that the bank rescue was necessary to avoid an economic disaster and panic among depositors, as occurred during the Asian financial meltdown of 1997-1998.
The president said the country was lucky to have such individuals at a time of economic crisis, because both have "spotless track records in terms of competence, credibility, and personal integrity".
Yesterday, Indrawati stated that she would cooperate with any investigation and respect the parliament’s conclusion.
Catholic leaders have also entered the fray, calling for transparency and legal action should the allegations prove correct.
Speaking to UCA News, Mgr Martinus Dogma Situmorang, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia and bishop of Panang (West Sumatra), said, “The decision to take legal action is good and has to be implemented”. The case should be “followed up immediately so that society will believe” it is being taken seriously.