Jakarta – State companies remain highly vulnerable to exploitation as cash cows for political groups like they were under previous political administrations, informed sources said on Monday.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
April 18, 2000
April 17, 2000
Dili – Portuguese national guardsmen serving with the UN police force in East Timor were called Friday to the BNU bank in Dili, to control a crowd dissatisfied with a revised exchange rate for Portuguese escudos and Indonesian rupiahs.
Sonny Inbaraj, Darwin – In East Timor, Avelino da Silva is nicknamed the 'Negotiator' – a reference to one of the main characters in a Frederick Forsyth novel.
Dili – Bishop Carlos Belo would be shocked if he knew. It is well after midnight and the streets of Dili are deserted, except for a few stray dogs. But the discotheque on the multi-storey cruise ship moored at shore is packed, sweaty and jumping to loud music.
April 16, 2000
Paul Lashmar and James Oliver – The world's press was systematically manipulated by British intelligence as part of a plot to overthrow Indonesia's President Sukarno in the 1960s, according to Foreign Office documents. The BBC, the Observer and Reuters news agency were all duped into carrying stories manufactured by agents working for the Foreign Office.
Jakarta – The United States prevented Indonesia's presidential airplane carrying President Abdurrahman Wahid and his entourage from making a refueling stop in the country, forcing the plane to make a stop-over in Canada, the Indonesian Observer reported yesterday.
April 15, 2000
Jakarta – Three elements of the Central Axis, the main supporters of President Abdurrahman Wahid in the latest general session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), have hinted that they may withdraw their support for Wahid's administration.
Jakarta – Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Nurfaizi said on Friday that police investigators were questioning four people in connection with a violent student protest in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
"They are being questioned at city police headquarters," he announced after addressing the inauguration of the Matraman Police Substation in Central Jakarta.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – The Indonesian government, brushing aside the threat of foreign investors pulling out from Batam, said yesterday it would go ahead with plans to impose a value- added tax (VAT) in the once tax-free-haven.
Denpasar – Hundreds of teachers and members of the Bali chapter of Indonesian Teachers Union (PGRI) staged a street demonstration here on Friday urging the government to take concrete steps in improving the welfare of the nation's teachers.
Jakarta – The House faction of the Muslim Crescent and Star Party (PBB) called on the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on Friday to hold an emergency session to demand the accountability and possible impeachment of President Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur.
Jakarta – Indonesia's state-owned aircraft manufacturer, PT Nusantara Aircraft Indutries (IPTN) will lay off another 2,500 workers over the next 10 months through early retirement, reports said Saturday.
Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid has criticised the decision by teachers to strike for higher wages, saying that their action could damage the country's economic recovery.
His comments were clearly a response to a series of protests by state school teachers across the country demanding a 300 per cent pay hike and an increase in their daily allowance.
April 14, 2000
Political divisions within the Indonesian cabinet and a lack of political support for agencies charged with implementing financial reforms are hampering changes in the financial sector, the World Bank said.
Bogor – Some 7,000 teachers began their three-day strike on Thursday to demand, among other things, a 300 percent increase in their salaries, defying the government's call on them not to do so.
Jakarta – A group of 3,000 militant Muslims preparing for a holy war against Christians in the strife-torn Maluku islands has agreed to leave a training camp near the Indonesian capital by Sunday and surrender their weapons, police and a group leader said Friday.
Havana – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in his address during the opening of Group of 77 (G-77) Summit here has stressed the importance of co-operation among South countries for the development of economy and democracy.
Banda Aceh – A major congress to forge peace in Aceh scheduled to start next week has been delayed indefinitely following the massive deployment of security forces in recent weeks.
David McLennan – Despite the "admirable commitment" of four East Timor independence activists to a "compelling cause", their actions during a protest at Parliament House were illegal, Magistrate Karen Fryar said yesterday.
Jakarta – Indonesia's Supreme Court was red-faced yesterday when newspapers splashed the transcript of a tape recording in which one of its clerks could be heard saying that a verdict was for sale to the highest bidder.
Tim Dodd, Jakarta – While President Abdurrahman Wahid hogs the headlines as leader of the country's reform effort, his Attorney General, Mr Marzuki Darusman, is the one sweating in the engine room dealing with the crises.
April 13, 2000
Paris – The Club of Paris, a group of leading creditor nations, agreed Thursday to reschedule 5.8 billion dollars of Indonesia's public debt. The sum – a far bigger slice than Indonesia had hoped for – will be repaid on a medium- and long-term basis between now and the end of March 2002.
Jakarta – Hundreds of teachers, demanding a massive pay hike, demonstrated in front of the presidential palace in central Jakarta yesterday in a third day of protests.
Singing songs, the protesters – clad in teachers' batik uniforms – demanded to see Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri who was due to chair a Cabinet meeting.
Associated Press, Jakarta – Worried that ex-president Suharto might try to escape prosecution for massive corruption, state investigators yesterday barred the former dictator from leaving Indonesia for six months.
Comment by Andrew McNaughtan – When the Australian and Indonesian foreign ministers toasted the signing of the Timor Gap treaty in 1989 it was presented as a diplomatic coup and a sign of a friendly, co-operative relationship.
Jakarta – Indonesian police fired warning shots and tear gas Thursday to disperse hundreds of militant students protesting near the residence of former president Suharto to demand he be brought to trial.
David Lague – An independent East Timor would have a powerful legal case to renegotiate the Timor Gap treaty and win a bigger share of potentially massive oil and gas revenues, according to legal and oil industry experts.
Jakarta – Low-income rural people appear to be most vulnerable to growing wealth inequalities in Indonesia following the economic crisis, the World Bank said Thursday.
April 12, 2000
Akara Leon and Vanja Tanaja, Dili – Sixty East Timorese workers at the aid agency World Vision walked off the job and demonstrated on April 3, demanding an explanation from management for the sacking of eight security guards.
Jakarta – Indonesia's government will remove the chiefs of all five district courts in Jakarta and reassign almost 70 per cent of judges to other areas as it mounts a campaign to clean up its much-criticised court system.
Jose Manuel Tesoro – One can always rely on the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle for a public spectacle. At its six- day party congress, which ended April 3 in the Central Java capital of Semarang, its supporters held the regular loud motorbike rallies. Red party flags were ubiquitous.
Jakarta – Thousands of teachers closed schools in at least five Indonesian cities to protest a new government pay policy for senior civil servants and to demand a 300 per cent increase in basic salaries and a 500 per cent increase in allowances.
This city in the West Java hills is home to Indonesia's state phone company, a moribund aircraft project and the country's best-known technical school. But it is the local brothel district that has everyone's attention.
Surabaya – Giant publicly listed clove cigarette producer PT Gudang Garam in Kediri, some 125 kilometers southwest of here, suspended operations for five days starting on Tuesday following a huge labor strike for better conditions.
Pip Hinman – Mounting pressure has forced the Indonesian government to delay implementing key elements of an economic restructuring package negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The April 1 budget did not include a controversial fuel subsidy cut, nor the promised wage rise for senior civil servants.
April 11, 2000
Robert Go, Jakarta – Indonesia's government reached a preliminary agreement with bus operators on fare increases and additional government subsidies – averting a possible shut down of the capital's transportation system at the eleventh hour.
Bogor – Most state schools in Bogor and Sukabumi were closed on Monday as teachers took to the streets to protest the government's pay policy in what was seen as a prelude to a nationwide strike planned by teachers this week.
The Indonesian air force announced plans to ask China to provide and help maintain aircraft and weaponry, reported Agence France- Presse April 10. In particular, Jakarta lacks adequate radar and navigation equipment.
Jakarta – Ex-chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) Soerjadi disclosed yesterday that Lieutenant General (ret.) Syarwan Hamid played a pivotal role in the 1996 hostile takeover of PDI headquarters, paving the way for a thorough investigation into the involvement of the government and military in the melee.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – A familiar sense of insecurity was afflicting Jakarta yesterday. With President Abdurrahman Wahid overseas, politicians as sailed his alleged over-confidence amid small protests against various perceived ills.
Jakarta – The majority of the archives compiled by the much- feared Agency for the Coordination of Support for the Development of National Stability (Bakorstanas) will be destroyed following the official dissolution of the agency on Monday.
April 10, 2000
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Lynchings of suspected thieves and violent eruptions of long-running neighbourhood disputes have claimed at least 30 lives in and around Jakarta this year in a sign of growing disrespect for the law.
Jakarta – The Indonesian armed forces have been forced to take delivery of six British Hawk-200 fighter planes by ship, because vital navigation and communications equipment was blocked by a US arms embargo.
Simon Montlake, Jakarta – Indonesia should find it easier to restructure $2.1 billion in sovereign debt owed to donor countries at the Paris Club meeting on April 12 after catching up on its economic reform program, the International Monetary Fund said Monday.
Bogor – Residents of the otherwise peaceful Munjul village of Kayumanis in the Tanah Sareal district expressed on Sunday their deep concern and fear over the presence of the military-style training camp of the Laskar Jihad (Jihad Army).
April 9, 2000
Jakarta – The chairman of Indonesia's People's Consultative Assembly, Mr Amien Rais, said yesterday that lawmakers would block a plan by President Abdurrahman Wahid to end a 34-year-old ban against communists.
Jakarta – Three Indonesian journalists, including an AFP reporter, were beaten up by youths taking jihad (holy war) training at a camp 50 kilometers south of here Sunday.
April 8, 2000
Lindsay Murdoch – Almost every day people trail into the Liquica police station to tell the United Nations police stationed there about new grave sites.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Protests against President Abdurrahman Wahid's policies – particularly his perceived openness to communism – escalated yesterday with thousands of Islamic protesters gathering outside the presidential palace and around Jakarta's central Welcome Monument.