Indonesia's anti-monopoly campaigners have found an unexpected 'ally' - Bambang Trihatmodjo, Indonesian President Suharto's second son. One of the country's richest indigenous businessmen, Mr Trihatmodjo's ideological back-flip came in newspaper reports yesterday. The head of the Bimantara Group reportedly described a new national car programme favouring his younger brother, Hutomo 'Tommy' Mandala Putra, as 'monopolistic'. Apparently miffed by his sibling's exclusive rights to the scheme, which entitles producers to lucrative and exclusive tax and tariff breaks, Mr Trihatmodjo has decided to push for entry anyway. If past precedents are anything to go by, he will probably get his own way. According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Tunky Ariwibowo, the national car scheme, announced in late February, is designed to promote an Indonesian car industry. However, it quickly became apparent that only one producer, Timor Putra, would be eligible for the programme. That is a joint venture between two companies controlled by Mr Hutomo and a South Korean firm, Kia Motor Co. Bimantara was regarded as a hot second having recently sealed a joint venture with Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. However, Mr Ariwibowo threw cold water on that by announcing last month that only one producer would qualify at least for the first three years. What he may not have counted on is that Mr Trihatmodjo is a man used to getting what he wants. There is no way a kid brother or a lowly minister are going to stand in his way. The best recent example is the case of petrochemical giant Chandra Asri, of which Mr Trihatmodjo is one of the main backers. From the beginning the company wanted 40 per cent import tariff protection. The government promised in September last year it would not cave in to such demands but in February it imposed a 20 per cent surcharge on propylene imports. 'Chandra Asri in some ways would not have been undertaken in a purely private environment because the world is cluttered with petrochemical plants at the moment and it probably was not a terrifically good commercial risk,' the director of the World Bank's Indonesia branch, Dennis de Tray, said in an interview last month. 'But given the connections and given the people involved there was unfortunately a presumption the government would eventually step in.' With Mr Trihatmodjo's latest announcement, the pattern appears to be repeating itself. One analyst said: 'Timor and now Bimantara - they'll get the same things. Even if it's not directly supported by the Ministry of Trade, they'll do it anyway.' The real issue at stake is Indonesia's record - or increasing lack of it - for consistent policy-making. To many outsiders, the car industry is starting to look like an unruly playroom. While Bambang and Tommy fight over the matchbox cars, the butler, Mr Ariwibowo, is bracing himself to clean up the mess.