Sunday, January 10, 2010

A bitter end for Soetrisno Bachir

He was a "star" in Indonesian politics few years ago. A chairman of National Mandate Party (PAN), he once considered "presidential hopeful", at least by himself and some people within PAN. Young and considered "rich", some observers said at least he could be VP candidate. He spent lots of money to finance PAN and his own "campaign". Ads were everywhere in town with his face (photo, courtesy of
Some said he spent about US$30 million for the ad titled "Hidup adalah Perbuatan". Soetrisno once held substantial amount of PT Bumi Resources Tbk stocks. Media reported in late 2008 that he offloaded Rp234 billion worth of stocks.
He maintained PAN as the fifth largest party in the House of Representatives (DPR), but fell short of his target: 20%. Not even half of that target is achieved. His "chance" diminished. In the run-up to the presidential election, his name started to disappear. Even as VP candidate, he is not considered a potential candidate.
Things worsened when the party has to decide which pair to support in the election. Other party figures back-stabbed him, made decisions to support SBY-Boediono. His role was quickly taken over by Hatta Rajasa and Zulkifli Hasan. It was Hatta who's considered a potential VP candidate for SBY. But SBY picked Boediono. Hatta was already happy to be SBY's right-hand man in establishing communications with other parties. SBY appointed Hatta as the chairman of national campaign team. As a reward, SBY entrusted Hatta, along with Sudi Silalahi, in the cabinet selection process. Yet another reward, SBY appointed Hatta as the coordinating minister for the economy.
It's just a matter of time that Hatta would take over PAN leadership from Soetrisno. Soetrisno quickly realized the end of his career at PAN. He was even "ignored" in the opening of the party's national leadership meeting prior to the convention to select new leaders this week in Batam Island. He arrived 30 minutes before the official opening ceremony closed. But the party's convention organizer decided to skip Soetrisno. He left the convention alone, just like when he arrived without crowds usually welcoming him in the past few years.
What a bitter end for Soetrisno. Just remember a good friend advised, "In Indonesia, you have to be prepared to be alone."
What next? Soetrisno decided to retire from politics. "Political parties are crowded with pragmatists, hedonists, and machiavellist," Soetrisno said. What do you think?
Niccolo Machiavelli said "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity, and are able to turn both to their advantage."




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