G.K. Goh, Jakarta – Smoke from land clearing by fire on Tuesday cast a haze over the skies of several cities in Borneo and Sumatra island, causing eye irritations and breathing problems, officials said.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
July 10, 2001
Chris McCall in Tentena, Central Sulawesi – With guns that look like cut-out toys, a Christian army is fighting a war to hold on to its ancestral lands. It is based in Tentena, a beautiful lakeside town that visitors to Indonesia once flocked to.
Jakarta – Indonesia's army chief has played down President Abdurrahman Wahid's renewed threat to declare a state of emergency if political parties fail to compromise with him by July 20, local media reported Tuesday.
Only 666 of the 1,250 East Timorese refugees Indonesian authorities said wanted to return to their homeland last month have been able to do so, UN officials said on Tuesday.
Jakarta – UN officials in East Timor raised concern Tuesday about the fate of refugees who chose to be repatriated from squalid camps in Indonesia during an Indonesian-run census last month.
Dili – As a UN security team toured refugee camps near Indonesian controlled West Timor's border with East Timor Tuesday, officials of the world body in Dili warned that pro-Jakarta militias were still intimidating refugees.
Mark Dodd, Dili – Indonesian security forces have arrested 23 hardcore militiamen including the notorious leader of the gang involved in the 1999 massacre in East Timor's Suai cathedral.
Jakarta – More than 100 middle-ranking Indonesian police officers yesterday spoke out against their chief, who has defied his sacking by President Abdurrahman Wahid, accusing him of disobedience.
In a petition issued after a meeting at the national police headquarters, the officers stressed that the Indonesian police were under the ultimate command of the President.
Banda Aceh – Clashes in Indonesia's oil-rich province of Aceh have killed at least 12 people including five suspected separatist rebels, and endangered food supplies to residents, officials said Tuesday.
Guerrillas of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) said they had attacked an outpost of US oil giant ExxonMobil in retaliation for violence directed at locals by security forces.
July 9, 2001
Bandung – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) has asked its supporters across the country to revive community posts in the lead-up to the special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in August.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – A meeting between political leaders and Abdurrahman Wahid set for today will probably fail, making the embattled President appear weaker than ever. But the business of reaching a compromise is going on regardless – behind closed doors.
Maryadi/HD, Jakarta – In rejection to Trisakti-Semanggi House special committee's recommendation to bring the case into military's court not into Human Rights court, around 100 students are attacking the parliament complex this Monday.
Bill Guerin, Jakarta – Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky said "there is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it". The long-running, serialized saga of Indonesia's "Baligate" scandal, however, leaves little new to be said.
Banda Aceh – At least nine people and possibly up to 14 died in weekend violence in Indonesia's blood-drenched Aceh province, the military and residents said Monday.
Robert Go, Jakarta – Mini-marts selling everything from cold drinks and milk to bread and snacks in colourful packages are changing the way Indonesian consumers shop for their daily needs.
Robert Go, Jakarta – While the KPPU anti-monopoly commission is concerned that mini-mart chains such as Indomaret are driving out smaller retailers, the views expressed by individual shopkeepers tell a different story.
Jakarta – American congressman Tony P. Hall said on Saturday that he fully endorsed US humanitarian programs in Indonesia, in spite of Jakarta's failure to punish the perpetrators of violence in East Timor two years ago.
Lee Siew Hua, Washington – US President George W. Bush's administration is seeking congressional support to restore a modest level of contact with the Indonesian military, as part of its overall policy review of a nation important to Asian stability.
The proposals are "quite modest", Mr Tim Rieser, foreign-policy aide to Senator Patrick Leahy told The Straits Times.
July 8, 2001
Jakarta – Embattled President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid received a rare show of support from those who were jailed and persecuted during the New Order era.
Author Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who was imprisoned for years for his writings, which the New Order government considered communistic, said on Saturday the President should not step down.
Jakarta – The United States government has maintained its support for the unitary state of Indonesia, saying it will never back any effort by Aceh separatists to secede from the country, aUS official said in Washington D.C. on Friday.
July 7, 2001
Jakarta – The government called on Friday for more international aid to fulfill the need for free distribution of contraceptives to 8.25 million poor and needy couples next year.
The UN has its own investigation team in East Timor. Some prosecutions have started against minor players. But the power to investigate stops abruptly at the border with West Timor.
Robert Go, Jakarta – Finance Minister Rizal Ramli advised the IMF yesterday to stop micromanaging Indonesia's economy and refrain from setting deadlines for restructuring agency Ibra's asset-sale programme.
Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has stepped up pressure on national police chief General Bimantoro, demanding he relinquish all remaining commands of power, the Jakarta Post reported on Saturday.
July 6, 2001
Dili – East Timor's political parties have agreed to sign a non-violence pact to avoid bloodshed before and after historic elections next month, the United Nations said yesterday.
East Timor will vote on August 30 for a new 88-member governing body that will help draft a constitution and steer the nascent nation to full independence sometime next year.
Jakarta – In a move against money politics, Indonesia's largest political party has proposed an open vote on the political fate of President Abdurrahman Wahid during next month's impeachment session against him.
Jakarta – Australia and East Timor signed a multi-billion dollar agreement Thursday on dividing royalties from oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea despite an unsavoury row between key political leaders.
Jakarta – The Supreme Court continued hearing on Thursday a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of the Golkar Party following allegations of graft and violations of the law on political parties and general elections.
East Timor's big hope for independence was signed yesterday – a pact ensuring the soon-to-be nation has economic security through oil and gas revenue. Tough bargaining between Australia and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor produced a deal to share oil and gas revenues from the Timor Sea.
Jakarta – Indonesia's parliament has sent a written warning to President Abdurrahman Wahid over his sacking of the national police chief and demanded he seek the house's approval for the move, local media reported Friday.
Poso, Central Sulawesi – At least five people attacking the police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) troops in the village of Toyado in Lage district, Poso regency, were shot dead on Thursday.
Jakarta – Embattled Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid Friday again threatened to declare a state of emergency if a hostile parliament tries to impeach him in three weeks time.
Susan Sim, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid's decision yesterday to avail himself again of the services of a savvy politician from Golkar – the party he is trying to dissolve – might be his one lucid move in the flurry of hit-and-run acts that have characterised his attempts to stay in power.
Edward Gargan, Bangsri – The last of central Java's great teakwood forests ends up in places like this, a place filled with the whine of buzz-saws and the burr of electric sanders, a place like Abdul Jambari's garden-furniture workshop.
Achmad Sukarsono, Kediri – Juniarsih has been hand-rolling tobacco for the last 17 years at a big factory run by Gudang Garam, Indonesia's largest cigarette maker, but with little hope things will change.
Jakarta – The assemblyman for Irian Jaya has warned controversial mining company PT Freeport Indonesia not to interfere in the country's political affairs, including the election of the Mimika regency chief. "The company should only take care of its gold, copper and silver mines, and has no right to take part in the nomination of a Mimika regency head," he stressed.
Jakarta – Indonesia has suspended a joint committee with Acehnese rebels that was monitoring security in the province where about 1,000 people are believed to have died this year, reports said Friday.
The suspension was slammed by the Free Aceh (GAM) rebels as one-sided and callous and followed the resumption of talks between Jakarta and GAM in Switzerland last weekend.
July 5, 2001
The United Nations war crimes tribunal against former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic has begun. How will this affect many unsettled cases of human rights violations in Indonesia? Renowned lawyer and executive director of the Jakarta-based Center for Human Rights Studies (Yapusham) Todung Mulya Lubis shares his views.
Nigel Wilson – Billions of dollars in Timor Sea investment remain in doubt despite the signing in Dili today of a framework agreement on sharing revenues from oil and gas developments.
The Prime Minister, Mr Howard, says it is "generous". The Northern Territory Chief Minister, Mr Burke, calls it "extremely generous".
Mark Dodd, Saburai village – After leaving the squalor of a refugee camp in West Timor, one of militia leader Victor Lopes's first acts on returning to his mountain village was to register for East Timor's August 30 elections. Whether he will be able to vote is another issue – a day after arriving home, he surrendered himself into UN police custody.
Jakarta – More than 1000 students and activists grouped under the Greater Jakarta Students Movement (Gema Jaya) and the Committee for Oppressed People (Karat) rallied at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout and the State Palace on Wednesday.
The new Timor Gap agreement was signed today with the tensions of tough negotiations still apparent.
Purwokerto – President Abdurrahman Wahid officially opened the 2001 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Baturraden tourist resort by reciting Al Fatihah verses together with the audience in memory of Attorney General Baharuddin Lopa, who died in Riyadh on Tuesday.
Vaudine England – The sudden death of Attorney-General Baharuddin Lopa has deprived President Abdurrahman Wahid of not just a close friend but also one of his chief weapons against attempts to impeach him.
Robert Go, Jakarta – If Indonesian police chief General Suroyo Bimantoro makes it into the history books, it will be because of how parliament has turned him into yet another thorn in President Abdurrahman Wahid's side.
July 4, 2001
Jakarta – A draft autonomy bill for Indonesia's bloodied Aceh province, which radically multiplies its oil and gas profits but has won little support from Aceh's own leaders, is set to be presented to the government Wednesday.
Craig Skehan – East Timor will receive $7 billion over 20 years under a historic agreement with Australia on the sharing of oil and gas revenues from fields in the Timor Sea.
"It will make the difference between being mired in poverty and having a chance to provide a better life for the people," East Timor's chief negotiator, Mr Peter Galbraith, said last night.
Kerryn williams, Jakarta – "It's become much worse since the economic crisis. There are more homeless people, more street singers, and more street sellers", Onie told me, before turning back to his battered guitar and filling the tiny office of the Popular Youth Movement with songs of love and struggle.
Jakarta – Leaders of major youth organizations warned supporters of President Abdurrahman Wahid not to engage in any anarchic activity as they would be ready to take counter actions during the special session of the People's Consultative Assembly on August 1.