Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The Government came under pressure yesterday to repeal a controversial labour law after it was revealed expenses incurred in its passage were illegally paid for by the state worker insurance company.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
November 21, 1997
Jakarta – Jakarta's main stock index smashed through the key 400-point barrier to hit a 50-month low yesterday, with analysts expecting further downward pressure as investors reduced their holdings.
"Players are getting out of the market, selling as much as they can in anticipation of tougher times ahead," an analyst with a European brokerage said.
Shocking photographs showing the alleged rape and torture of Timorese women by Indonesian soldiers were made public in Australia yesterday.
A representative of the Darwin-based East Timor International Centre (ETIC), a group opposed to Indonesia's 22-year occupation of Timor, released 40 pictures.
Douglas Todd, Vancouver – President Suharto's top officials warning that actions will be taken against Indonesians who demonstrate when he visits Vancouver is an insult to Canadians and free speech, says Indonesians attending an alternative APEC conference.
Jakarta – Indonesia's President Suharto Friday ordered all state-owned companies to allocate 1% of their respective earnings to buy shares listed on the country's exchanges in order to support the slumping capital market, the state-owned Radio Republik Indonesia reported Friday evening.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation has decreed that street protests and labour strikes are permitted under Islam, a religious ruling which could directly challenge some of the Soeharto Government's laws on labour organisation and political opposition.
[A huge row has broken out about use of money in the social security agency Jamsostek to give hospitality and bribes to members of Parliament to enact the very controversial Labour Law that was adopted in the last days of the old Parliament.
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) has received further information about the East Timorese students who were injured and detained on 14 November during a confrontation with Indonesian security forces at the University of East Timor in Dili (see UA 26/97 for details).
November 20, 1997
Cape Town – About 40 placard-bearing Cosatu members, protesting outside Parliament's main gates against the visit to South Africa of Indonesia's President Suharto, were arrested by police shortly before 11am on Thursday.
Jakarta – Jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao admitted that he had authorized the assembling of bombs as head of the self-determination resistance movement, a lawyer who attended the police interrogation said on Wednesday.
Cape Town – President Nelson Mandela and a bevy of Cabinet ministers on Thursday laid on a red carpet welcome at Tuynhuys for Indonesian President Mohamed Suharto, soon after 38 Cosatu members were arrested outside Parliament for protesting against Indonesia's human rights record.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – The imprisoned East Timorese independence leader, Xanana Gusmao, has been reported as taking "full responsibility" for a planned bombing campaign in the provincial capital of Dili, but has denied terrorism charges.
Cape Town – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Thursday accused the police of barbarism following the arrest of about 40 of its Western Cape members outside Parliament for protesting against visiting Indonesian president Mohamed Suharto.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Influential Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid says Indonesia should consider electing a woman as president.
President Suharto's eldest daughter, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana - known as Tutut - is tipped to become chairman of the ruling Golkar party.
The powerful entrepeneur is now deputy chairman.
November 19, 1997
The sixth anniversary of the Indonesian military's massacre of mourners at Dili's Santa Cruz cemetery on November 12, 1991, was commemorated in many parts of the country.
Becky Ellis – The rapid development of export industries in Indonesia since the 1970s has significantly increased women's participation in the industrial work force. Indonesian women are concentrated in manufacturing, agriculture, trades and services, and make up 70- 80% of the textile and garment industry.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Millions of dollars from a State-owned workers' insurance fund was paid to Members of Parliament earlier this year as they debated labour legislation, according to documents obtained by the Jakarta Post newspaper.
Malang – The chair of the Centre for Labour Struggle (PPBI) which is affiliated with the People's Democratic Party (PRD), Dita Indah Sari, is in intensive care at the Syaiful Anwar Hospital in Malang (East Java) suffering from typhoid.
Police admit that they have arrested a number of Bandung students while they were holding a demonstration on the grounds of Gasibu, Bandung, last Monday.
The head of the Bandung police, Colonel Eriwn told the press that the arrest of the students was done in order to interrogate them about the background to the action.
Jon Land – More than 1000 East Timorese students staged a peaceful demonstration in Dili on November 12 to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre. The protest was held at the University of East Timor, amidst a heavy security presence.
Linda Kaucher – President Suharto is refusing to declare West Papua a disaster area despite calls from within his own government to do so. More than 400 people have died from the drought, mainly in the Jayawijaya highlands district, adjacent to the PNG border.
November 18, 1997
Louise Williams – It is not clear how the police came to choose the driver when they stopped his car outside the central Javanese city of Yogyakarta and activated the plan in which he was charged with murder, carrying a maximum penalty of death.
November 17, 1997
Today, Monday November 17, the Indonesian People's Front (Front Rakyat Indonesia, FRI) held an action in Bandung [West Java]. FRI is a grouping of Bandung pro-democracy groups including:
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) holds grave fears for the safety of eight East Timorese students, who sustained serious gunshot wounds during a confrontation with Indonesian security forces, at the University of East Timor in Dili, on the morning of 14 November, 1997.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The Government appears to be clamping down on the media in the run-up to the presidential elections after it pulled the plug on the Finance Minister's live broadcast to Parliament last week.
Private television stations SCTV and Anteve were set to air Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad's speech but it was banned after a last-minute phone call.
Sydney – At least two East Timorese died and other 16 got injured, three of them seriously, when Indonesian police and troops shoot at students in the University of Dili, a religious source told Lusa on Friday.
November 16, 1997
Ian MacKenzie, Jakarta – Indonesia's President Suharto leaves a country in economic flux when he sets out this week on a 12-day trip to southern Africa, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
And in the background, like an unwelcome ghost peeping from a partially closed closet, hovers the East Timor issue that has bedevilled Indonesia's foreign policy for years.
November 15, 1997
Jakarta – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been allowed to visit seven people injured after soldiers fired on students in an East Timor university, an ICRC official said Saturday.
November 14, 1997
Five East Timorese students shot and wounded in a confrontation with Indonesian police in Dili, the capital of East Timor, have been taken to a military hospital. The five appear to be being denied access to humanitarian and legal assistance, raising serious concerns for their well-being in custody.
Dili – Indonesian troops fired shots into the air to disperse hundreds of students today in East Timor. At least two people were injured in scuffles with authorities, school officials said.
Student activists, who declined to give their names, said two students were killed in the violence outside the University of East Timor in Dili, about 1,250 miles east of Jakarta.
Jakarta – At least one East Timorese student was killed on Friday when security personnel fired shots on a university campus in the territory's capital Dili, students said.
A military official denied there had been any deaths.
November 13, 1997
On the night of November 12, 1997, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block the use of U.S. weapons in occupied East Timor, placing an unprecedented restriction on U.S. arms sales to Indonesia. The Senate, which unanimously approved stronger language on September 5, is expected to enact the measure today.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia must push through with successive waves of tough economic reforms, including a possible second round of bank closures, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Mr Michel Camdessus, said in Jakarta yesterday.
Bruce Cheadle, Ottawa – Isabel Galhos, one of three East Timorese expatriates living in Canada, doesn't mince words when she describes the 22-year regime of Indonesian President Suharta.
Surabaya – At least 40,000 workers of the biggest cigarette company go on strike as their 50 pct salary increase demand is refused by the management.
President director of the Kediri-based PT Gudang Garam, Rahman Halim, who met with the workers' representatives yesterday, refused fulfill the workers' demand.
Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) opening statement:
Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia moved to deport a U.S. woman on Thursday after police accused her of "disturbing public order" during a ceremony marking the anniversary of a 1991 massacre of East Timor civilians by Indonesian soldiers.
Johannesburg – South Africa and Indonesia are set to boost economic ties with the signing of two agreements on aviation and trade, South African Press Association reported today.
The two accords will be signed when Indonesian President Soeharto arrives in Cape Town next week for a state visit.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesian journalists are protesting a government ban that has kept two private television channels here from airing live a parliamentarian hearing on Indonesia's financial crisis, saying that government had violated press freedoms and manipulated the Broadcasting Law.
Irwan Firdaus, Jakarta – Indonesia deported an American woman Thursday after police arrested her for taking notes and photographs during a pro-independence protest in the disputed territory of East Timor.
Allan Thompson, Ottawa – Joao Antonio Dias said he watched Indonesian soldiers kill wounded East Timorese demonstrators by banging their heads against rocks.
Roberto Jeronimo spoke of beatings and electrical shocks to his genitals he endured while being tortured in an Indonesian prison.
November 12, 1997
Bangkok – Today is the sixth anniversary of the Dili massacre in East Timor when an estimated 271 people were gunned down in cold blood by Indonesian troops. Among the dead was a young Malaysian student. The Nation's Steven Gan tells his story.
Jakarta – Mr Bambang Trihatmodjo, the second son of President Suharto, will take control of Bank Victoria as compensation for the closure of his Bank Andromeda, Bisnis Indonesia said.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – President Soeharto's half-brother has refused to withdraw a court challenge to bank liquidations which threaten the Internation Monetary Fund's bailout of the Indonesian economy.
Several meetings to highlight the situation in East Timor were held in Central Java on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Santa Cruz Massacre, 12 November 1997.
Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto's second son Bambang Trihatmodjo announced Wednesday the withdrawal of a lawsuit against the government over the closure of his bank earlier this month for the sake of "broader national interest."
November 11, 1997
Dili – Trials began Monday for five East Timorese accused of taking part in a rebel raid on a police station on May 28.
Prosecutors allege the men were among the rebels who stormed the station in the provincial capital, Dili, stabbed two officers and then fled with police weapons. One rebel was shot dead by police.
Jakarta – Indonesia's Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad yesterday defended the closure of 16 banks, asserting the government had followed proper procedures before winding them up in a move to reform the banking sector.
Jakarta - Xanana Gusmao told MateBEAN that he had never asked to be transferred to Nusakambangan, an Alcatraz-like prison island off the shore of Cilacap, Central Java as was stated by Thahir Abdullah a high-ranking officer from the Department of Justice
Lospalos – Last 3 November 1997, dozens of East Timor youth conducted a demonstration in Los Palos, Lautem. The demo was a protest against the behaviour of army soldiers shooting in random when a group of Catholics passed a military post in Paioto. Los Palos on August 31.