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President and religious leaders talk to settle tiff

Bishop sees role as watchdog over Indonesian governance

President and religious leaders talk to settle tiff
Martinus Dogma Situmorang
Criticism by religious leaders of the Indonesian government was intended to be constructive and aimed at improving the nation, a bishop said today.

Commenting on a meeting yesterday between religious leaders and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Capuchin Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang said they would continue to act as a watchdog for government performance.

“Besides criticizing, we also want to contribute to the improvement of the state and the nation,” said Bishop Situmorang of Padang, chairman of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI)

The meeting with Yudhoyono and his ministers showed “openness, appreciation and common perception,” he said.

According to the religious leaders’ statement, “violence committed in the name of religions and against media workers still occurs.”

They praised the government’s economic policy which has prompted economic growth of up to 5.8 percent, but lamented the government’s failure to promote equal welfare.

“There are still many people who suffer from malnutrition” and find it “difficult to obtain a proper health service,” they added.

The bishops said the government failed to pay serious attention to victims of human rights violations. “The government is not able or willing to defend so many migrant workers facing mistreatment. It means the government does not protect its nation,” they commented.

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