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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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January 17, 1999

Student Solidarity with the People - January 17, 1999 (slightly abridged)

The security forces have yet again behaved brutally towards Acehnese people. The incident occured at around 1.30am on Sunday 17 January in front of the police station in Blang Jereun, Lhkosukon, North Aceh, when members of the police force opened fire on a group of people who were taking a casualty of a traffic accident to hospital.

January 16, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 16, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian police have shot 41 highway robbers and arrested 362 others along the northern Java island coast as part of a drive to safeguard travelling for millions of people during the Moslem Eid-el-Fitr celebrations.

Jakarta Post - January 16, 1999

Jakarta – The country's crippled rupiah tumbled again on Friday to hit an intraday low of 9,300 against the U.S. dollar as stock prices plunged 1.5 percent for the third consecutive day.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 16, 1999

Louise Williams, Jakarta – "Indonesia is not so fragile," scoffed a former Indonesian ambassador in response to Canberra's claim that an independent East Timor would empower other separatist movements and threaten Indonesia's disintegration.

The Australian - January 16, 1999

Don Greenlees, Jakarta – Indonesia is angry and the East Timorese are cynical. As Don Greenlees reports, the Howard Government's policy switch on Timor always ran the risk of pleasing no one

Jakarta Post - January 16, 1999

Clashes among residents from several villages in the district of Sabbang in LUWU regency which have killed at least three people and injured dozens more continued on Thursday.

Australian Financial Review - January 16, 1999

Greg Earl, Jakarta – The Indonesian Government has warned domestic critics it would be courting disaster to back away from a 300 trillion rupiah ($50 billion) bank recapitalisation program which is about to begin.

January 15, 1999

Indonesian Observer - January 15, 1999

Jakarta – East Timor Governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares stressed that he would not resign, despite growing calls for his resignation on the part of prominent local public figures who rallied around the local House of representatives yesterday.

Indonesian Observer - January 15, 1999

Jakarta – Several former high-ranking military and government officers, staunchly critical to the Habibie government, are set to officially launch a new political party in Jakarta today.

Waspada - January 15, 1999 (Slightly abridged)

Hundreds of students demonstrated outside the Aceh regional assembly – DPRD – calling for a referendum expressing their deep disappointment with the central government's failure to call human rights violators in Aceh to account.

Associated Press - January 15, 1999

Jakarta – The total number of Indonesian now living in poverty has reached 130 million, a sharp increase from 80 million in mid-last year, an official report said Friday. Two years ago, the number of the poor in the crisis-ridden Indonesia was only 20 million.

January 14, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 14, 1999

Jakarta – Some 25,000 police will be deployed in the Indonesian capital to keep order during the Moslem Eid-el-Fitr holiday next week, a report said Thursday.

"We are deploying 25,000 personnel to safeguard security in the capital area druing Lebaran (Eid-el-Fitr)," Jakarta police chief Major General Nugroho Jayusman said, according to the Media Indonesia daily.

Lusa - January 14, 1999

Maputo, Jan 14 (Lusa) - Mari Alkatiri, first vice-president of Fretilin, told Lusa in Maputo on Wednesday that while being "ambiguous" Australia's new policy towards East Timor amounted to a "substantial change." Alkatiri made the statement in reaction to the Australian government's announcement earlier this week that it was now supporting East Timor's right of self-determination as

January 13, 1999

Jakarta Post - January 13, 1999

Jakarta – "Deep mistrust" among factions and government representatives has been blamed for the House of Representatives' failure on Tuesday to notch up any progress in its deliberation of the political role of the country's 4.1 million public servants.

Reuters - January 13, 1999

Tomi Soetjipto, Jakarta – Indonesia's military said on Wednesday it would court-martial 27 soldiers accused of torturing to death civilians in the restive province of Aceh.

Reuters - January 13, 1999

Andrew Marshall, Jakarta – The Indonesian rupiah dropped more than five percent against the dollar on Wednesday on regional weakness, fears of fresh domestic unrest and wrangling over the new budget.

Jakarta Post - January 13, 1999

Jakarta – At least 39,800 hectares of plantations were looted during 1998, causing an estimated material loss of around Rp 196 billion (about US$26 million), a senior official of the Ministry of Forestry and Plantations has said.

Straits Times - January 13, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia could lose US$5 billion in foreign investment due to political and security problems, Investment Minister Hamzah Haz was quoted as saying yesterday.

Asia Inc - January 13, 1999

It's late on Saturday afternoon, but the man who runs the fourth-largest nation on earth isn't anticipating any weekend relaxation. I have the mentality of a bicycle, says President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie of Indonesia. If I stop, I fall.

Indonesian Observer - January 13, 1999

Bandung – West Java Police Chief Major General Chairuddin yesterday said his office would deploy sharpshooters along coastal roads to protect travelers during the post-Ramadhan festivities of Idul Fitri.

Dozens of snipers will assist hundreds of existing security forces dressed to save millions of motorists from possible attacks, looting and theft, he said.

Agence France Presse - January 13, 1999

Jakarta – A professor at the state-run University of Indonesia (UI) Wednesday took off his blue government-issue shirt at a campus here to symbolize the teaching staff's break from the ruling Golkar party.

Agence France Presse - January 13, 1999

Jakarta – A controversial Indonesian minister has broken ranks with the ruling Golkar party ahead of general elections in June, raising speculation he has his own political ambitions, sources and reports said Wednesday.

Siar - January 13, 1999

[The following is a summary translation of two reports from Siar news service posted by Down To Earth.]

Canberra Times - January 13, 1999

Lincoln Wright – Risking possible friction with Jakarta, the Labor Party has backed a policy of funding an autonomous or independent East Timor using Indonesia's share of the oil and gas revenue from the Timor Gap.

Indonesian Observer - January 13, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), currently experiencing its lowest level of popularity, is likely to get up to 40 seats in the House of Representatives, according to the latest deliberations of new political bills.

Associated Press - January 13, 1999

Jakarta – In one of Indonesia's first student protests of 1999, a small group of activists demonstrated Thursday against the arrests of two students on kidnapping charges.

Some 30 students gathered outside the South Jakarta District Court, where the two suspects face trial for allegedly abducting and torturing a plainclothes policeman at a Nov. 27 rally.

January 12, 1999

Serambi Indonesia - January 12, 1999

Serambi-Jakarta – Kontras, the Commission for Missing Persons and to Combat Violence, believes that ABRI, the armed forces, must take responsibility for the assault on detainees during which four persons died. The incident must be thoroughly investigated, said Munir, the director of Kontras in a press conference in Jakarta.

Indonesian Observer - January 12, 1999

Jakarta – The Jordanian ambassador yesterday said former president Soeharto's reviled son-in-law, Prabowo Subianto, who is suspected of engineering a series of kidnappings and mass riots, had never applied for citizenship in his country.

Indonesian Observer - January 12, 1999

Jakarta – The ruling Golkar party's insistence that civil servants be allowed to join political parties is caused by a "sinking ship syndrome", because it sees the bureaucracy as its only lifeboat, says a political analyst.

South China Morning Post - January 12, 1999

Vaudine England, Jakarta – The nation's greatest living writer, imprisoned by former president Suharto, is trying to reclaim the house taken from him 33 years ago. So far, he is having little luck.

"It feels like just more spite and revenge against me," said Pramoedya Ananta Toer from the house in which he has spent years under house arrest.

Agence France Presse - January 12, 1999

Jakarta – Two activists kidnapped in the last months of the Suharto regime Tuesday refused to testify about their ordeal at the court martial of 11 soldiers charged with the abduction of scores of political campaigners.

But a third witness, politician Haryanto Taslam of the Indonesian Democracy Party of opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, agreed to give his testimony.

Jakarta Post - January 12, 1999

Jakarta – Student movement groups have vowed to take to the streets of the capital again shortly after the Idul Fitri holidays to voice their strong objections to this year's planned general election, their leaders said Monday.

Indonesian Observer - January 12, 1999

Jakarta – Some 3,000 workers at a tile factory in Bekasi, east of Jakarta, held a massive protest yesterday to press their demands for Idul Fitri bonus payouts. The workers also demanded that members of the firm's internal cooperative be sacked, because they always "squandered" the obligatory contributions of the staff.

Washington Post - January 12, 1999

Atika Shubert, Lhokseumawe – Muhammad, a 20-year old villager near the town of Lhokseumawe, was shot in the leg last week during the Indonesian military's latest campaign to quell separatist ambitions here in the restive province of Aceh. His grandfather, M.

Jakarta Post - January 12, 1999

Jakarta – Women activists and scholars, demanding a greater say in politics, are urging that at least 30 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives be allotted to women legislators.

Agence France Presse - January 12, 1999

Sydney – The Australian government announced Tuesday it will press Indonesia to grant East Timor an act of self-determination in a policy shift which East Timorese activists immediately said does not go far enough.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 12, 1999

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Indonesian military will today begin sending more than 100 refugees camped in the East Timorese capital of Dili, who fled ongoing security operations around their villages, back to their homes.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 12, 1999

Comment by Hamish Mcdonald – Could Alexander Downer be playing a deep double game with the Indonesians? Could he be luring them into agreeing to an act of self-determination by encouraging their hopes that it will result in some autonomy formula without East Timor leaving Indonesian hands?

January 11, 1999

Straits Times - January 11, 1999

Jakarta – This city is facing the prospect of buckling under the strain of a number of serious social problems resulting from sharp increases in the number of jobless people and a continuing influx of migrants, a government official has warned.

BBC World News - January 11, 1999

[The following is the text of a report by Portuguese radio on January 8.]

Reuters - January 11, 1999 (abridged)

Angela Tresnasari, Jakarta – Indonesia's military said on Monday it had arrested 30 soldiers in the restive province of Aceh for beating to death and torturing suspected separatist rebels at the weekend.

Jakarta Post - January 11, 1999

Jakarta – The government is scheduled to repeal the Subversion Law next week in response to fierce public criticism and in order to bring the Criminal Code into accordance with the recently approved anti-torture convention.

January 10, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 10, 1999

Jakarta – Thousands shouting "Long Live Mrs. President" turned out Sunday to hear opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri launch her campaign for Indonesia's first elections since the fall of Suharto.

Reuters - January 10, 1999

Jakarta – Thousands of villagers went on a rampage in Indonesia's South Sumatra, torching vehicles and houses after four suspected thieves were beaten to death by residents of another village, witnesses said on Monday.

January 9, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 9, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian troops raided a village suspected of harboring a separatist leader holding two military hostages in troubled Aceh province Saturday, arresting 37 residents, the military said.

January 8, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 8, 1999

Jakarta – A 28-year-old political activist testified at a court martial here Friday that he was subjected to repeated electric shock treatment after being abducted during the last months of the Suharto regime.

Jakarta Post - January 8, 1999

Jakarta – The Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP) now has volunteers in 62 cities in 22 provinces, its secretary general, Mulyana W. Kusumah, said on Thursday. Mulyana told The Jakarta Post that he could not give the total number of volunteers because registration was still in progress.

Agence France Presse - January 8, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – A 40-strong delegation of representatives from the Indonesian province of Aceh Friday called on President B.J. Habibie to swiftly punish human rights violators in the troubled province.

Businessworld - January 8, 1999

Have you ever heard of the rumor that the ethnic Chinese, who comprise less than 4% of the Indonesian population, but control 70% of that country's economy? Well, according to a Chinese-Indonesian priest who visited the Philippines recently, many journalists fell for it without even checking the facts.

January 7, 1999

Reuters - January 7, 1999

Jakarta – The leader of Indonesia's largest Moslem organisation on Thursday accused followers of former President Suharto of instigating a wave of ethnic and religious violence that has shaken the country in recent months.