Chris McCall, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid may have saved his own political skin by accepting the resignation of a leading confidant.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
May 31, 2000
Agencies in Jakarta – Fifty-two bodies have been found in two mainly Christian villages in Indonesia's North Maluku province after attacks by Muslims, a priest said yesterday. The military said "jihad" holy war fighters from elsewhere in Indonesia were suspected.
James Balowski – On May 17, 24 Indonesian soldiers and one civilian were sentenced to between eight and a half and 10 years' jail for the murder of Islamic teacher Teungku Bantaqiahand and 56 members of an Islamic boarding school in western Aceh in July 1999.
Mark Dodd, Jakarta – The United Nations chief in East Timor, Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello, has sought the co-operation of Indonesia's judiciary for investigations into crimes committed by pro-Jakarta militia and their army backers after last year's bloody vote for independence.
Pip Hinman – The Seattle and Washington protests against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) have forced their chiefs into damage control. But despite all the PR bunk about the IMF and WB's "non-interference" in national economies, and their "pro-development" and "anti-poverty" agendas, the impact of their interference in the Third World is hard to hide.
May 30, 2000
Jeremy Wagstaff, Jakarta – Hundreds of Indonesian workers went on strike at Jakarta's main port, the first serious stoppage to hit the country's largest container terminal since Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. took over its management a year ago.
May 29, 2000
Chris McCall – Fearful Indonesian Christians in Sumatra's main city prayed behind a police guard last night after a bomb exploded at morning service and two more were found at other churches.
Ambon – The governor of Indonesia's troubled Maluku province has said that allies of former President Suharto could be behind the arrival of some 2,200 Muslim jihad warriors in the islands.
Jakarta – Angry mobs raided and vandalized two hotels at separate locations in East and West Jakarta over the weekend, claiming both establishments offered the services of prostitutes.
Nearly seven months in office, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid can claim great achievements. Despite his blindness and diabetes, he has negotiated a ceasefire with separatist rebels in the gas-rich province of Aceh and staved off a military coup in Jakarta. But things look bleak on the economic front.
Jakarta – Protests against oil and gas operations in East Kalimantan could escalate if gas company Vico Indonesia Ltd fails to settle its dispute with locals, a senior official at state oil and gas company Pertamina said on Saturday.
London – The Solidamor chair, Coki Naipospos sustained injuries all over his body and suffered wounds on his wrist and forehead. When the attack started, he grabbed hold of a laptop to shield his face from being beaten with sticks and stones. Sapollo was kicked and beaten and was badly bruised . He was taken to hospital for an x-ray.
Edhi Pranasidhi, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has extended a ban on 128 bankers and shareholders of closed banks from traveling abroad, according to a decree signed by Finance Minister Bambang Sudibyo, which was released to the media Monday.
Jakarta – Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono confirmed on Friday the United States did not include the Army in the gradual normalization of military ties with Indonesia because of a lot of "unfinished business".
Pandeglang – Newly established Work for National Care (KPB), a non-governmental organization dominated by Golkar Party figures, drew the attention of tens of thousands of Muslims here on Sunday by staging an anticommunism rally.
May 27, 2000
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Indonesia is prepared for human rights abuses cases to go to court but many of them would probably be dealt with through a South African style truth and reconciliation commission because there were too many cases for the courts to solve, said a minister.
Chris McCall, Jakarta – Radical students went on an anti-military rampage in Jakarta yesterday and police were ordered to stand aside for fear of unleashing worse violence.
Mark Dodd, Dili – The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) has denied reports it will spend $US15 million ($28 million) on the purchase of new motor vehicles to equip its civilian police.
Achmad Sukarsono, Jakarta – Armed assailants have attacked a remote village in Indonesia's strife-torn former Spice Islands, killing at least 34 people, injuring scores and setting buildings and places of worship ablaze, the military said yesterday.
David Lague – The Defence Department will pressure the Federal Government to rebuild military links with Jakarta now political ties are warming, despite the role of Indonesian troops in East Timor atrocities.
May 26, 2000
Jakarta – A group of about fifty pro-integration East Timorese carried out a vicious attack today on the office of Solidamor in Jakarta.
Lesley McCulloch, Jakarta – It seems that with each day that passes criticism of Indonesia's President, Abdurrahman Wahid, gains momentum. No-one denies that many things are certainly different than they were 12 months ago – and that these changes have been for the better – but are they the changes that really matter?
Jose Manuel Tesoro, Jakarta – For three months, the third floor of Indonesia's parliament complex resembled a workers' dormitory. Figures dozed on the dirty floor as clothes hung out to dry.
Jakarta – Indonesia's government will ask an independent commission to look into possible human-rights abuses by a major US mining company in West Papua province, a minister said.
Jakarta – Residents living near the private residence of former president Suharto and his family in Menteng are appealing to students to halt their protests in the upmarket neighbourhood.
Interviewed by The Jakarta Post separately, the neighbours urged the students to hold their protests at other sites, such as the Attorney-General's Office or the House of Representatives.
A respected reformist in President Wahid's cabinet, Laksamana Sukardi was controversially dismissed as minister for investment and state enterprises on April 24. Sukardi claims vested interests were behind his sacking and is demanding clarification from Gus Dur (as Wahid is popularly known). He recently gave his views on the matter to Asiaweek's Dewi Loveard.
Narendra Aggarwal - Indonesia's economy is expected to expand by about 3.5 per cent this year, driven by consumer demand, but it is too early to say if the same rate of growth will continue into next year, a top private sector economist has said.
Mark Dodd, Dili – The East Timor independence leader Mr Xanana Gusmao has threatened to boycott a key international donors' meeting in Portugal because of concerns over the UN's accountability with donor funds. The Lisbon donors' meeting scheduled for June 23 is expected to hear UN budget proposals for East Timor.
May 25, 2000
Jakarta – Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia's best-known author, is to be honoured by France for his services to literature. The French embassy here said Friday that Pramoedya would be named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres later this month.
I Made Sentana, Bekasi – Yudi Winarno hasn't left work in almost a month. But he's not working overtime. Mr. Winarno is leading a sit-in of about 900 of the 1,500 workers at PT Sony Electronics Indonesia, a unit of Japan's Sony Corp.
Jakarta – An environment official says certain members of the Singapore government and business community have been paying bribes to local government officials at Batam to obtain permission to dump waste in waters off the industrial island.
Elizabeth Becker, Washington – The Clinton administration has quietly resumed military cooperation with Indonesia, senior defense officials said today, eight months after cutting off those ties following massacres in East Timor.
Banda Aceh – Security forces in the strife-torn province of Aceh broke ranks Thursday, fighting between police and members of the military claimed the lives of at least three police officers, witnesses said. The deaths put into further jeopardy the Indonesian province's impending cease-fire.
Michael Vatikiotis, Jakarta – Is Indonesia's new-found stability coming apart? Events this past week certainly make it seem so. A resurgence of popular protest and social tension has caused nervousness in financial markets and sent the rupiah tumbling. Meanwhile, opposition to the six-month-old administration of President Abdurrahman Wahid is starting to flex its muscles.
Jakarta – Indonesian police fired teargas and beat up student protestors on Thursday near the house of former president Suharto, in the latest protest calling for him to be tried for corruption.
Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Wednesday defended his policy of leniency towards the country's military generals and former leaders found guilty of gross misdeeds in the past.
Ambon – A Muslim leader in this riot-hit eastern Indonesian city on Thursday warned the authorities against trying to expel a militant Muslim group blamed by many for the resurgence of sectarian violence here last week.
May 24, 2000
James Balowski – On May 12, the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed a three-month "peace accord" at a secret location in Geneva. A government statement said the cease-fire would come into effect on June 2 and would be reviewed regularly.
Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said yesterday that the police and military did not have sufficient funding to deal with the sectarian and separatist violence that has dogged the country and spooked investors.
Revitriyoso Husodo and Sri Wahyuningsih of the People's Cultural Network (JAKER) in Indonesia spoke to Green Left Weekly's Julia Perkins during her recent visit there.
Jon Land – East Timorese asylum seeker and independence activist Naldo Rai is being forced by immigration authorities and government officials to leave Australia.
Along with around 1600 East Timorese asylum seekers, he faces an uncertain future.
Palu – Three people were killed and 15 others injured while scores of houses were set ablaze in fierce clashes that erupted in the town of Poso on Tuesday.
Desi Utomo – In Indonesia, racism is one of the most pressing problems facing society.
May Sair, Jakarta – Textile company Texmaco has black-listed 15 workers who led a strike at a factory here for better wages. It is refusing to allow the 15 to join the workers' negotiating team or to re-register for employment.
Bandung – Some 200 textile companies in the West Java chapter of the Indonesian Textile Association (API) threatened on Tuesday to stop production if the electricity rate hike was not revised within a week.
Paul Jacob – The Indonesian military's territorial affairs chief yesterday cautioned against any move towards a federal system, saying it could expose the country to "larger costs and higher risks".
Yang Razali Kassim - The general is not saying. But it's what he fails to say that confirms it: dissatisfaction is building up within the military against President Abdurrahman Wahid.
May 23, 2000
Jakarta – The city witnessed another wave of anti-Soeharto protests on Monday when over 1,200 university students from different groups rallied at the Presidential Palace, Attorney General's Office and near the residence of former president Soeharto.
Cameron W. Barr, Jakarta – For Abdurrahman Wahid, Indonesia's first democratically elected president, the honeymoon is over. At least by the political standards of mere mortals.
May 22, 2000
Michael Shari, Jakarta – What happens when a government puts its biggest bank up for sale and no one's much interested? Cacuk Sudarijanto doesn't even want to think about it. As head of Indonesia's vast debt cleanup operation, he's responsible for unloading Bank of Central Asia later this month.