Jenny Grant, Jakarta – In his state of the nation address last weekend, president suharto said the government must postpone some projects because of the devaluation of the national currency, the rupiah.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
August 21, 1997
August 20, 1997
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights intervened yesterday on behalf of 14 students detained for holding a protest on Indonesia's national day.
August 19, 1997
Four lawyers organisation, the legal aid institute, YLBHI, the Association of Indonesian Advocates AAI, the Indonesia Bar Association (Ikadin) and the Association of Legal Advisers (IPHI) have called on the leadership of Parliament to postpone discussion of the draft Police Bill.
August 17, 1997
[The following is a translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]
[The following is a slightly abridged letter from George J. Aditjondro to the Norway Rainforest Foundation in reponse to a an inquiry about Indonesian timber tycoon Mohammad ("Bob") Hasan's business connections in Norway - JB]
August 16, 1997
Jakarta – Observers criticized as inappropriate and groundless a motion to reintroduce a People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) decree that would give a president extra power.
Three leading Jakarta dailies, Republika, Suara Pembaruan and Merdeka, have been warned by Information Minister, retired General Hartono. The warnings were delivered during a meeting with editors-in-chief and the financial authorities.
Jakarta – Indonesian Justice Minister Utoyo Usman said on Saturday the government had given a three-month reduction to the jail term being served by East Timorese rebel leader Jose "Xanana" Gusmao, the Antara news agency reported.
August 15, 1997
Xanana Gusmao, the commander of the pro-independence forces, FALINTIL, who is currently serving a twenty-year prison sentence, has declared that he would prefer to remain in prison rather than be deported to any foreign country, including Portugal or Australia.
August 14, 1997
John McBeth, Jakarta – The long-awaited generational change in the Indonesian armed forces is now taking shape. But if the new wave of 1970s military-academy graduates have different views of the world than their more insular elders, that doesn't mean there will be any overnight transformation in style or substance.
August 13, 1997
Saeki Natsuko – Nike is one of the biggest sports goods manufactures in the world. Ohmae Kenichi, a well-known Japanese commentator who is an advisor to the company, described the secret of its success in production and sales activities as a marvelous combination between "core skill" and "out-sourcing".
Jakarta – Indonesia's Supreme court has said it will not review the conviction of independent labour leader Muchtar Pakpahan jailed on charges that he incited workers to strike, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Michael Perry, Sydney – South African President Nelson Mandela's mediation in East Timor could provide the "face-saving" device for Indonesian President Suharto to end the 22-year conflict, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta said on Wednesday.
August 12, 1997
Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Cafe Galeri in Jakarta's upmarket suburb of Menteng is a trendy testament to the success of Indonesia's economy. On its walls hang abstract oil paintings that sell for $4,000 each.
August 9, 1997
[The following is an abridged translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]
August 8, 1997
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Indonesia's Information Minister, Mr Raden Hartono, has denied any political motives in joining the influential Islamic group, the Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI), amid speculation that he will use it as a platform for his political ambitions.
[The following is a slightly abridged translation of a chronology sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]
August 7, 1997
Jakarta – Jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao said his release, as called for by South African President Nelson Mandela, was unimportant compared to the urgency for a settlement in East Timor, it was reported Thursday.
Jakarta – Indonesian police have suggested that local journalists receive special training and shooting lessons to help them with the accuracy of their reporting, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – A war between police and criminals is escalating in Jakarta following the killing of a mobile-brigade policeman last week.
Police and the military have launched a joint hunt for the killer of 27-year-old First Sergeant Winoto.
Richard Borsuk, Mangakajang – Plywood baron Mohamad "Bob" Hasan, longtime confidant of President Suharto, has finally fulfilled his dream of building a huge, high-tech pulp mill in the jungle. Making it profitable, however, may take many years.
Jakarta – Indonesia's independent trade union leader filed a judicial review to the Supreme Court, asking the body to review his conviction over the April 1994 Medan riots.
Appearing in court for the first time since his hospitalisation in March, Pakpahan told the East Jakarta court they had new evidence to prove that he did not incite the riots.
August 6, 1997
Jakarta – The National Commission for Human Rights promised yesterday to urge the government to form an independent medical team to seek a third opinion on labor leader Muchtar Pakpahan's health.
Michael Richardson, Singapore – Defying its human rights critics in the United States, Indonesia said Tuesday that it would buy Russian fighters and helicopters after canceling a deal for American-made F-16s because of congressional attacks on its human rights record.
Dili – Col. Suryo Prabowo, former secretary to the chief of general affairs of the Armed Forces, was installed yesterday as deputy chief of Wira Dharma Command.
Col. Suryo, who had served in East Timor as the command's chief of staff, replaced Col. Soekotjo HS, who was promoted to chief of Wira Bhakti Command, overseeing West Nusa Tenggara.
Peter Fabricius – South Africa's dramatic expulsion of Portugal's ambassador at the weekend for allegedly holding and leaking to the press a misdirected letter from President Mandela to Indonesian President Suharto has created great controversy in diplomatic circles and raised a host of unanswered questions.
Manila – Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri wants to visit the Philippines but is uncertain if the government of President Fidel Ramos will allow her in, a local newspaper reported here Wednesday.
Lisbon – Portugal has urged South Africa to resist pressure from Indonesia after Pretoria expelled the Portuguese ambassador Vasco Valente over the leaking of a misdirected note from President Nelson Mandela to his Indonesian counterpart, General Suharto.
August 5, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia has finally decided to purchase 12 Sukhoi 30K (SU-30K) jet fighters and eight multi-purpose MI-17-1V helicopters from Russia to boost the equipment of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI).
A delegation of US senators led by Craig Thomas (Dem. Wyoming) consisting of eleven people met members of the National Human Rights Commission and reached agreement to keep in close contact, so as to reach a common understanding on human rights and democracy.
Bhimanto Suwastoyo, Jakarta – Indonesia Tuesday brushed aside US criticism of its human rights record and said it would buy Russian fighter jets after cancelling an order for American aircraft.
Cape Town – South Africa, trying to unravel twin diplomatic blunders in its East Timor peace initiative, on Tuesday acknowledged a "miscommunication" over an announced visit by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Jakarta – The private secretary of one of Indonesia's founding fathers was put on trial in Jakarta Tuesday, for insulting president Suharto by printing a booklet written by his employer. Jenny Grant reports it is the latest in a string of political trials in Indonesia.
Andrei Khalip, Moscow – Indonesia's decision to replace a big defence order from the United States with arms from Russia heralds a big breakthrough for an industry badly hit by the collapse of the Soviet superpower.
Lisbon – Portugal said on Tuesday it would not retaliate in kind after South Africa expelled its ambassador over the leaking of a misdirected letter from President Nelson Mandela.
"We have no intention of asking for the expulsion of the South African ambassador to Lisbon," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ana Zacarias told Reuters.
August 4, 1997
Lisbon – Portugal said on Monday it regretted a decision by South Africa to expel its ambassador over the leaking of a misdirected note from President Nelson Mandela to Indonesian President Suharto.
Brendan Boyle, Cape Town – South Africa has expelled Portugal's ambassador over the leaking of a misdirected note from President Nelson Mandela to his Indonesian counterpart, but diplomatic ties remain intact, government sources said on Monday.
Pretoria – The South African President, Nelson Mandela, has said he invited East Timorese leaders to visit the African country in September.
August 3, 1997
Susan Sim, Jakarta – The good news is that the Indonesian forest fires this year are not as extensive as those three years ago.
The bad news is that they will be an annual problem for more years yet, despite the best intentions and efforts of the Indonesian government.
August 2, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia has finally received a letter from South African President Nelson Mandela suggesting the possible release of jailed East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, the official Antara news agency reported on Saturday.
August 1, 1997
Jakarta – An Indonesian appeal court has ruled that a lower court has the authority to decide on a challenge by ousted minority party leader Megawati Sukarnoputri against her government-backed overthrow.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – On a hot Jakarta evening two weeks ago, in a grand colonial-style guest house at Indonesia's Merdeka Presidential Palace, South African President Nelson Mandela, Africa's most respected statesman talked and dined for about two hours with Xanana Gusmao, the jailed leader of East Timor,
A 'Training for Trainers' (TFT) course for members of the unrecognised trade union federation, the SBSI, being held in Lampung, South Sumatra, was broken up by a joint unit of military and police. After being questioned for three hours, the 26 participants were taken off and held at the local police command.
Attempts by the Indonesian security forces to quell disturbances which began on 21 August 1997 in the Timika area of Irian Jaya - Indonesia's easternmost province - have resulted in two local tribespeople being shot dead and 15 others being beaten, in some cases severely.
July 31, 1997
New York – On 25 July 1997, Naimullah, a reporter with the Jakarta-based morning daily newspaper "Sinar Pagi" was found murdered. Naimullah's body, mutilated by stab wounds in his neck, and bruises on his head, temples, chest, and wrists, was found in the back seat of his car in Pantai Penibungan, about 90 kilometres north of Pontianak, the provincial capital of West Kalimantan.
Hendardi, Jakarta - Discussions about corruption have re-surfaced recently. This issue became topical during general election campaigning for members of the House of Representatives and the regional legislative assemblies. The three contesting parties boasted anticorruption themes and pushed for the eradication of corrupt practices.
According to a report in Media Indonesia (22 July 1997), former MP, Sri-Bintang Pamungkas is to go on trial for subversion during the month of August.
Samsudin Berlian, Jakarta – The jailing more than two years ago of two journalists who defied the Indonesian government by publishing an unlicensed magazine was hardly a surprise. But their recent release has baffled many.
To the surprise of the journalistic community here, authorities freed Eko Maryadi and Ahmad Taufik from separate prisons in West Java on Jul 19.
Jakarta – Pro-independence rebels in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor have killed three Indonesian soldiers, military sources said on Thursday.
The soldiers were killed in an attack in Liquisa district, west of the territory's capital Dili, on Wednesday morning, one source said.
Further information on the clash was not immediately available.
Grave fears are held for the safety of 14 East Timorese men whose whereabouts is unknown following their arrest on 2 July, 1997, during an assault by the Indonesian military on the village of Wadaboru. Internal steps taken to locate them have been unsuccessful.