Makassar – Street rallies by disgruntled students protesting the dismissal of Minister of Industry and Trade Yusuf Kalla here started Wednesday off with a renewed threat to break away from the republic.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
April 27, 2000
Mark Dodd, Dili – When pro-Jakarta militias went on their rampage of arson, murder and looting last September they filled the classrooms of Dili's secondary schools with drums of fuel to ensure maximum damage before torching the buildings.
Jakarta – The government has agreed to raise teachers' functional allowances by 100 percent, far below various demands made by protesting teachers.
April 26, 2000
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid said April 25 that foreign submarines must not sail through Indonesia's territorial waters without permission.
Jakarta – The spokesman for the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) yesterday defended the military's business ventures, saying it would be impossible to survive on state funds alone.
Mark Dodd, Dili – The East Timorese leader, Mr Xanana Gusmao, and a senior United Nations official will hold a public meeting in Dili today to discuss the the country's number one social problem – unemployment.
Vaudine England – The latest phase in the Government's continuing reshuffle signals a further consolidation of power by President Abdurrahman Wahid.
His technique is also impressive. He announced Monday's sackings while International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Stanley Fischer was in town, leading many to assume the fund had demanded the changes.
Jakarta – Almost half of the country's mangrove forests have disappeared since 1982, causing land abrasion by the sea and threatening biota living in that environment, activists said on Tuesday.
Jakarta – The Indonesian economy, battered by two years of financial and economic crisis, will post growth of four percent in 2000, up from 0.2 percent this year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted Wednesday.
Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid faced anger among coalition parties within his already fractious six-month-old government yesterday after he fired two key financial ministers.
Several senior politicians raised the prospect of withdrawing their factions from the Cabinet in protest.
April 24, 2000
Vaudine England, Jakarta – A man described by his friends as a "likable mafioso" has been scooped up in recent legal moves against people suspected of attacking Megawati Sukarnoputri's party headquarters in 1996.
Jakarta – Some 1,000 teachers of kindergarten to high school across Jambi staged a noisy rally in front of the provincial legislative building on Saturday. They demanded a 300 percent raise in their salaries and 500 percent in extra allowances.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – The long-awaited trial of 24 soldiers charged with the massacre of 58 civilians in West Aceh last July has been called a show that will be hampered by its connections to military legal procedures.
April 23, 2000
Jakarta – The government has started seizing assets belonging to former President Suharto, a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Office said yesterday. "His assets in various forms have been seized," spokesman Yushar Yahya told the Indonesiakini online news service.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – National Assembly (MPR) chairman Amien Rais said that Indonesia's highest legislative body will not hold a special session this year amid speculation that several groups were working behind the scenes to support one to topple President Abdurrahman Wahid.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Thousands of becak drivers took to the streets of central Jakarta yesterday to demand that their pollution-free form of transport again be allowed to ply Jakarta's central streets.
April 22, 2000
Associated Press in Banda Aceh – A landmark trial of soldiers accused in the massacre of 57 students and teachers in strife- torn Aceh province resumed on Saturday amid tight security as protesters claimed the proceedings were staged.
Klaten – President Abdurrahman Wahid rebuked criticism of his support for the revocation of MPRS Decree No. 25/1965, saying Communist political parties should be banned not the ideology. "I need to put this in the correct perspective. Our constitution does not prohibit communism.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – In the face of strong public criticism, the Attorney-General has reorganised staff and departments to give greater priority to the corruption case against former president Suharto.
The most obvious move has been taking the head of the investigating team, Chairul Imam, off the case pending his planned retirement.
April 21, 2000
Jakarta – Five non-governmental organizations criticized on Friday the government's draft of the law on the establishment of an anticorruption body, arguing it did not give enough power to the body to combat the crime.
Jakarta – As a compromise to the intense calls for independence, resource-rich Irian Jaya is offering to remain within Indonesia if it retains a bigger portion of its own wealth, an initiative bill submitted by the province suggests.
Jakarta – The Indonesian government is shifting two-thirds of the judges in Jakarta to other courts outside the island of Java in response to public pressure and criticism of some court rulings.
The massive reshuffle is set to affect 50 to 60 per cent of judges throughout Jakarta, including all the chiefs and deputies in the capital's five district courts.
Agence France Presse in Jakarta – Armed forces commander Admiral Widodo Adi Sudjipto reassured the nation yesterday that the military had no desire to return to politics, and would dismiss anyone who did.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – The fate of Kartini bin Karim acquires special symbolic importance today. Diplomatic efforts are under way to free the Indonesian migrant worker from a death sentence of stoning in the United Arab Emirates for alleged adultery.
Nicole Winfield, United Nations – The first militia leaders accused of serious crimes in East Timor are expected to be brought to trial before international and East Timorese judges by June or July, a senior UN official said.
The Laskar Jihad, a 10,000-strong force, is preparing to travel to Indonesia's Maluku province in a stated attempt to end the simmering sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians. An initial 3,000 volunteers are to arrive as early as April 23, threatening to fuel problems in the strife-torn province.
Banda Aceh – Two policemen and a civilian were killed in the latest violence in Indonesia's strife-torn province of Aceh, police and witnesses said yesterday.
The killings occurred just hours after the opening on Wednesday of a landmark human rights trial in Banda Aceh in which 24 soldiers and a civilian are charged with massacring 57 unarmed villagers.
Batujajar, Bandung – While suggesting that dialog between the government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) should continue, the Indonesian Military (TNI) have decided to send troops to the strife-torn province of Aceh.
Jakarta – Conduct will soon be added to grades to determine whether an Indonesian student achieves a pass mark, press reports said yesterday.
Besides a good academic performance, the education authorities will also consider a student's conduct or ethics to decide whether a pass mark is warranted, the Kompas daily said.
April 20, 2000
Jakarta – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday that an independent body to oversee the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) must be established in a bid to ensure transparency and restore public trust in the agency.
[The following is a sidebar from the Red Cross 2001 World Disasters Report. The writer is a medical doctor who has worked in Afghanistan and East Timor.]
Jakarta – Head of the feared Pemuda Pancasila organization Yorrys Raweyai, who was on Tuesday arrested by police, yesterday admitted the Jakarta Military Command had ordered him to mobilize his forces ahead of the July 27 riots of 1996.
Jakarta – Political divisions are slowing economic reform in Indonesia, but this is unavoidable given the size of the nation's political transformation, State Enterprises Minister Laksamana Sukardi has said.
"What makes Indonesian progress and recovery so slow, compared to Thailand and South Korea, is that our leaders are not united," Mr Laksamana told a business forum.
Jakarta – Thousands of teachers in Jakarta and other cities yesterday continued to protest over their low salaries, threatening to boycott this month's national exams, despite the government's promise to significantly increase their pay.
April 19, 2000
Sydney – An Australian soldier facing expulsion from East Timor for trying to be a "spymaster" was well-intentioned but misguided, former Interfet commander Major General Peter Cosgrove said Tuesday.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Six months after becoming Indonesia's first democratically elected president, Mr Abdurrahman Wahid, is facing mounting criticism from some of his once strongest Muslim allies, including the influential parliamentary Speaker, Dr Amien Rais.
Palu – Sectarian riots continued sporadically in the Central Sulawesi town of Poso on Tuesday despite the heavy presence of security personnel. Antara reported that smoke was seen billowing from buildings across the paralyzed town. Markets and shops were closed as fearful residents stayed indoors.
Jakarta – A senior police officer has been removed from his post and up to 1,000 police and soldiers are being deployed ahead of the expected human rights trial today of soldiers in Indonesia's northern province of Aceh.
A police spokesman said the officer in charge of a crackdown on separatist rebels in violence-racked Aceh had been removed on presidential orders.
May Sari, Jakarta – A three-day strike by 1800 workers employed at the PT Isanti shoe factory in Semarang, Central Java, forced the company to grant 23 out of their 25 demands on April 11.
The strike was organised by the Central of Semarang Workers (PBS), affiliated with the militant independent union, National Front for Indonesian Workers' Struggle (FNPBI).
Banda Aceh – At least eight people were killed and 18 others injured in the latest violence to rack the troubled Indonesian province of Aceh, police and residents said yesterday. Two explosive devices, believed to be hand grenades, were thrown at a guard post at a fertiliser plant near the main town of the North Aceh district, Lhokseumawe, on Monday night.
April 18, 2000
Hongkong – President Abdurrahman Wahid said Indonesia, China and India should go forward together with the help of Japanese and Singaporean "capital, know-how and technology" to create a mutually beneficial loose association.
Jakarta – State Minister of Women's Empowerment Khofifah Indah Parawansa revealed on Monday that 30 percent of 3.5 million babies born in the last two years had serious malnutrition.
Jakarta – At least 16 foreign mining companies have delayed their activities due to uncertainty in security or financial problems, a senior government official said on Monday.
Tempo, Jakarta – The existing forest resource management system, which has been regularly exploited and abused, will be replaced by a balanced and sustainable forest management system.
Jakarta – Two witnesses on Tuesday testified in favor of Time magazine in a hearing of the 27 billion dollar defamation suit filed against the the US weekly by former Indonesian strongman Suharto.
Bogor – After a one-day delay, thousands of members of Laskar Jihad (Jihad Force) vacated the military-style training camp in Munjul village under tight police security in the early hours of Monday.
Jakarta – Standard and Poor's said Tuesday it had downgraded Indonesia's long-term foreign currency issuer credit rating to "selective default" from CCC+ in the wake of last week's debt rescheduling by Paris Club donor countries.
Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid returned from a nine-day foreign tour on Monday amid rumors of intensive backroom dealings between major political parties to try to remove him from office.
Jakarta – Some 10,000 teachers Tuesday flooded the grounds of the national parliament compound here in a mass protest to demand at least a 100 percent increase in their salaries.
The teachers crowded the parliament compound and buildings, shouting and waving posters urging the government to pay heed to their plight.
Jakarta – Underpaid teachers will see a 300-per-cent increase in allowances, reports said yesterday as teachers in parts of the country began a three-day strike to demand better pay.