updated 30 Dec 2011, 16:58
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Sun, Nov 27, 2011
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Palace denies wedding cost $5.7m

The wedding between the son and daughter of Indonesia's two powerful families has been in the spotlight for the last couple of days.

The groom is Mr Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, youngest son of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the bride is Miss Siti Ruby Aliya Rajasa, daughter of Mr Hatta Rajasa, Coordinating Minister for Economy and National Mandate Party, or PAN.

Indonesian tabloid Cek dan Ricek ran a cover story that the wedding cost a staggering 40 billion rupiah (S$5.7 million). But the newspaper did not say how the amount had come about.

The Indonesian state palace quickly denied the report, Jakarta Globe reported.

"That is completely untrue," presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said.

"All of the (wedding) committee members are confused about how (the tabloid) came out with the figure."

But the spokesman refused to say how much the wedding cost, saying only that it "doesn't come close to that amount".

Mr Julian told the Jakarta Globe that both families helped finance the wedding, the ceremony of which was held yesterday at the Cipanas presidential palace in West Java. The ceremonies lasted three days.

The reception is scheduled for Sunday evening at the Jakarta Convention Centre.

Mr Julian said details of the wedding's expenses will be submitted to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for further scrutiny.

He added that no state funds had been used for the wedding, which will host more than 3,500 guests. The President, the spokesman said, had instructed the wedding organiser to compile a report on the wedding, which would be for the KPK's eyes only.


"This is a form of our accountability," he said.

Outside the palace, Cipanas residents observed the elaborate wedding on a giant screen erected especially for the occasion.

A number of schools in the area had shut, with children joining the crowd watching the big screen. The crowd began gathering outside the palace at 8am, two hours before the ceremony.

West Java Police traffic director Senior Comissioner Bimo Anggoro Seno said that about 800 officers were deployed near the palace to ease the flow of traffic for guests and dignitaries.

The wedding, announced in April, has been blasted by critics as a ploy to strengthen ties between Mr Yudhoyono's ruling Democratic Party and the PAN ahead of the 2014 legislative and presidential elections, Indonesian news agency Antara reported.

It also came just as the PAN announced it would name Mr Hatta as its presidential candidate.

With Mr Yudhoyono blocked by term limits for running for office again, the Democrats have no prominent figurehead to endorse come 2014, leaving open the question of whether they will give their backing to Mr Hatta.

But Mr Yudhoyono said the marriage was not intended at creating a "love coalition" between the two parties.

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