Chairman: Usman Sapta Odang. Usman
is such a colorful and allegedly crooked character that he
really deserves a separate article.Born in West Kalimantan, he dropped out of his Catholic elementary school after the fourth grade and went on to become a successful timber tycoon, developing close ties with powerful Golkar politicians.He is the former chairman of the now-defunct Regional Representatives Faction in the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).He
was involved in an infamous brawl between legislators at the start of the November 2001 annual session of the MPR, throwing at least one good punch. In 2000 he paid an undisclosed amount of money to obtain an "honorary doctorate" from a dodgy mail-order degree university in Canada called 'Senior University'.The university is not accredited by the Indonesian National Education Ministry, which means Usman could be in violation of the new Education Law, as the legislation strictly forbids the use of such degrees (but nevermind, Vice President Hamzah Haz has never been penalized for buying an illegal doctorate).
...Usman is the former chairman of the West Kalimantan Brotherhood Forum in Jakarta (WK3 Jaya) and now serves as an executive of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI).He is also president commissioner of recently launched no-frills airline Lion Air.
In May 2003 he
and six other MPR deputy speakers came under fire for taking a trip to Europe at the expense of Indonesian taxpayers.The legislators and their families spent at least $54,000 of taxpayer's funds on the trip, which they claimed was aimed at "finding foreign investors to help the Indonesian economy recover".During their 10-day tour of London, Madrid, Paris, Rome and The Hague, the six legislators and their families stayed in top hotels, traveled in limousines and went on shopping sprees.Whether they found any investors is unclear.Furthermore, Usman
was reported to have given about $7,000 to each of his
colleagues from his
own pocket, apparently to give thanks for his
remission from cancer. During his
career as a politician, Usman
has expressed all sorts of opinions.In December 1999 he
urged the MPR to consider regional aspirations for Indonesia to adopt a federal system.