'3,000% True' That SBY Knows Me, Lobbyist Says
A lobbyist known as Bunda Putri, reported to have the ear of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has expressed her regrets that the president has denied knowing her, a source said.
"She was disheartened with the president's statement that it's a 1,000 percent or 2,000 percent lie that he knows her. She said it is 3,000 percent true that the president knows her," a source told Sindo Weekly.
The source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, was referring to a statement made by Yudhoyono that he did not know the individual know as the "Queen Lobbyist."
The mysterious individual is allegedly at the center of a beef import scandal and has been the subject of fevered speculation in recent weeks, following claims by senior officials from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) that she was close to the First Family and was even privy to the president's decisions on reshuffling the cabinet.
In his testimony at his corruption trial on Oct. 10, former PKS president Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq claimed that Bunda Putri was close to Yudhoyono and frequently provided accurate inside information about developments in the cabinet.
The allegations prompted an uncharacteristic outburst from Yudhoyono earlier this month, in which he categorically denied knowing Bunda Putri or that she influenced the appointment of ministers or cabinet decisions.
"1,000 percent Luthfi has lied," Yudhoyono told reporters at Halim Perdanakusuma air base on Oct. 11, a day after Luthfi's statement.
"And it's a 2,000 percent lie [that Bunda Putri influenced cabinet decisions]," he added.
The president said that although he rarely commented on ongoing corruption cases, he felt compelled to break his silence to clarify his alleged relationship with the mystery figure.
The source claimed that Bunda Putri was also familiar with Hatta Rajasa, the coordinating minister for the economy, while she was working as the spokeswoman for the Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas from 2008 to 2010.
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