Bernard Lagan and Louise Williams – The Government's links to Indonesia were under strong attack last night after Jakarta refused to allow an Australian Government-appointed investigator into East Timor to gather new evidence on military abuses.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
November 30, 1998
November 29, 1998
Jakarta – A special committee of the House of Representatives agreed on Thursday to retain the old proportional representation (PR) system for next year's general election, but with major improvements to make it more democratic.
November 28, 1998
Greg Earl, Jakarta – Indonesia is moving quickly towards a policy of redistributing wealth through new Government policies with several key economic officials signalling support for affirmative action.
Louise Williams, Surabaya – Australia would maintain a close working relationship with Indonesia's armed forces, despite increasing domestic and international criticism over the shooting of student protesters in Jakarta earlier this month and concerns of more civil unrest ahead, the Defence Minister, Mr Moore, said yesterday.
November 27, 1998
Jakarta – Most Indonesian students and academics believe the people of troubled East Timor should be allowed to decide their own future, according to an opinion poll.
Asked for the best solution to the problem, 66.5 percent wanted the East Timorese people to decide on their own future, while only 7.7 percent wanted the matter to be left to the Indonesian government.
Jakarta – A challenge laid down by the youngest son of former president Soeharto calling for people to prove the wrongdoings of his father and family has galvanized the student movement in the capital.
Jakarta – Workers of shoe producer PT Emperor Footwear Indonesia complained on Thursday of being tortured while staging a protest early this week at the factory's site in Bantar Gebang, Bekasi.
November 26, 1998
Jakarta – Birds and flowers featured in demonstrations on Wednesday as women took to the streets in several cities to mark the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Students also urged an end to the "politics of violence," but 54 were hurt in rallies in Semarang.
November 25, 1998
Christopher Henning, London – The former Australian ambassador to Indonesia Mr Philip Flood has rejected claims that he withheld information from the Australian Government concerning the murder of wounded Timorese at the time of the Dili massacre. Mr Flood is now Australia's high commissioner in London.
Jakarta – Former Indonesian president Suharto has handed over seven charity foundations he chaired, worth some four trillion rupiah (530 million dollars), to the government, a senior minister said here Wednesday.
Kafil Yamin. Jakarta – Besieged by convulsions of violence, Indonesia's government faces more trouble from another flank – provinces and territories that want greater autonomy or even secession.
Jakarta – Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights will investigate accusations that soldiers executed as many as 50 people in East Timor earlier this month in a military operation against armed rebels in the troubled province, the Government said Tuesday.
Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – As thousands of student demonstrators kept up their pressure on the Habibie government by continuing their protest movement into the third straight week, political analysts expressed reservations on their ability to sustain the movement.
Jakarta – Former president Suharto and his relatives own 174,490 hectares (430,990 acres) of land in West Java province, according to an official inquiry reported Wednesday.
The head of the National Land Office (BPN) in West Java, Masri Asyik, said most of the land was registered under the names of Suharto's late wife, children and companies, the Kompas daily reported.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Thousands of student protesters occupied the grounds of the Attorney-General's office in Jakarta yesterday, demanding the trial of former president Soeharto, after immigration officials confirmed Mr Soeharto's youngest son had been banned from leaving Indonesia pending a corruption inquiry.
Jakarta – Thousands of students organized in the Student's Senate Communication Forum of whole Jakarta (FKSMJ) and Universitas Trisakti students (Usakti) succeeded to "occupy" the Attorney General's Office at No. 1 Jl Sultan Hasanuddin, S Jakarta, Tuesday (24/11) since 12.15 WIT.
Greg Earl, Jakarta – Indonesia's political reform process has hit a new obstacle with signs that the Parliament might substantially change the Government's plans for a new direct electoral system at the June election.
November 24, 1998
Jakarta – Indonesian students returned to the streets Tuesday to press for reforms as the capital braced for more mass demonstrations, with heavy security deployed around strategic spots leading to the Monas square in Central Jakarta.
Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – As the death toll from Sunday's bloody clashes between rival ethnic groups rose to 13 yesterday, President B J Habibie expressed concern about the deteriorating social order in the capital city and promised to finance the reconstruction of churches damaged during the rioting.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Sunday's riots may have been engineered by elite groups to divert attention away from political issues that threaten the Government, analysts said yesterday. They could also be the beginning of a new season of unrest in the tense Indonesian capital.
(Summary/translation by Down to Earth) – A policeman was rushed to hospital in Medan with a serious head injury after being beaten up in a confrontation on Monday 23rd November between security forces and local people at Porsea, North Tapanuli, North Sumatra. Another police officer suffered wounds to the back and leg.
Jakarta – Four people were wounded when troops opened fire with rubber bullets to break up a demonstration by thousands of protesters angered by the shooting of a man guarding a much-protested pulp and paper in North Sumatra, reports said Tuesday.
"It is calm there now, there is no more violence," a police spokesman said of the conditions in Porsea.
Greg Earl, Jakarta – The beleaguered government of President B.J. Habibie appears to be extending its influence into the ownership of Indonesia's television stations in what may be a new attempt to revive its political fortunes.
November 23, 1998
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) has received reports from reliable sources in East Timor about the extra-judicial execution of approximately 50 East Timorese people between 10 and 16 November, 1998. The executions took place during a military operation by members of the Indonesian military (ABRI) in the sub-district of Alas in the south of East Timor.
Reiner S, Jakarta – Foreign investors will not enter Indonesia's cash-strapped banking sector if uncertainty in the political and economic fields continues, according to a foreign fund manager.
November 21, 1998
After being trapped in a culture of violence for decades, the people of Indonesia have exploded, with devastating consequences, reports Louise Williams in Jakarta.
The history student had already been beaten to the floor in the lobby of a Jakarta bank, where the protesters and bystanders had tried to seek shelter from the barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets outside.
Jakarta – Minister of Defense and Security/Armed Forces (ABRI) Chief Gen. Wiranto on Friday held a meeting with a number of retired generals, including those known to be critical of the military.
Dili – Student organisations in Dili, the capital of East Timor, will hold a big demonstration on Monday to protest against a bloodbath perpetrated by the Indonesian army in Alas, a sub-district of about 1,000 inhabitants. According to reliable sources, between 9 and 19 November, at least 50 people were killed, including the village head. Others speak of more than 100 casualties.
[The following is a delayed posting which was included as it provides very a graphic description of the violence by the military on November 13-14 - James Balowski.]
Jonathan Head – I squatted down as low as possible in the marble porch of the office block, acutely conscious that I presented a much larger target than the Indonesians beside me.
Jakarta – Indonesian President B.J. Habibie is to set up a special commission to probe former strongman Suharto's wealth in line with a decree issued last week by the country's highest legislature, state secretary Akbar Tanjung said Saturday.
November 20, 1998
Lisbon – Portugal Friday suspended a New York meeting with the United Nations and Indonesia over East Timor, following intelligence reports of a massacre in the disputed territory, officials said Friday.
We have been informed by Solidamor in Jakarta that major military operations are underway in sub-district Alas, district of Manufahi. The Indonesian military have launched these operations in retaliation for the capture of two of their men who are being held prisoner by FALINTIL, following an attack on the local military command, Koramil, in Alas.
Jakarta – The Indonesian government has found evidence of misappropriation of state funds by companies building a tollroad owned by the eldest daughter of former president Suharto, a senior official said Friday.
November 19, 1998
Jakarta – An Indonesian rights group has accused the military of provoking clashes between security forces and students that left 16 dead last week, a report said Thursday.
"A number of hoodlums were recruited and paid," by the military to take part, the Independent Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence said.
Jakarta – Members of the University of Indonesia faculty, in a moving eulogy to their students slain last Friday in a clash with security personnel at Atma Jaya University, blamed the tragedy on Armed Forces Commander Gen. Wiranto and demanded that he resign.
Paul Daley – Australia's relationship with Indonesia will be further strained by new revelations that the Indonesian Army has bolstered its forces in Aceh, contrary to its claim of having scaled-down its military presence in the strife-torn province.
Jakarta – Some 3,000 students Thursday began to march in central Jakarta in the second attempt this week to protest outside the posh residence of fallen Indonesian president Suharto.
November 18, 1998
Jakarta, – Seven students were seriously injured and rushed to the hospital after clashes with soldiers in eastern Indonesia, reports here said Wednesday The students, from Pattimura University in Ambon, the main city in Maluku province, were among hundreds demonstrating against the violence used to quell protests in Jakarta that left 14 dead and more than 400 injured, the Antara ne
Jakarta – An estimated 10,000 students returned to rally in the streets on Wednesday afternoon (18 Nov). They scattered flowers in memory of their slain fellows in the 12-13 November Tragedy at the Semanggi interchange. Students were divided into two large masses, the City Forum (FORKOT=Forum Kota) and the Students' Action Forum for Reform and Democracy (FAMRED).
Jakarta – A number of "mysterious" people armed with a type of UZI-type handguns were discovered by Team of Volunteers for Humanity and KONTRAS activists during and after the Bloody Semanggi Tragedy, 13 November l998. These mysterious men were discovered in the vicinity of the Jakarta Hospital and a street behind the Atmajaya University.
Hamish Mcdonald – Australia's ambassador in Jakarta was told by a key Indonesian army officer a few weeks after the massacre at Dili's Santa Cruz cemetery on November 12, 1991, that on the same day, Indonesian soldiers and intelligence agents had killed a further 20 to 25 Timorese around the city.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – The former governor of East Timor has broken his silence on the 1991 Dili massacre, claiming dozens more people were executed and secretly buried at two sites in the month after the initial bloodshed at the Santa Cruz cemetery.
November 17, 1998
Jakarta – Tight security remained in force in Central Jakarta Tuesday despite a semblance of calm as flags were flown at half-mast in memory of the 14 killed in violent weekend clashes between students and security forces.
Louise Williams and Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Claims that opposition figures were guilty of inciting rebellion meant the Habibie Government was now "panicking" and had lost all its remaining legitimacy, a former environment minister, Mr Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, said yesterday.
November 16, 1998
Jakarta – Two people were shot dead and five others injured during a five-hour stand off between police and a rebel group in Indonesia's troubled province of Aceh, sources and press reports said Monday.
Greg Earl, Jakarta – As a line of Marines suddenly broke formation on the main road to Indonesia's Parliament about 3pm on Saturday, the students pushing down the tollway erupted into cheers of joy.
Don Greenlees, Jakarta – Indonesian President B. J. Habibie has conceded for the first time that he may have to speed up presidential elections after mobs angry over the killing of university students by security forces went on a weekend rampage of looting and burning in Jakarta.
This preliminary data was obtained from a number journalists and checked against data from Kontras (Committee of the Disappeared and Victims of Violence).
Jakarta – A number of well know figures including retired high ranking military officers have been "secured" by the police following the riots in Jakarta on Friday and Saturday last week, which resulted in the death of scores of people.
Jakarta – East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao has spelled out his blueprint for the territory's gradual independence from Indonesia, a process he said should take several years and possibly involve UN peace-keeping forces.