House Establishes Synergy with Campus in Parliamentary Diplomacy Dissemination
Vice Chairperson of the House Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Achmad Hafisz Tohir speaks at podium during BKSAP Day in Solo, Central Java, Thursday (8/4/2021). Photo: Oji / Man
Dating back to 1998, a year in which a reform has become an historic moment for Indonesia, campus and university students are deemed the forerunners of the birth of democracy in Indonesia. Vice Chairperson of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP) Achmad Hafisz Tohir said that campus is chosen as the media for information dissemination on parliamentary diplomacy as university students are prime agent of change in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
"We decide to choose campus considering university students are the forerunners of democracy in our country. Without the students' struggle in fighting for democracy, we will not have been able to witness a reform which marks an important step in the history of democracy in Indonesia." Tohir stated in a press statement after chairing a BKSAP Day meeting with academics and students of Sebelas Maret University (UNS) in Solo, Central Java, on Thursday (8/4/2021).
BKSAP Day is a forum initiated by BKSAP of the House of Representatives to disseminate information on the House’s roles in foreign diplomacy to campuses. Students can obtain information that many people are not aware of. Many still have the perception that the House’s functions are legislation, oversight and budgeting, whereas there is a diplomacy function that the House performs, namely diplomacy function.
According to Tohir, students' ideas are real and free from political intrigues. The meeting is a good momentum for the BKSAP to share information on the tasks and responsibilities of Indonesian House of Representatives to the students and academics.
As regards the conventional functions of the House, he continued by explaining that for decades people have only been familiar with budgeting, legislation, and oversight functions. "There is one more function that is rarely known to the public, namely diplomacy function. The Indonesian House actively creates world peace and maintains good relations with parliaments of friendly countries by performing free and active foreign policy. It is the second track diplomacy, whilst the Government, through its Foreign Ministry, exercises the first track diplomacy," the National Mandate Party Politician asserted.
For example, in the context of international relations prior to paying a working visit to a parliament of other countries, BKSAP always undertakes a review on a profile of a country of destination. “As we had a chance to visit Ukraine, after obtaining data on the profile of Ukraine, our country’s diplomatic, trade and political relations had so far been good. However, there was a gap on the export data. Our exports stood only at 200 million US dollars, while imports were 700 million US dollars. I raised the issue at the BKSAP internal meeting. There must be a balance between exports and imports,” Tohir said.
"Considering the close relations, we need to strike a balance between exports and imports. If we import more wheat from Ukraine, the latter must take our palm oil. I put forward that proposal when meeting the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament," the South Sumatra Legislator explained.
“We once engaged in countertrade deal when we purchased Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia which we did not fully pay in cash. We purchased Sukhoi in exchange of palm oil, coffee and other foods. Such deal illustrates steps taken for economic improvement through parliamentary diplomacy exercised by BKSAP at international level," the Member of Commission XI asserted.
UNS Rector Jamal Wiwoho expressed his gratitude to BKSAP for choosing the university as the venue for information dissemination on parliamentary diplomacy. "We are honoured to welcome BKSAP, as a focal point of parliamentary diplomacy. We are really grateful to BKSAP for choosing our university and disseminating information on parliamentary diplomacy,” he said.
The BKSAP Day, led by Vice Chairperson of BKSAP, Achmad Hafisz Tohir from National Mandate Party (F-PAN), carried a theme of "Establishing Synergy and Collaboration to Optimize the Potential of the Surakarta City, Central Java." Among the Members of Parliament who also spoke at the event were the BKSAP Chairperson, Fadli Zon from Great Indonesia Movement Party (F-GERINDRA), Vice Chairperson of BKSAP, Mardani Ali Sera from Prosperous Justice Party (F-PKS), and Members of BKSAP, R. Wulansari from Great Indonesia Movement Party (F-Gerindra), Arzeti Bilbina from National Awakening Party (F-PKB), and Hasani Bin Zuber from Democrat Party (F-Demokrat). (Oji / sf)