Elected on October 20, 1999 amid a growing division among people – especially between supporters of B.J. Habibie and those of Megawati Soekarnoputri – Abdurrahman, or Gus Dur, was the escape hatch. He was, for many, "the lesser" of several evils. Does this view still hold now? The Jakarta Post recently asked a number of people to "grade" Gus Dur's performance over thepast year.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
October 20, 2000
October 19, 2000
Joanna Jolly, Kupang – Former Indonesian president Bacharuddin Habibie vowed to cleanse East Timor of "everything but ants" if it voted for independence, militia leaders claim.
The East Timorese militia holed up in West Timor say they are ready to release evidence implicating Mr Habibie and his generals in the destruction of East Timor in return for political asylum.
Michael Millett, Tokyo – International donors will provide another $US4.8 billion in aid for Indonesia, despite expressing serious misgivings about its political, economic and environmental performance over the past year.
Budi Sugiharto/BI & GB, Surabaya – Around 15,000 workers from PT Maspion, an Indonesian electrical manufacturing company in Sidoarjo, Surabaya, East Java, have continued their strike action from Wednesday into Thursday demanding an increase in their meal and transport allowances.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Police have backed away from today's deadline for the lowering of separatist flags in West Papua, saying that any attempt to enforce it would have provoked more bloody clashes in the troubled Indonesian province.
Jakarta – An East Timorese militia leader claimed yesterday his life was in danger because he had threatened to expose details of the Indonesian army's involvement in last year's destruction of the territory.
Titis Widyatmoko/Hendra & PT, Jakarta – Chairman of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) Budiman Sudjatmiko has met the National Ombudsman Commission, complaining about the continuing blundering process involving the civil case of 13 officials who have been charged for their involvement in the July 27 incident.
Jakarta – The government is revamping the State Intelligence Coordinating Board (Bakin) in order to gain accurate information and intelligence data, Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday. Susilo said Bakin would be given a new name, National Intelligence Agency (BIN).
Jakarta – The government says it will form a new intelligence body so that President Abdurrahman Wahid will receive reliable information and no longer have to rely on rumors and hearsay.
Jakarta – Indonesia's underfunded military should be allowed to hold on to its vast business interests, as long it ensures they are more accountable and transparent, experts and military officials said Thursday.
John McBeth, Jakarta – Lenders are likely to have harsh words for Indonesia when they meet in Tokyo on October 17-18, if a promise to disarm and dismantle pro-Indonesian militias in West Timor isn't kept. The signs are not good. It has been five weeks since militia members hacked to death three United Nations workers in the border town of Atambua.
Jakarta – Scepticism ran high in the Indonesian capital on Thursday at a reported claim by East Timorese ex-militiamen that former president BJ Habibie had personally ordered the violence in East Timor last year.
October 18, 2000
Michael Millett, Tokyo – Indonesia yesterday parried criticism of its performance on everything from human rights to the environment as it sought to persuade the international community to hand over another $A9.2 billion to ease its crippling financial problems.
Chaidir Anwar Tanjung/GB Detik, Pekanbaru – Negotiations with angry locals continue to produce few results at Caltexs Riau operations in Sumatra and four vehicles owned by the company have again been seized. Meanwhile, a member of the Riau government has called on the company to give some ground and for locals to control themselves, fearing the fields may go up in flames.
Andrew Perrin – Adriano Almeida da Carmo owns the most popular restaurant in the mountain town of Ainaro, in central west East Timor. There is little to recommend it. Chair legs slip through the cracks of the homemade bamboo floor where customers perch precariously, the food is poor, the beer is warm, and, when night falls, the restaurant is plunged into pitch black.
David Roche – Back in the heady days of the early 1990s, Southeast Asia was in the middle of an economic miracle. Meetings between Asian and European trade ministers were occasions for Asian ministers to explain to their counterparts how Asia did it. Foreign investors were falling over themselves to lend money to Asian banks or invest in or set up Asian companies.
Jakarta – Jakarta Police Chief Inspector General Nurfaizi and East Java Police Chief Inspector General Dai Bachtiar were among 31 middle and high ranking officers who lost their positions in a reshuffle yesterday.
Susan Sim, Jakarta – Indonesia's tough new army chief will soon invite public auditors to scrutinise the accounts of the service's many business companies and foundations. And if evidence of any illegal activity is found against any officer or soldier, he will throw the book at the culprits, General Endriartono Sutarto vowed yesterday.
Jakarta – Conflict between three factions within the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) is hampering efforts to reform the military, says an academic. Marcus Mietzner, a military analyst from the Australian National University (ANU), says the three factions are radical, moderate and conservative.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – The leader of Indonesia's highest legislative body said yesterday that the country was desperately in need of a new leadership, one that was based on an alliance between Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri and Parliamentary Speaker Akbar Tandjung as her running mate.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – National Assembly (MPR) chairman Amien Rais warned yesterday that Aceh and Irian Jaya could break apart from Indonesia in one to two years' time if Jakarta did nothing to address separatist pressures there.
Jakarta – The last governor of East Timor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares said on Tuesday that he preferred an international tribunal to try human rights violations which occurred after the referendum in the former Indonesian territory, saying it was fairer that the country's judicial system.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jayapura – Pro-independence leaders and militia in West Papua vowed yesterday to defy a government order to pull down the separatist Morning Star flag by tomorrow, setting the stage for more violence in the Indonesian province.
DSB & HD/GB, Jakarta – New revised laws concerning the introduction and implementation of a State of Emergency are to be passed by the parliament by 30 October according to the Minister of Justice and Human Rights. However, Indonesias four leading legal and human rights organisations have condemned the legislation and urged the government and House to reject it outright.
October 17, 2000
Jakarta – A witness in the multimillion dollar graft trial of timber baron Mohamad "Bob" Hasan told a court hearing on Monday that in 1992 then president Soeharto ordered that a forestry mapping permit be granted to a firm belonging to the defendant.
Jakarta – Indonesia should again be able to achieve rice self-sufficiency, as it did in 1985, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bungaran Saragih said here yesterday.
Data from the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry shows that the countrys annual rice consumption is now 30 million tons, while world market supply has only reached 20 million tons.
Jakarta – Four former leaders of pro-Indonesia militias who helped run a campaign of wholesale murder and looting in East Timor last year have offered to reveal everything they know in exchange for guarantees of safety.
Prosecutors in Indonesia have admitted that six of the 22 suspects wanted for questioning in connection with human rights abuses in East Timor last year have gone missing.
A spokesman for the attorney-general's office said they included some of the most notorious pro-Jakarta militia leaders accused of carrying out atrocities during the independence referendum last August.
Tokyo – Protestors on Tuesday appealed to a meeting here of Indonesia's donor nations to force Jakarta to address human-rights abuses before releasing any new aid.
Maryadi/Fitri & GB, Pontianak – Tensions between the entrenched Governor of West Kalimantan and the coalition of students and other civilians who want to see him ousted and are on the boil again. An all-in brawl resulted Tuesday when Aspar's supporters occupied the provincial government's offices and then met anti-Aspar demonstrators.
Jakarta – The US Embassy yesterday rejected reports that Ambassador Robert Gelbard had tried to intervene in the selection of the countrys new Army chief.
Jakarta – Tourist arrivals in Indonesia dropped 2.19 percent in August to 374,900 people due to security worries during the Annual Session of the People's Consultative Assembly held in the same month, according to data issued by the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS).
Banda Aceh – The campaign of violence perpetrated by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) separatist rebels over the past 10 months has claimed 74 lives, police said here on Monday.
Jakarta – Former home affairs minister Syarwan Hamid was yesterday named a suspect in the 1996 attack on the headquarters of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI). Syarwan, a retired lieutenant general, was head of the militarys social and political affairs department at the time of the brutal attack.
October 16, 2000
Jakarta – Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman says the loss of documents concerning the mishandling of emergency support funds from Bank Indonesia in a fire on Thursday will not hamper investigations into the case.
Jakarta – Some 50,000 of the around 500,000 workers employed in 90 footwear factories could face dismissal due to the government's prolonged ban on the import of leather raw materials from South Korea and Japan, a footwear industry executive warned.
Jakarta – The largest crude oil producer in Indonesia says it has lost 30,000 barrels a day of output this year because of civil unrest.
More than 100 institutional investors have shown interest in buying some of the US$62 billion in assets managed by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (Ibra) at a roadshow in Hong Kong last week. Agency vice-chairman Arwin Rasyid said the positive response from investors revealed their confidence in the Indonesian economy.
Tokyo – Activists on Monday urged international donors preparing to meet in Tokyo this week to cut Indonesia's vast debt and tackle wrenching poverty.
Indonesia is to estimate its debt next year at 4.9 billion dollars during the World Bank-backed Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, according to Japanese reports.
Jakarta – PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia, struggling against disruptions caused by protesting villagers who are demanding jobs, has been accused of using bombs to find oil sources in Riau province.
Bandung – Air pollution resulting from gas emissions has become an obvious problem here, with the local Environmental Impact Management Agencyoffice estimating the number of vehicles exceeding the tolerable exhaust emission limit at 36 percent.
Mataram – A bomb exploded at multinational mining company PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara [NNT] on Friday. The bomb blast, which occurred at around 3.15 am, shattered the backside walls of the company and could be heard three kilometers away from the location. There has been no immediate report on whether there are any casualties.
Jakarta – Some 100 armed men in Muslim clothes, stormed the Kawanua puband restaurant on Jl. Abdullah Syafi'i in Tebet district, South Jakarta, inthe early hours of Sunday.
They smashed the pub's windows, chairs and tables, musical instruments, the bar, the kitchen and toilets, causing the owner of the building to suffer millions of rupiah in damages.
Aulia Andri/Fitri & GB, Medan – Up to 30,000 employees of PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) II of North Sumatra went on strike Monday while some 2000 others held a lively demonstration at the North Sumatra Provincial Legislative Council demanding their employer implement a previously negotiated work agreement.
Hamish Mcdonald, Dili – A quarter century ago, just about the time most readers will open this newspaper at home or on the way to work, five young television newsmen from Sydney and Melbourne were shot and stabbed to death while trying to surrender to Indonesian soldiers at the village of Balibo west of here.
October 15, 2000
Ulfie MS dan Swastika/GB, Jakarta – Violence erupted Saturday night near Ratu Plaza on Jl Moestopo, South Jakarta, in what is normally a busy and up-market shopping district when punks hanging out in the area clashed with a truck-load of Mobile Brigade police troops.
Jakarta – The government will maintain the state of civil emergency in the strife torn islands of Maluku as sectarian riots are still raging, Indonesia's top security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said.
Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid yesterday revealed he had personally rejected a request by the youngest son of former President Suharto for a review of his 18-month Supreme Court sentence for corruption.
Jakarta – State human-rights investigators yesterday implicated 23 military personnel in the massacre of 33 Muslim protesters in 1984 at the height of the New Order government under Mr Suharto.
The National Human Rights Commission submitted its findings in a report to the Attorney-General's Office and recommended that the 23 be made the focus of a criminal investigation.
Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid's former personal masseur, a suspect in a scam involving billions of dollars, has been arrested after months on the run, reports said today.