Jakarta – The Armed Forces (ABRI) has threatened to take stern action against anyone attempting to disrupt the Nov. 10 through Nov. 13 Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) as it believes the event is the "only gateway" to a democratic Indonesia.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
November 5, 1998
Jakarta – A group of 50 retired military officials, former prosecutors and businessmen yesterday joined the popular faction of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) led by Megawati Soekarnoputri.
November 4, 1998
Jeremy Wagstaff and Puspa Madani, Jakarta – A government-appointed team of generals, activists and officials has concluded its three-month investigation into riots that swept Indonesia in May, saying more than 60 women were raped and suggesting the unrest was stoked by a power struggle within the government.
Jakarta – The government line is that the Banyuwangi killing spree in East Java, which began in August and has since spread to Central and West Java, is a purely criminal case.
Andreas Harsono – While Indonesians await the People's Consultative Assembly convention next month, State Secretary Akbar Tanjung is maneuvering within the ruling party. Andreas Harsono writes.
November 3, 1998
Michael Thurston, Austria – UN-sponsored talks between East Timorese leaders broke down Tuesday without agreement on their demands for the future of the former Portuguese colony, delegates said.
Agencies in Dili and Jakarta – East Timorese resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta claims Indonesian troops have launched a major offensive against separatist rebels in the province.
Bandung – Army Chief of Staff Gen. Subagyo Hadisiswoyo vigorously defended on Monday the Armed Forces' business ventures, contending that all profits went to improve military personnel's welfare.
[The following is a translation of press release issued on October 10, 1998, by a number of Indonesian NGOS with regard to Mobil oil's activities in Aceh. For reasons of space, the full list of signatories was not included - James Balowski.]
November 2, 1998
Jakarta – Villagers in the Indonesian island of Madura have lynched three policemen to death believing them to be part of a wave of "ninja" murders in East Java, a press report said Monday.
Sonny Inbaraj, Darwin – The disclosure of Indonesian army documents revealing higher than stated troop levels in East Timor grossly undermines Jakarta's credibility, amid sensitive talks over the territory's future.
Jakarta – In a sudden about-face, Indonesia's ruling Golkar party Monday proposed that students and opposition politicians be included in a controversial parliamentary session next week, the first since the fall of Suharto.
Jakarta – Indonesian inflation surged to almost 80 percent in October from a year ago, but dipped slightly from the previous month, official data showed Monday.
November 1, 1998
The protests in the weeks immediately surrounding the fall of Suharto were largely mounted by urban-based students, workers and professional groups. Land reform – if mentioned – came at the end of lists of demands for the removal of the president, moves against corruption and reduced food prices. Since then, local communities have taken action into their own hands.
Mobil Oil Indonesia, the country's biggest producer of natural gas, has been linked to serious human rights violations in the war-torn north Sumatran region of Aceh.
Dili – Masked assassins killed an Indonesian policeman in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor Saturday a day after the stabbing murders of three other officials, reports said Sunday. Second Sergeant Josep Florindo Pereira was shot dead by five men believed to be pro-independence fighters at his home, the Antara state news agency and witnesses reported.
The government has produced a new document on transmigration which describes the "achievements" of the past twenty five years and outlines the priorities for the future programme.
A World Bank report on the government's project to convert a million hectares of peat swamp forests into rice-lands reveals how appalling the situation on the ground is.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Fifty organisations not represented in the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) are planning to stage massive protests here during the assembly's special plenary session next week.
October 31, 1998
Don Greenlees and Robert Garran, Jakarta/Canberra – The leak of confidential Indonesian army documents on troop numbers in East Timor yesterday appeared to throw the armed forces headquarters in Dili into confusion.
David Brearley – Australia's Timorese community was celebrating a victory last night it hopes will open the nation's doors to 1500 asylum seekers and free them from legal limbo.
Jakarta – Residents from seven villages in Lampung province destroyed part of a sugarcane plantation owned by Indonesia's largest business establishment, the Salim Group, after the company failed to settle a land dispute, a newspaper said Saturday.
October 30, 1998
Has Australia got the Indonesia relationship right and is it getting it right for the future? We have steered a prudent course but there are times when we must make our voice more clearly heard... especially in military matters. David Jenkins reports.
Karen Polglaze and Buni Yani, Jakarta – Indonesia admitted for the first time today that as many as 18,000 troops may be deployed in East Timor.
Louise Williams – Indonesian and Australian military officials say joint special-forces exercises have been deferred for "technical reasons", but Australian defences sources say Canberra has concerns over the human-rights record of Indonesia's elite troops.
Jakarta – Hundreds of Moslems staged an angry demonstration here Friday to counter demands on the resort island of Bali that a minister step down for insulting Hindus.
Don Greenlees – Confidential Indonesian army documents show the number of combat troops in East Timor has remained steady in recent months, in an embarrassing rebuttal of Jakarta's claims to have started troop withdrawals.
October 29, 1998
Jakarta – Some 300 Moslem students protested in front of parliament Thursday demanding the military ends its political role and calling for an investigation into the wealth of former president Suharto.
Jakarta – A group of Indonesian women Thursday campaigned against state-condoned violence by distributing flowers, pamphlets and black ribbons in a Jakarta main street.
A former Australian diplomat says Australia's Foreign Affairs Department has maintained sensitive files on East Timor. The diplomat says the files showed Australia had prior knowledge of – and agreed with – Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, and, that Foreign Affairs knew years ago that Indonesian soldiers had killed 5 Australian-based journalists.
Jakarta – About 100 workers demonstrated Thursday for the release of a jailed labor activist convicted of organizing a strike while former President Suharto was in power.
The rally came one day after 8,000 students demonstrated outside Indonesia's parliament in the biggest protest to hit the capital since violent unrest forced Suharto's resignation in May.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – A report on the May riots has been delayed twice because military and government members on the inquiry team are opposed to the findings, sources said yesterday.
October 28, 1998
Jakarta – More than 3,000 students rallied near parliament Wednesday to demand Indonesian President B.J. Habibie resign and hand over power to a transitional government free from Suharto-era officials.
Indonesia is struggling to find competent entrepreneurs to fill the vacuum left by ethnic Chinese who fled during the May riots. David Jenkins, Asia Editor, reports.
October 27, 1998
Jay Solomon, Jakarta – President B.J. Habibie's plan to quickly sell off up to $15 billion in assets that debt-hit business groups must transfer to the government to repay loans has alarmed the International Monetary Fund, which has privately warned Jakarta the plan could damage the economy.
The lid has been lifted on Indonesian politics – with 80 parties contesting the first free elections in 43 years. David Jenkins reports.
October 26, 1998
To the outside world, Indonesia looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Even inside the country, there are fears that the upheavals of May which led to the overthrow of President Soeharto will be nothing compared with what lies ahead if the new government of President B.J.
Surabaya – Hundreds of people, angered when police refused to hand over to them a suspected killer, went on the rampage in the East Java town of Pasuruan, reports reaching here said Monday.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesian community groups have for the first time formally joined East Timorese activists in calling for a referendum on independence for the troubled province, saying the East Timorese conflict remains a "major problem" for Jakarta.
Jakarta – A group of some 80 people Monday protested at the gates of the parliament, demanding that political parties be freed from the obligation to adhere to the state ideology "Pancasila".
Don Greenlees – Indonesia's promised national elections could be postponed by up to two months because of delays in putting draft electoral laws to parliament and the likelihood of a drawn-out debate over the country's new political system.
October 25, 1998
Jakarta – Amid a massive show of force, the military warned it will not tolerate disruption of a crucial parliament session which will draw up the political parameters of post-Suharto Indonesia.
October 24, 1998
Louise Williams – It is almost a pathetic image. Once they were the most powerful family in the land, accustomed to trotting the globe in their private aircraft and slicing up the national economy in their opulent living rooms, squabbling over contracts like children sharing out cake.
Washington (Agencies) – The United States on Wednesday banned the use in East Timor of weapons supplied to Indonesia and continued a ban on education and training aid to the Indonesian Armed Forces.
October 23, 1998
Jakarta – At least five workers were injured and 35 others were being interrogated after a clash Friday between police and protesting workers in northern Sumatra, a Indonesia's human right group said Friday.
Jakarta – The World Bank said Friday that a recent investigation conducted by the bank and the Indonesian Ministry of Education uncovered deficiencies and irregularities in the construction of World Bank-financed schools recently completed in East Java and West Sumatra.
October 22, 1998
Jakarta – The government stood its ground during the deliberation of its three political bills on Wednesday insisting that next year's general election use a combination of district and proportional representation systems. Represented by Minister of Home Affairs Lt. Gen.
Surabaya – Following threats made to Moslem preachers by unidentified people here, journalists have been warned that they will be among the next victims in the killing spree which has so far claimed more than 150 lives in East Java. The threats were printed on flyers and circulated widely among the public in the provincial town of Jember.
Andrew Marshall, Jakarta, – Crisis-ridden Indonesia is not short of worries on the economic front, but policy makers are now grappling with an unexpected new concern – is the beleaguered rupiah bouncing back too strongly?
Jakarta – Indonesian President B.J. Habibie said he would not step down before 2000, as surveys published Thursday indicated the nation had mixed feelings on whether he should hang on or go now.