|Leader of Golkar|
|Succeeded by||Jusuf Kalla|
|People's Representative Council Speaker|
|Succeeded by||Agung Laksono|
14 August 1945 |
Sibolga, North Sumatra
|Political party||Golongan Karya|
Akbar Tandjung (born Sibolga, North Sumatra; 14 August 1945) is an Indonesian politician who is a former chairman of Golkar Party. He served as a minister under former presidents Suharto and B.J. Habibie. He was Speaker of the People's Representative Council (DPR) from 1999 to 2004. In 2002 he was convicted of corruption over the embezzlement of funds intended for food relief for the poor, but the conviction was overturned on appeal in 2004.
Early life and education
Djandji Akbar Zahiruddin Tandjung was born 14 August 1945 in Sibolga during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies. The son of Zahiruddin Tandjung and Siti Kasmijah, he is a Muslim Batak by ethnicity. He is the 13th of 16 siblings, four of whom died before adulthood.
He attended the Muhammadiyah People's School in Sorkam, Central Tapanuli, North Sumatra province. He also attended Nasrani Elementary School in Medan, North Sumatra. In Jakarta, he attended Cikini Junior High School and then Kanisius High School, graduating in 1964.
He studied at the University of Indonesia, where he was active in student movements and served as president of the Faculty of Technology. From 1972 to 1974, he was president of the influential Indonesian Muslim Students Association (HMI). He also joined the Indonesian National Youth Committee (KNPI), which is affiliated to Golkar.
In 1976, then-Golkar leader Amir Murtono invited Akbar to stand for election for the party. In 1977, Akbar was elected to the House of Representatives, representing Golkar for East Java province. He was re-elected in 1982 and 1987. In the late 1980s, when long-serving president Suharto started to more actively seek Muslim support, Akbar became deputy secretary general of Golkar. Under Suharto, he served as State Minister for Youth Affairs and Sport from 1988 to 1993. He then served as State Minister of Housing from March 1993 to May 1998. Under Suharto's successor B.J. Habibie, he served as State Secretary from May 1998 to May 1999.
He was chairman of Golkar from 1998 to 2004, helping to rebuild the party following Suharto's 1998 resignation. At the Golkar convention in December 2004, Akbar lost the party's chairmanship to Jusuf Kalla, at that time the country's vice president.
Akbar has remained an influential figure within Golkar. Ahead of the 2014 Indonesian presidential elections, he criticized Golkar's plan to nominate then-party chairman Aburizal Bakrie for the presidency. The party ended up dropping Bakrie as its candidate and threw its weight behind Prabowo Subianto, with Akbar serving as one of his campaign advisers.
In 2017, Akbar expressed concern that Golkar could lose legislative seats in Indonesia's 2019 elections because of a negative public perception of its chairman, Setya Novanto. He said the party should make changes to improve its image.
Corruption conviction, appeal and acquittal
In September 2002, Central Jakarta District Court sentenced Akbar to three years in jail for embezzling Rp 40 billion (about $4.8 million) in state funds that were supposed to have been spent on a 1999 food program for the poor. Prosecutors had recommended a four-year jail sentence, although the maximum penalty for corruption and abuse of power is 20 years. Two other people involved in the scandal, Dadang Sukandar and Winfried Simatupang, were each sentenced to 18 months in jail. The two served their time in Jakarta's Cipinang penitentiary, but Akbar never went to jail. He remained free pending a lengthy appeal process and continued to hold his government and political jobs. In January 2003, Jakarta High Court upheld his conviction. In February 2004, a panel of five Supreme Court judges overturned Akbar's corruption conviction on the grounds he had just been following orders in 1999 from then-president B.J. Habibie. After the ruling, a dissenting judge, Abdul Rahman Saleh, said Akbar had engaged in "corrupt practice" and was guilty of "shameful conduct because he failed to show minimal appropriate efforts to protect state money”.
|Speaker of People's Representative Council
|Chairman of Golkar Party
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