Agung Laksono : biography
Agung Laksono (born March 23, 1949 in Semarang, Central Java) is the coordinating minister for people’s welfare in the Second United Indonesia Cabinet and a member of the Golkar Party. Previously, he was the Speaker of Indonesia People’s Representative Council (DPR) from 2004 to 2009. In December 2004, during the Golkar convention, he was also elected as vice-chairman of the party.
Laksono is a supporter of Iran’s nuclear program. He was a co-founder of Adam Air, a now defunct commercial airline, which was heavily embroiled in corruption and safety violation.http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2007/01/200852513552984925.html Adam Air was closed down after a series of accidents.
He holds a degree from the Christian University of Indonesia School of Medicine.
Laksono is known for his brash condescendence and overtly harsh remarks towards Singapore, especially with regards to the island republic’s diplomatic calls to the Indonesian government to curb the acrid trans-boundary haze that shrouds large areas of Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore annually as a result of extensive "slash and burn" cultivation in Sumatra, Kalimantan and other Indonesian territories. His remarks were often seen to be brazen, unwarranted and without sound justification, aimed at rousing nationalistic sentiments without constructively resolving the issue at hand.
In the 2013 Southeast Asian haze, PSI levels across many parts of Johor, Malacca, Selangor and Singapore reached hazardous levels as the number of hotspots in neighbouring Riau province, Sumatra, climbed to 148. Laksono lambasted Singaporeans for "behaving like a child" when the city-state stepped up pressure on the Indonesian government to take definitive action to extinguish the Sumatran forest fires and bring those responsible to justice through stricter enforcement of laws against indiscriminate burning. When a Singaporean official offered assistance to tackle the recurrent haze problem at an emergency meeting held in Jakarta, Laksono responded, "If it is only half a million, or one million dollars, we don’t need that. We would rather use our own national budget."
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned in a press conference that "It’s not fruitful to respond to such comments. It would be in the best interests of both countries to work on the problem together rather than exchanging harsh words." Lee also repeated an offer to help Indonesia.
Laksono also told reporters that "Indonesian citizens also need to be looked after" before tending to other countries’ interests, even though the world’s largest archipelago is observed to be the primary source of the annual regional smog. While playing the victim card, he squarely fended off the blame to foreign-owned companies and elements beyond his nation’s control. He argued that it was "not what Indonesians want, it’s nature", despite the fact that it is crystal-clear even in the haze that razing large areas of forested land for commercial plantations are certainly man-made events.
Laksono also reportedly remarked on more than one occassion that Indonesia’s neighbours do not appreciate the fresh air that Indonesian forests bring to them, but complained about the haze when it only happens occasionally.