Vaudine England, Jakarta – Fighting between Christian and Muslim villages has flared again in the provinces of Maluku and North Maluku, as experts forecast an eventual partition of the islands with communities of displaced persons.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
November 30, 2000
Jakarta – An Indonesian Christian activist claimed Thursday that 46 people had been slaughtered on a small island of the Malukus chain for refusing to convert to Islam.
Jakarta – One hundred and fifty one members of Indonesia's 500- member lower house of parliament have issued a petition calling for the censure of President Abdurrahman Wahid, whom they accuse of constitutional violations. The petition, which urges the house to issue a memorandum censuring Wahid, was handed to house speaker Akbar Tanjung late Wednesday.
Jakarta – Some 134,000 East Timor refugees residing in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province will have to decide whether to stay or leave the country in a one-day registration slated for December 13, officials said on Wednesday.
Jakarta – Irian Jaya Police arrested on Wednesday proindependence figure Theys Hiyo Eluay for alleged treason as people in the province were bracing for a rally to commemorate the unrecognized 1961 declaration of independence on Friday.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Confusion in Indonesia surrounding the whereabouts of Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra has reached new levels with the naming of his father-in-law as a possible conspirator in his disappearance, and persistent rumours of a deal with the President to allow his escape.
Agencies in Jakarta and Jayapura – Police in Irian Jaya yesterday arrested Papuan independence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay for allegedly fomenting rebellion as the troubled province geared up to commemorate the 39th anniversary of its failed effort to win independence.
November 29, 2000
Max Lane – Since August, a new left-wing theoretical magazine, Jurnal Kiri (Left Journal), has been published in Indonesia.
Three editions of the 160-page magazine have appeared. Its general editor is Marlin, who is also member of the editorial board of Links, an Australian-based Marxist journal.
Tim Dodd – Like the two frayed ends of a rope, the provinces at either end of the 5,000km-long Indonesian archipelago are the weak points which look ready to unravel the country.
They are like two opposite poles which are pulling at Indonesia's fragile unity – Aceh, the Muslim province at the extreme west and Irian Jaya, the mainly Christian province in the extreme east.
Budi Sugiharto/Hendra & GB, Surabaya – Around 60 private school teachers from the Private School Teachers Communication Forum (FKGS) staged a demonstration at the Surabaya City Legislative Council in East Java. They urged the Council to clarify legal protection and private school teachers' rights.
Jon Land – On November 21, some 400 East Timorese refugees were repatriated from West Timor. This was the first coordinated return of refugees since the murder of UN workers in the West Timor town of Atambua on September 6.
Vanja Tanaja, Dili – Five women considered to be "indecently" dressed were chased by a mob of mainly young men near the Mercado Lama (Central Market) here on November 10. Four managed to hide in an NGO-run clinic which was then stoned by the mob. Another was dragged by the mob to UN Civilian Police Headquarters.
Max Lane, Jakarta – Demonstrations and protests are a daily feature of life in Indonesia today. "Traffic jam, pak, two demos today" is a common refrain from taxi drivers.
The TV news and newspapers are also peppered with reports of different "showings of feelings" from all around the country.
Vaudine England – Jakarta is working on faulty information and might be "stupid" for its plans to stifle independence sentiment in Irian Jaya, a leading Papuan human rights advocate says.
James Balowski – For the first time since the overthrow of former President Suharto, the Indonesian government has arrested and charged a human rights activist under the notorious "sowing hatred" articles of the Indonesian Criminal Code. The maximum sentence is six year's jail.
November 28, 2000
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Ramadan in Indonesia is a time for heightened tempers on the subject of sin, and this year it could mean a month of unemployment for everyone in the entertainment industry.
Heather Paterson, Dili – Thousands of people rallied in Dili on Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of East Timor's initial declaration of independence, giving a hero's welcome to the territory's first president, Fransisco Xavier do Amaral.
Robert Go, Jakarta – Potential investors seeking bargains from the restructuring agency, Ibra, might have to keep their wallets buttoned up, if two of the country's biggest tycoon-debtors succeed in pushing the government to revise debt-repayment deals signed two years ago.
Singapore – Singapore on Tuesday broke its silence on a tirade by Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid but avoided commenting on his threat to cut off the island-state's water supply.
Budi Sugiharto/Fitri & BI, Jakarta – A massive but peaceful rally staged factory workers had turned into a riot, when a group angry demonstrators started to destroy and loot a total of nine vehicles parked at the government's buildings, in Surabaya, East Java on Tuesday.
Don Greenlees, Jakarta – It is easy to see what has gone wrong for Indonesia in Irian Jaya. On the Jayapura airport road, a Buginese taxi driver who has lived in the city for 30 years refers to indigenous Papuans as "orang hutan" (orang-outang) and in case his passengers don't get the point he adds "monyet" (monkey).
November 27, 2000
Reuters in Jakarta – Indonesia is running a secret campaign to stop the rich and restive province of Irian Jaya breaking away, using a combination of bullying, clandestine operations and persuasion, internal documents show.
Jakarta – Indonesia's Parliament maintained a "soft" approach to the separatist movements in Aceh yesterday by rejecting civil-emergency status and promising better law enforcement for the troubled province. But it underlined that Jakarta would not tolerate further questioning of its sovereignty.
Jakarta – Refugee repatriation agencies hailed the return to East Timor of a group of demobilised soldiers as a success, but refugee leaders in West Timor said Monday reported attacks on returning soldiers were setting back further repatriation efforts.
Mark Dodd, Kupang – Francisco Soares is finally going home. After drawn out negotiations the Indonesian Army has finally settled his salary arrears and paid his pension. The United Nations has promised that he and his family will be protected. So he and his family will go back to his old home in Los Palos, on the eastern tip of East Timor, and start a new life as a rice farmer.
Jakarta – Armed with long wooden sticks and attired in their green and white outfits, dozens of members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) perpetrated more acts of vandalism on Sunday by attacking several restaurants, cafes and small street kiosks, which they labeled immoral places.
Warren Caragata – Only a year ago, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid seemed determined to patch up relations with Singapore, home of billions of dollars in Indonesian capital controlled by ethnic Chinese business who fled after the 1998 Jakarta riots. Singapore was Wahid's first foreign stop after his election last year, and his overtures to a country that predecessor B.J.
A Dipta Anindita/Hendra & GB, Jakarta – A Special Committee (Pansus) has been formed by the House to investigate the Trisakti and Semanggi I and II incidents when innocent protesters were shot during the final days of the New Order regime of presidents Suharto and Habibie.
Hong Kong – The humanitarian situation in Indonesia's embattled Maluku islands is worsening as a result of the influx of Islamic Jihad or holy war warriors aided by rogue external elements, a rights group said Monday.
Maryadi/BI & GB, Pontianak – In Pontianak, West Kalimantan, up to 400 civilians recruited as 'People's Security' guards, or 'Kamra', staged a rowdy protest at the Governor's office Monday. Representatives stormed out of a meeting with government leaders when told they were the responsibility of the central government.
November 26, 2000
Susan Sim, Jakarta – Putting an end to months of policy drift, the Indonesian government is set to issue today an ultimatum to the Free Aceh separatist movement GAM: Start negotiations in the next seven weeks or we will wipe you out when the current "humanitarian pause" expires.
Jakarta – Police in Cianjur, West Java, yesterday began the grisly task of examining 20 corpses that were recently found hanging from trees at Mount Sawo Valley, a report said.
Antara quoted local residents as saying the victims are believed to be practitioners of black magic. Police arrested several of the alleged killers yesterday.
Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Exactly a month since its launch in Jakarta, General Wiranto's CD has made its way to the top racks at record stores in Indonesia where the best-selling new releases are usually placed.
November 25, 2000
Muchus B. Rahayu/GB, Solo – As many as 48 mass organisations joined a massive convoy around the streets of Solo (Surakarta) in central Java demanding that all activities offensive to Muslims be totally stopped during the holy fasting month of Ramadhan which most Muslims will celebrate tomorrow, Monday.
Jakarta – New fighting among Muslims and Christians broke out in Indonesia's eastern Maluku or Moluccan Islands, killing at least 11 people, officials and activists said Saturday.
The sectarian bloodshed Friday and Saturday brought the number of confirmed deaths to 19 this week. Another 16 people remain missing.
Tony Parkinson – The elder statesman of Asian politics, Lee Kuan Yew, has warned Indonesia that it cannot afford to risk making the same mistakes in West Papua that it did in East Timor.
In an interview with The Age, Singapore's senior minister issued a blunt caution to Indonesia, an ASEAN partner and Singapore's biggest neighbor.
November 24, 2000
Jakarta – Independence celebrations in Indonesia's eastern province of West Papua will go ahead next week despite stern warnings from Jakarta, the province's independence leader said yesterday.
Jakarta – After a series of long investigations, police named nine high-ranking military and police officers on Thursday as suspects in the violent takeover of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters in Central Jakarta in 1996.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri has reaffirmed her support for President Abdurrahman Wahid amid growing calls for his resignation.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, yesterday offered to help Indonesia set up a special court to hear cases against suspects accused of atrocities in East Timor last year.
Djoko Tjitono/Fitri & GB, Jakarta – Around 200 activists under the banner of the "Women's Pledge" or "Kaulan Perempuan" held a lively demonstration at Hotel Indonesia roundabout in the centre of Jakarta, Friday, to celebrate "Anti Violence Against Women" day. The demonstrators demanded an end to all violence against women.
November 23, 2000
Jakarta – Indonesian Prosperous Labor Union (SBSI) chairman Muchtar Pakpahan filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro and East Kalimantan Police chief Insp. Gen. Togar M. Sianipar over the recent arrest of the union's top executive in the province.
Pekanbaru – No work! No pay! Thats the message from embattled oil company PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia (CPI) to its striking contract workers in Riau province, central-eastern Sumatra. CPI yesterday warned some 3,000 striking contract workers they will not be paid and there will be no negotiations until they go back to work.
Jakarta – Hundreds of women yesterday staged a rally against a phony recruitment firm that swindled them out of millions of rupiah.
The illegal manpower agency, PT Shaymma based in Lampung province, had promised about 250 women that it would provide jobs for them in Saudi Arabia, providing that they each paid a registration fee of Rp4 million (US$423).
Khaerul Ikhwan/Fitri & GB, Medan – Up to 500 workers and NGO members staged a rally in front of the North Sumatra Governor's office on Jl Diponegoro in the capital Medan, Thursday. They demanded a rise in the provincial minimum wage and that the Board established by the government to determine the wages be disbanded.
Kanis Dursin, Jakarta – Opposition from civilian politicians is stalling efforts by Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid to assert civilian authority over the military, blocking efforts to curb rights abuses and resolve past violations, analysts say.
Mark Dodd on the Patricia Anne Hotung – As dawn broke yesterday scores of refugees scrambled up to the deck of this former Australian Navy survey ship for their first glimpse of Dili since the violence of September 1999 in East Timor.
Jakarta – Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer should stay out of Irian Jaya's affairs, the man spearheading a growing separatist movement in the remote Indonesian province said Thursday.
Khairul Ikhwan D/BI & GB, Medan – Tens of entertainment workers gathered at the Medan Tourism office in North Sumatra province to urge the Medan City Council to revoke the Mayoral decree on the closure of their workplaces during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan and Idul Fitri celebrations.
Jakarta – At least 150 Acehnese youths living in Jakarta staged a protest outside National Police headquarters yesterday, demanding the release of Muhammad Nazar, head of the Aceh Referendum Information Center (SIRA).