Jakarta – The country's crippled rupiah tumbled again on Friday to hit an intraday low of 9,300 against the U.S. dollar as stock prices plunged 1.5 percent for the third consecutive day.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
January 16, 1999
January 15, 1999
Hundreds of students demonstrated outside the Aceh regional assembly – DPRD – calling for a referendum expressing their deep disappointment with the central government's failure to call human rights violators in Aceh to account.
Jakarta – Several former high-ranking military and government officers, staunchly critical to the Habibie government, are set to officially launch a new political party in Jakarta today.
Jakarta – The total number of Indonesian now living in poverty has reached 130 million, a sharp increase from 80 million in mid-last year, an official report said Friday. Two years ago, the number of the poor in the crisis-ridden Indonesia was only 20 million.
Jakarta – East Timor Governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares stressed that he would not resign, despite growing calls for his resignation on the part of prominent local public figures who rallied around the local House of representatives yesterday.
January 14, 1999
Jakarta – Some 25,000 police will be deployed in the Indonesian capital to keep order during the Moslem Eid-el-Fitr holiday next week, a report said Thursday.
"We are deploying 25,000 personnel to safeguard security in the capital area druing Lebaran (Eid-el-Fitr)," Jakarta police chief Major General Nugroho Jayusman said, according to the Media Indonesia daily.
Maputo, Jan 14 (Lusa) - Mari Alkatiri, first vice-president of Fretilin, told Lusa in Maputo on Wednesday that while being "ambiguous" Australia's new policy towards East Timor amounted to a "substantial change." Alkatiri made the statement in reaction to the Australian government's announcement earlier this week that it was now supporting East Timor's right of self-determination as
January 13, 1999
[The following is a summary translation of two reports from Siar news service posted by Down To Earth.]
Jakarta – A controversial Indonesian minister has broken ranks with the ruling Golkar party ahead of general elections in June, raising speculation he has his own political ambitions, sources and reports said Wednesday.
Lincoln Wright – Risking possible friction with Jakarta, the Labor Party has backed a policy of funding an autonomous or independent East Timor using Indonesia's share of the oil and gas revenue from the Timor Gap.
Jakarta – The Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), currently experiencing its lowest level of popularity, is likely to get up to 40 seats in the House of Representatives, according to the latest deliberations of new political bills.
Bandung – West Java Police Chief Major General Chairuddin yesterday said his office would deploy sharpshooters along coastal roads to protect travelers during the post-Ramadhan festivities of Idul Fitri.
Dozens of snipers will assist hundreds of existing security forces dressed to save millions of motorists from possible attacks, looting and theft, he said.
Jakarta – At least 39,800 hectares of plantations were looted during 1998, causing an estimated material loss of around Rp 196 billion (about US$26 million), a senior official of the Ministry of Forestry and Plantations has said.
Jakarta – In one of Indonesia's first student protests of 1999, a small group of activists demonstrated Thursday against the arrests of two students on kidnapping charges.
Some 30 students gathered outside the South Jakarta District Court, where the two suspects face trial for allegedly abducting and torturing a plainclothes policeman at a Nov. 27 rally.
Jakarta – "Deep mistrust" among factions and government representatives has been blamed for the House of Representatives' failure on Tuesday to notch up any progress in its deliberation of the political role of the country's 4.1 million public servants.
It's late on Saturday afternoon, but the man who runs the fourth-largest nation on earth isn't anticipating any weekend relaxation. I have the mentality of a bicycle, says President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie of Indonesia. If I stop, I fall.
Tomi Soetjipto, Jakarta – Indonesia's military said on Wednesday it would court-martial 27 soldiers accused of torturing to death civilians in the restive province of Aceh.
Jakarta – A professor at the state-run University of Indonesia (UI) Wednesday took off his blue government-issue shirt at a campus here to symbolize the teaching staff's break from the ruling Golkar party.
Jakarta – Indonesia could lose US$5 billion in foreign investment due to political and security problems, Investment Minister Hamzah Haz was quoted as saying yesterday.
Andrew Marshall, Jakarta – The Indonesian rupiah dropped more than five percent against the dollar on Wednesday on regional weakness, fears of fresh domestic unrest and wrangling over the new budget.
January 12, 1999
Jakarta – Two activists kidnapped in the last months of the Suharto regime Tuesday refused to testify about their ordeal at the court martial of 11 soldiers charged with the abduction of scores of political campaigners.
But a third witness, politician Haryanto Taslam of the Indonesian Democracy Party of opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, agreed to give his testimony.
Jakarta – Women activists and scholars, demanding a greater say in politics, are urging that at least 30 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives be allotted to women legislators.
Comment by Hamish Mcdonald – Could Alexander Downer be playing a deep double game with the Indonesians? Could he be luring them into agreeing to an act of self-determination by encouraging their hopes that it will result in some autonomy formula without East Timor leaving Indonesian hands?
Vaudine England, Jakarta – The nation's greatest living writer, imprisoned by former president Suharto, is trying to reclaim the house taken from him 33 years ago. So far, he is having little luck.
"It feels like just more spite and revenge against me," said Pramoedya Ananta Toer from the house in which he has spent years under house arrest.
Jakarta – The Jordanian ambassador yesterday said former president Soeharto's reviled son-in-law, Prabowo Subianto, who is suspected of engineering a series of kidnappings and mass riots, had never applied for citizenship in his country.
Jakarta – Student movement groups have vowed to take to the streets of the capital again shortly after the Idul Fitri holidays to voice their strong objections to this year's planned general election, their leaders said Monday.
Sydney – The Australian government announced Tuesday it will press Indonesia to grant East Timor an act of self-determination in a policy shift which East Timorese activists immediately said does not go far enough.
Serambi-Jakarta – Kontras, the Commission for Missing Persons and to Combat Violence, believes that ABRI, the armed forces, must take responsibility for the assault on detainees during which four persons died. The incident must be thoroughly investigated, said Munir, the director of Kontras in a press conference in Jakarta.
Atika Shubert, Lhokseumawe – Muhammad, a 20-year old villager near the town of Lhokseumawe, was shot in the leg last week during the Indonesian military's latest campaign to quell separatist ambitions here in the restive province of Aceh. His grandfather, M.
Jakarta – The ruling Golkar party's insistence that civil servants be allowed to join political parties is caused by a "sinking ship syndrome", because it sees the bureaucracy as its only lifeboat, says a political analyst.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Indonesian military will today begin sending more than 100 refugees camped in the East Timorese capital of Dili, who fled ongoing security operations around their villages, back to their homes.
Jakarta – Some 3,000 workers at a tile factory in Bekasi, east of Jakarta, held a massive protest yesterday to press their demands for Idul Fitri bonus payouts. The workers also demanded that members of the firm's internal cooperative be sacked, because they always "squandered" the obligatory contributions of the staff.
January 11, 1999
Angela Tresnasari, Jakarta – Indonesia's military said on Monday it had arrested 30 soldiers in the restive province of Aceh for beating to death and torturing suspected separatist rebels at the weekend.
Jakarta – The government is scheduled to repeal the Subversion Law next week in response to fierce public criticism and in order to bring the Criminal Code into accordance with the recently approved anti-torture convention.
Jakarta – This city is facing the prospect of buckling under the strain of a number of serious social problems resulting from sharp increases in the number of jobless people and a continuing influx of migrants, a government official has warned.
[The following is the text of a report by Portuguese radio on January 8.]
January 10, 1999
Jakarta – Thousands of villagers went on a rampage in Indonesia's South Sumatra, torching vehicles and houses after four suspected thieves were beaten to death by residents of another village, witnesses said on Monday.
Jakarta – Thousands shouting "Long Live Mrs. President" turned out Sunday to hear opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri launch her campaign for Indonesia's first elections since the fall of Suharto.
January 9, 1999
Jakarta – Indonesian troops raided a village suspected of harboring a separatist leader holding two military hostages in troubled Aceh province Saturday, arresting 37 residents, the military said.
January 8, 1999
Have you ever heard of the rumor that the ethnic Chinese, who comprise less than 4% of the Indonesian population, but control 70% of that country's economy? Well, according to a Chinese-Indonesian priest who visited the Philippines recently, many journalists fell for it without even checking the facts.
Jakarta – A 40-strong delegation of representatives from the Indonesian province of Aceh Friday called on President B.J. Habibie to swiftly punish human rights violators in the troubled province.
Jakarta – The Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP) now has volunteers in 62 cities in 22 provinces, its secretary general, Mulyana W. Kusumah, said on Thursday. Mulyana told The Jakarta Post that he could not give the total number of volunteers because registration was still in progress.
Jakarta – A 28-year-old political activist testified at a court martial here Friday that he was subjected to repeated electric shock treatment after being abducted during the last months of the Suharto regime.
January 7, 1999
Lisbon – The senior commander of the East Timorese guerrilla movement has rejected all attempts to split or discredit the occupied territory's resistance to domination by Indonesia.
Jakarta – Mob violence rocked two cities in the Indonesian provinces of Central Java and West Kalimantan, leaving a dozen people injured, including one with a gunshot wound, reports said here Thursday.
Jakarta – The leader of Indonesia's largest Moslem organisation on Thursday accused followers of former President Suharto of instigating a wave of ethnic and religious violence that has shaken the country in recent months.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesian military commander Gen. Wiranto managed to consolidate his power base after launching a major reshuffle of his command structure that involves 100 officers.
Political observers said the reshuffle announced on Monday had practically sidelined officers who are closely associated to Wiranto's archrival, ousted Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto.
Jakarta – Students from Java, Lampung and Bali issued a defiant New Year statement vowing to continue with demonstrations this year as a means to maintain pressure on the government, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
Jakarta – The Indonesian military has released most of the scores of villagers detained in a sweep of separatist targets in troubled Aceh province, a rights official said Thursday.
January 6, 1999
Jakarta – The dominant party Golkar begged on Tuesday that the powerful Armed Forces (ABRI) reconsider its expressed stance of no longer supporting any political parties, including Golkar, in the coming polls.