Kalla's comments 'incorrect, misleading'

S'pore responds to Indonesian V-P's remarks on extradition deal

Indonesia's Vice President Yusuf Kalla delivery a speech during the opening of the Bali Clean Energy Forum 2016, on Feb 11, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Singapore has responded to remarks by Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla on an extradition agreement between the two countries, with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman yesterday describing them as "incorrect and misleading".

Mr Kalla had told reporters in Jakarta on Friday that more fugitives could be extradited and jailed in Indonesia if Singapore was willing to sign an extradition agreement with the country, Antara state news agency reported.

It said he made the comment while referring to the case of Samadikun Hartono, who was found guilty of corruption and extradited from China on Thursday.

"If we have an extradition agreement with Singapore, then more fugitives will be arrested. But Singapore never wants to sign it," the Vice-President was quoted as saying.

Mr Kalla praised the "good cooperation" between Indonesia and China, and added that Jakarta has also signed an extradition agreement with Australia.

"We are grateful. The case of Samadikun has been ongoing for the last 13 years. But thanks to the good cooperation with China, everything has run smoothly," he said.

"But exactly with a country where the largest number of people had fled, notably Singapore, there is no agreement. Hopefully, Singapore will change its outlook and will be willing to sign an extradition (agreement)," he added.

Singapore's MFA yesterday rejected Mr Kalla's assertions.

"Vice-President Kalla's comments are incorrect and misleading," an MFA spokesman said.

The ministry clarified that Singapore and Indonesia had signed the extradition treaty and defence cooperation agreement as a package in April 2007 in Bali, witnessed by then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"In fact, the agreements were signed when Vice-President Kalla was then also the Vice-President of Indonesia," the spokesman said.

Both agreements are currently pending ratification by the Indonesian House of Representatives, the MFA noted.

"Singapore is ready to proceed with both agreements once Indonesia is ready to do so. Notwithstanding, Singapore and Indonesia continue to enjoy good bilateral cooperation in law enforcement and in dealing with criminal matters," the MFA spokesman said.

Singapore on Thursday cancelled the entry permit for 54-year-old securities tycoon Hartawan Aluwi and declared his presence in the country as "unlawful". He was a suspect, along with several others in Indonesia, in connection with a financial scandal involving the now defunct Bank Century during the 2008 global financial crisis. Hartawan is now in custody in Jakarta.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 24, 2016, with the headline Kalla's comments 'incorrect, misleading'. Subscribe