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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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June 28, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› Shootings & Violence Against Civilians
Associated Press - June 28, 1999

Jakarta – Two school teachers were found dead in northwestern Indonesia after being led away by unidentified gunmen that police suspect are separatist rebels, a report said Monday.

The victims, Ubit Pakek, 58, and Tgk. Hasballah, 54, were teachers in separate primary schools in Pidie regency, the official Antara news agency said.

News ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
Mercury News (California) - June 28, 1999

Mark McDonald, Jinjiem – The soldiers came for Mira Rasyid on a warm March evening and hauled her off to an interrogation center built into a thick grove of bamboo. Throughout that night in 1998, and every night for the next five months, she says, they tortured and raped her.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Corruption & Abuse of Power
New York Times - June 28, 1999

Seth Mydans, Jakarta – It was not a threat, said Wardah Hafidz, one of Indonesia's toughest social activists; it was a simple statement of the country's new balance of power.

"You can meet with 40 of us in your office," she told officials of a government agency she was publicly accusing of misuse of funds, "or you can have 4,000 of us in the street outside."

June 27, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Armed Forces & Military Operations
South China Morning Post - June 27, 1999

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Set back from a junction of tree-lined avenues in the West Java capital of Bandung stands a white Dutch-era mansion. It is the headquarters of Kodam III – the Siliwangi provincial Military Command.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Jakarta Post - June 27, 1999

Jakarta – Abdurrahman Wahid, Amien Rais, Nur Mahmudi Ismail and Hamzah Haz agreed on Saturday that Islam bars women from becoming heads of state, delivering the heaviest blow yet to Megawati Soekarnoputri's presidential bid.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Literature & The Arts
Straits Times - June 27, 1999

With The Mute's Soliloquy, an account of suffering under Suharto's oppression, Pramoedya Ananta Toer has been hailed as Indonesia's Solzhenitsyn. Zuraidah Ibrahim reports

The Soviet Union under Stalin had its gulags. Closer home, Indonesia under Mr Suharto had its string of penal colony islands.

June 26, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Agence France Presse - June 26, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Unidentified men shot dead two soldiers in two separate attacks in the troubled Indonesian province of Aceh, reports said here Saturday.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Le Monde Diplomatique - Posted June 26, 1999

Jean Pierre Catry – UN Secy Gen Kofi Annan and the Portuguese government have done all they can to facilitate the referendum that will decide the future of East Timor on 8 August. Mr Annan will decide if the referendum can go ahead on schedule or must be delayed.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - June 26, 1999

Jakarta – Exiled East Timorese activist and Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta returned to Indonesia after 23 years Saturday, saying he would travel to his homeland even if could not campaign there for independence.

June 25, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Indonesian Observer - June 25, 1999

Jakarta – Defense Minister/Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander General Wiranto yesterday warned political parties against mobilizing the masses or conducting shows of force as the campaign period is long over.

June 24, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Far Eastern Economic Review - June 24, 1999

Dan Murphy – Ask the average Indonesian who he'd like as his next president and he'll tell you Megawati Sukarnoputri. Ask him why, and he'll cite her pedigree as daughter of Sukarno – father of the nation and champion of the poor. Now, ask what her policies are. "She's for the little people," says Nahuruddin, a street-side food vendor in central Jakarta.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - June 24, 1999

Dili – The UN Mission in East Timor said Thursday it is checking reports of false identity cards being issued to people not qualified to vote in the territory's ballot on self determination.

June 23, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - June 23, 1999

Jakarta – A human rights group said on Tuesday the military released misleading information about recent unrest in Aceh, including that separatists terrorized residents into fleeing their homes.

News ›› East Timor ›› Foreign Affairs & Trade
Sydney Morning Herald - June 23, 1999

Mark Dodd, Dili – Relations between the United Nations mission in East Timor (Unamet) and Indonesian Government representatives in the territory have plummeted, with the UN branding claims that its personnel ransacked villagers' homes "nonsense and lies".

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Agence France Presse - June 23, 1999

Jakarta – Calls were made Wednesday for two members of Indonesia's Election Commission (KPU) to stand down because of statements they made on small political parties.

Most of the 53 members of the commission walked out of a plenary session demanding Adnan Buyung Nasution, the KPU deputy chairman, and commission member Andi Malarangeng, be dismissed, witnesses said.

News ›› Aceh ›› Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Associated Press - June 23, 1999

Lhokseumawe – Thousands of people have fled their homes and taken refuge in and around US oil company Mobil Corp. (MOB) complex in troubled Aceh province after soldiers were deployed in their villages, officials and witnesses said Wednesday.

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Christian Science Monitor - June 23, 1999

Nicole Gaouette, Banda Aceh – Ayub Abas calls his work a legacy. "Our parents fought for freedom against Dutch colonizers," he says, stocky in crisp fatigues, an AK-47 slung over his shoulder. "This is the same struggle, just a different enemy."

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - June 23, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said Wednesday he did not believe it was necessary for the United Nations to delay a self-determination plebiscite in East Timor for two weeks.

Alatas said he was awaiting an official announcement of the postponement from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan but that if it was true, the reasons should be clearly spelled out.

June 22, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Agence France Presse - June 22, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian Home Affairs Minister Syarwan Hamid Tuesday proposed an alliance between incumbent President B.J. Habibie and Megawati Sukarnoputri, the opposition presidential frontrunner from the June 7 elections.

"They can form a positive synergy to bear the heavy burdens of this country," Hamid said, adding that a combined force was "worth much consideration."

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
New York Times - June 22, 1999

Seth Mydans, Jakarta – Indonesians have remained remarkably patient as they wait out the slow, confused counting of the parliamentary votes they cast two weeks ago. But it seems that whatever the outcome, the will of the people may in large part be denied.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Indonesian Observer/Reuters - June 22, 1999

Sidoarjo – About 2,000 workers of the nation's largest clove cigarette maker PT Gudang Garam, backed by hundreds of student activists, protested in East Java yesterday to demand higher wages.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Agence France Presse - June 22, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesian police Tuesday arrested about 100 students protestors calling for fresh elections and the scrapping of the military's political role, a witness said.

Police rounded up members of the Student and People's Committee for Democracy before they reached the national Elections Committee (KPU) building in Central Jakarta.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Freedom of Speech & Expression
Indonesian Observer - June 22, 1999

Jakarta – A group of students arrested for staging a "happening art performance" against ex-president Soeharto in South Jakarta last week, yesterday made a mockery out of their trial, by wearing Soeharto masks and cracking jokes throughout proceedings.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Strafor Global Intelligence Update - June 22, 1999

Despite international expectations and preparations for chaos to break out in Indonesia during the election period, instead there has been relative calm. Many Asian nations had prepared contingency plans to extract expatriates from Indonesia and to prepare for waves of immigrants fleeing the country, and had warned against unnecessary visits to Indonesia during the election period.

June 21, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Agence France Presse - June 21, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's election commission Monday postponed the start of the national count of the results of landmark elections, because the tallies in many provinces were either disputed or incomplete.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Agence France Presse - June 21, 1999

Jakarta – Up to eight people may have been killed and dozens others injured in fresh violence in the southeast of the troubled Indonesian province of Maluku, a report said Monday.

News ›› East Timor ›› UN Peacekeeping & Support Mission
Agence France Presse - June 21, 1999

Dili – A pro-Indonesia group in East Timor Monday called on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to replace the UN mission spokesman in East Timor, accusing him of favoring the pro-independence camp.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Amnesty International - June 21, 1999

With just seven weeks to go before the UN conducts a ballot on East Timor's future, an atmosphere of fear and insecurity persists in the disputed territory, Amnesty International delegates returning from a research visit said today at the launch of a major report.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Jakarta Post - June 21, 1999

Jakarta – The National Elections Committee (PPI) has pledged to investigate the incidence of invalid ballots, which reached 2.7 million as of late Friday. Committee deputy chairman Hasbalah M. Saad said on Saturday it would establish whether the ballots were found before or after the June 7 polls.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social Security & Welfare
Jakarta Post - June 21, 1999

Jakarta – The number of city residents purchasing rice via the city-run inexpensive rice program increased by nearly 70 percent to 118,417 families in May from 69,998 families in March, a city official said on Saturday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Indonesian Observer - June 21, 1999

Jakarta – Hundreds of workers at an underwear factory in Depok who have been on strike since last Tuesday, are receiving plenty of support from locals in the area.

The striking workers have been living at the compound of the factory owned by PT Arista Latinindo Industrial since June 15, demanding that nine people recently sacked by the company be rehired.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Jakarta Post - June 21, 1999

Tangerang – Youths chased and forcibly dispersed labor activists grouped in the National Front of the Indonesian Labor Struggle (FNPBI) during a protest outside Tangerang's Women Penitentiary here on Sunday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Prisoners & Wrongful Imprisonment
Indonesian Observer - June 21, 1999

Jakarta – The government yesterday released several members of the long defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) from Tangerang Women's Penitentiary, prompting a group of youths to stage a protest.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - June 21, 1999

Dili – The UN mission in East Timor (UNAMET) has opened four voter registration centres for the UN-monitored vote on the future of the territory and four more will be opened by the end of the week, a spokesman said Monday.

June 20, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Associated Press - June 20, 1999

Tangerang – Police Sunday arrested about 100 protesters calling for the release of Indonesia's lone female political prisoner after they clashed with another group.

Workers and students gathered outside the Tangerang Women's Prison west of Jakarta demanding that Dita Indah Sari, a labor activist arrested for subversion after organizing a major protest in 1997, be freed.

June 19, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Sydney Morning Herald - June 19, 1999

Mark Dodd, Dili – The United Nation's senior official in East Timor has issued a bleak assessment of human rights in the territory, days after UN officials saw Indonesian soldiers directing pro-Jakarta militiamen as they burnt houses and beat up an old man.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Jakarta Post - June 19, 1999

Jakarta – Riot police dispersed a student street rally at the Semanggi cloverleaf in the heart of the capital on Friday morning, arresting 32 protesters, mostly female students.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
The Australian - June 19, 1999

Peter Alford – Driving towards a hostage handover in the north-west of East Timor on Tuesday morning, a group of UN officials surprised a militia group in the act of terrorising Leotela village. It was hard to miss.

June 18, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Agence France Presse - June 18, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – A students' poll watchdog has said its network of 105,000 observers had found Indonesia's June 7 elections to be free and fair despite instances of irregularities in several areas,

News ›› Indonesia ›› Corruption & Abuse of Power
Agence France Presse - June 18, 1999

Jakarta – President B.J. Habibie on Friday appointed a caretaker attorney general in place of Andi Ghalib who is under an investigation for bribe-taking, the state Antara news agency said.

Deputy attorney general Ismudjoko was named interim attorney general through a presidential decree conveyed by Justice Minister Muladi to the attorney general's office, Antara said.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - June 18, 1999

Dili – The UN mission in East Timor said Friday it has seen Indonesian military-backed militia burning houses and intimidating people, posing a "serious obstacle" to a vote on the territory's future.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Sydney Morning Herald - June 18, 1999

Mark Dodd, Dili – The United Nations chief in East Timor, Mr Ian Martin, has personally investigated reports of villagers being abducted by pro-Jakarta militias in East Timor's violence-prone western district.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
CNRT press release - June 18, 1999

Salemba – Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, President of the CNRT, participated in the three-day meeting of the Peace and Stability Commission (PSC) that was concluded in Jakarta today. The following points were adopted during the PSC meetings:

June 17, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Business Times (Singapore) - June 17, 1999

Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) and the ruling Golkar will be locked in a dead heat in terms of seats won by them and their likely coalition partners, a BT projection of the final seat tallies in the just-concluded Indonesian elections shows.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Far Eastern Economic Review - June 17, 1999

Margot Cohen in Medan, North Sumatra and Tangerang – Nearly four dozen soldiers patrol the 142 factories inside the Medan Industrial Park, on guard against any election-related violence. But that's not enough to soothe the nerves of the park's director, Papo Hermawan.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
The Nation (Bangkok) - June 17, 1999

Jakarta – In a move likely to infuriate right-wing groups, Indonesian Muslim leader Amien Rais openly threw his support behind Megawati Sukarnoputri to become Indonesia's next president.

Amien reiterated his stance at a packed press conference yesterday in Jakarta, saying that the Koran does not have any verse that discriminates women from men.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Indonesian-Australian Business Council Newsletter - June 17, 1999

Kevin O'Rourke – The absence of violence on the June 7th – and in the three-week campaign period leading up to it – has been viewed as a major positive signal for the country's outlook. The stock market has rallied, the currency has soared, and interest rates have plummeted.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Jakarta Post - June 17, 1999

Jakarta – City police apprehended over 500 people, most of whom claimed to be workers of the publicly listed candy and biscuit producer PT Mayora Indah, along with at least four NGO activists during a protest early Wednesday morning. Staged in front of the Capital Market Supervisory Agency (Bapepam) office in Central Jakarta, the activists were forced into police trucks.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Armed Forces & Military Operations
Far Eastern Economic Review - June 17, 1999

John McBeth, Jakarta – When Indonesia's top generals gathered at the Command and Staff College in Bandung in September 1998 to consider the future of the armed forces, they were finally forced to admit that under former President Suharto's New Order regime, the military had stretched dwifungsi – its "dual function" roles of a political as well as security force – far beyond what was

June 16, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Wall Street Journal - June 16, 1999 (abridged)

Richard Borsuk, Jakarta – A top aide to Megawati Sukarnoputri, saying it is currently impossible to use a fixed rupiah exchange rate, reaffirmed that an Indonesian government led by her would stick to the International Monetary Fund's rescue program.