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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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September 4, 1997

South China Morning Post - September 4, 1997

Jakarta – The wife of murdered journalist Fuad Syarifuddin yesterday testified that police were holding the wrong man.

Voice of America - September 4, 1997

The Indonesian government has threatened to expose the names of logging and plantation companies that are lighting fires to clear land on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra. Jenny Grant reports from Jakarta, smoke from the fires is a health hazard affecting neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

Antara - September 4, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia has agreed to purchase 12 Sukhoi 30K jetfighters and 8 MI-17-IV helicopters from Russia at a total cost of US$ 500 million, while Russia has agreed to purchase from Indonesia 40 kinds of commodities, also worth US$ 500 million, to be paid in cash under a counter-purchase agreement.

Far Eastern Economic Review - September 4, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – President Suharto has a host of family concerns riding on Indonesia's first broadcasting law. Between them, the president's eldest daughter, Siti Hardijanti "Tutut" Rukmana, son Bambang Trihatmodjo and Bambang's wife, Halimah, own chunks of four of the country's five private television channels.

September 3, 1997

Reuters - September 3, 1997

K.T. Arasu, Jakarta – Indonesia unveiled a package of measures on Wednesday to prevent the world's fourth most populous country from plunging into financial crisis amid regional currency turbulence.

Agence France Presse - September 3, 1997

Singapore – The Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) here said Wednesday it had cancelled a planned forum with Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri at the request of Singapore authorities.

Reuters - September 3, 1997

David Brough, Lisbon – South Africa would welcome the release of jailed Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao before a state visit by Indonesian President Suharto in November, South Africa's ambassador to Portugal Kingsley Makubela said.

Straits Times - September 3, 1997

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – The Indonesian government, threatening legal action, has blamed plantation firms for the country's forest fires which have caused haze to envelope the region.

Associated Press - September 3, 1997

Laurinda Keys, Singapore – A foreign correspondent's association confirmed Wednesday that it had canceled a planned speech by an Indonesian opposition leader at the request of Singapore's government.

September 2, 1997

Lusa - September 2, 1997

Macau – East Timor's political party Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) rejected on Tuesday in "absolut and vehemently" the recent statements by guerrilla leader Konis Santana who said the territory's resistance could accept the relationship Puerto Rico has with the United States as a model for future ties between the former Portuguese colony and Indonesia.

Sydney - September 2, 1997

The Portuguese television station TVI screened recently a video recorded message from Nino Konis Santana, the Falintil guerrilla commander. Extremely important issues were addressed and statements were made whereby indications were given on his stands on some sensitive topics.

September 1, 1997

Antara - September 1, 1997

Garut – An outraged group of people torched a police station in Pameungpeuk, Garut, some 200 km south of Jakarta, on Sunday evening.

Head of Priangan police Colonel Sukamto could not give the details on the incident, saying it is still being probed.

Some local people who were at the police station said they did not know the motive of the group.

Radio Australia - September 1, 1997

An Indonesian court has jailed four East Timorese men to two months and 15 days each for forcibly entering the Bulgarian embassy in Jakarta to seek asylum.

Local reports say the court found the four guilty of using violence against law officers.

Amnesty International - September 1997


August 31, 1997

Asiaweek - August 31, 1997

Tim Healy and Keith Loveard, Jakarta – These are perplexing times in Jakarta. First, the currency is safe; then it drops 20% against the U.S. dollar in just a few weeks. President Suharto speaks expansively about building a 95-km bridge over the Straits of Malacca connecting Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia.

August 30, 1997

Agence France Presse - August 30, 1997

London – Britain will soon approve a range of defence equipment contracts with Indonesia on the understanding they will be used to protect the country's oil and gas industry, a press report said here Saturday.

Straits Times - August 30, 1997

Susan Sim, Jakarta – Britain yesterday unveiled a six-point initiative to support human rights in Indonesia, a move welcomed cautiously by Jakarta as more constructive than mere rhetoric and hectoring over East Timor.

"I want to develop a positive agenda for human rights in Indonesia," visiting British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook announced at a press conference.

The Times (UK) - August 30, 1997

David Watts, Jakarta – Britain is proposing a new move in the decades - old East Timor dispute. In an attempt to bring Indonesia out of isolation over its illegal occupation of the tiny Far Eastern territory, Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, proposed yesterday that a European Union "troika" should carry out a fact-finding mission.

August 29, 1997

Down To Earth - August 29, 1997

The Dayak Besar Group controls forest concessions of around 200,000 hectares and a number of timber mills in East Kalimantan. Poor management prompted the government to ban two of its subsidiaries, PT Dayak Besar Vincent Timber Co. and PT Gelora Dayak Besar, from transporting logs and sawn timber from their forest concessions in East Kalimantan to their wood-based industries.

Voice of America - August 29, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's currency has plummeted to three-thousand Rupiah to the dollar, during the past few weeks. the sharp decline in the Rupiah and a prolonged drought have sent the price of basic food stuffs in the Southeast-Asian nation soaring. Jenny Grant reports from jakarta ordinary indonesians are feeling the aftershocks.

Down To Earth - August 29, 1997

Indigenous peoples in Indonesia are sick of being treated as second class citizens. Their voice is being heard more and more frequently as communities from Kalimantan to West Papua oppose the forces that marginalise them.

August 28, 1997

Reuters - August 28, 1997 (abridged)

Sydney – Political stability and continued economic liberalisation are not assured in Indonesia over the next 15 years due to the country's leadership transition after President Suharto, according to a major Australian foreign policy paper.

Agence France Presse - August 28, 1997 (Extracts only)

Jakarta – The subversion trial of Indonesia's independent labour leader Muchtar Pakpahan, set to resume Thursday after a six-month break due to illness, was postponed to next week because of ill health.

Far Eastern Economic Review - August 28, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – Tucking into a plate of fruit, a late-afternoon substitute for his missed lunch, Rizal Ramli laughs when asked if he's an economic nationalist. But he doesn't reject the label.

August 27, 1997

Reuters - August 27, 1997

Jakarta – An Indonesian court has been asked to sentence 14 East Timorese to one year in jail for taking part in an anti-Indonesia protest during a visit by a U.N. envoy in March, the official Antara news agency reported on Wednesday.

August 25, 1997

Kompas - August 25, 1997 (posted by Tapol, summary only)

The subversion trial of SBSI chairperson Muchtar Pakpahan is scheduled to resume on Thursday, 28 August. The trial has been adjourned for five months because the defendant fell ill.

Reuters - August 25, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia dismissed on Monday a proposal from an East Timor rebel leader for the former Portuguese colony to have a similar relationship with Jakarta as the United States shares with Puerto Rico.

August 24, 1997

Asiaweek - August 24, 1997

Catherine Shepherd and Keith Loveard, Jakarta – In Indonesia these days, many people are holding their breath in more ways than one. For two months now, sections of the country have been enveloped in a dark gray haze.

Asiaweek - August 24, 1997

Peter Morgan and Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Muhammad Syafruddin was beaten to death with an iron bar outside his house in Jogjakarta on August 13, 1996. Police say he was killed by his lover's jealous husband.

August 23, 1997

Sydney Morning Herald - August 23, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – President Soeharto will not approve the release of the jailed East Timorese guerilla leader, Xanana Gusmao, despite the recent plea by the South African leader, Mr Nelson Mandela.

Tapol - August 23, 1997

[On Indonesia's Independence Day, Sunday 17 August 1997, TEMPO Interaktif met Xanana Gusmao at Cipinang Prison in Jakarta. He is known to his friends as 'Mas Gus', even though he is not from Java. He looks young for his 51 years even though he has now a few grey hairs. 'I keep fit here,' he said.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 23, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – From the air, the great rainforests of Borneo have disappeared under billowing clouds of smoke from hundreds of forest fires raging out of control, forcing planes to abandon their attempts to land.

August 22, 1997

Wall Street Journal - August 22, 1997

Jakarta – One villager was killed and three soldiers were injured when tribesmen used bows and arrows to attack an Indonesian army patrol near the Freeport copper mine in New Guinea on Friday, a military source said.

August 21, 1997

Straits Times - August 21, 1997

Jakarta – Re-evaluated plans for Indonesia's nuclear power plant programme will be unveiled next March after the National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) completes a study on the country's energy supply and demand needs, The Indonesian Observer reported yesterday.

Voice of America - August 21, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – In his state of the nation address last weekend, president suharto said the government must postpone some projects because of the devaluation of the national currency, the rupiah.

Far Eastern Economic Review - August 21, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – Before it began buying American in the 1970s, the Indonesian air force was comprised entirely of top-of-the-line Soviet-built fighters, bombers and helicopters. They were as much a legacy of the Sukarno years as the muscle-bound Lenin-style statuary found around Jakarta.

August 20, 1997

South China Morning Post - August 20, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights intervened yesterday on behalf of 14 students detained for holding a protest on Indonesia's national day.

August 19, 1997

Republika - August 19, 1997 (Summarised posting by Tapol)

Four lawyers organisation, the legal aid institute, YLBHI, the Association of Indonesian Advocates AAI, the Indonesia Bar Association (Ikadin) and the Association of Legal Advisers (IPHI) have called on the leadership of Parliament to postpone discussion of the draft Police Bill.

August 17, 1997

Peoples Democratic Party - August 17, 1997

[The following is a translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]

George J. Aditjondro - August 17, 1997

[The following is a slightly abridged letter from George J. Aditjondro to the Norway Rainforest Foundation in reponse to a an inquiry about Indonesian timber tycoon Mohammad ("Bob") Hasan's business connections in Norway - JB]

August 16, 1997

Reuters - August 16, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian Justice Minister Utoyo Usman said on Saturday the government had given a three-month reduction to the jail term being served by East Timorese rebel leader Jose "Xanana" Gusmao, the Antara news agency reported.

Jakarta Post - August 16, 1997

Jakarta – Observers criticized as inappropriate and groundless a motion to reintroduce a People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) decree that would give a president extra power.

SiaR - August 16, 1997 (posted by Tapol)

Three leading Jakarta dailies, Republika, Suara Pembaruan and Merdeka, have been warned by Information Minister, retired General Hartono. The warnings were delivered during a meeting with editors-in-chief and the financial authorities.

August 15, 1997

SiaR - August 15 1997

Xanana Gusmao, the commander of the pro-independence forces, FALINTIL, who is currently serving a twenty-year prison sentence, has declared that he would prefer to remain in prison rather than be deported to any foreign country, including Portugal or Australia.

August 14, 1997

Far Eastern Economic Review - August 14, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – The long-awaited generational change in the Indonesian armed forces is now taking shape. But if the new wave of 1970s military-academy graduates have different views of the world than their more insular elders, that doesn't mean there will be any overnight transformation in style or substance.

August 13, 1997

Pacific Asia Resource Center - August 13, 1997

Saeki Natsuko – Nike is one of the biggest sports goods manufactures in the world. Ohmae Kenichi, a well-known Japanese commentator who is an advisor to the company, described the secret of its success in production and sales activities as a marvelous combination between "core skill" and "out-sourcing".

Reuters - August 13, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's Supreme court has said it will not review the conviction of independent labour leader Muchtar Pakpahan jailed on charges that he incited workers to strike, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Reuters - August 13, 1997

Michael Perry, Sydney – South African President Nelson Mandela's mediation in East Timor could provide the "face-saving" device for Indonesian President Suharto to end the 22-year conflict, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta said on Wednesday.

August 12, 1997

Asiaweek - August 12, 1997

Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Cafe Galeri in Jakarta's upmarket suburb of Menteng is a trendy testament to the success of Indonesia's economy. On its walls hang abstract oil paintings that sell for $4,000 each.

August 9, 1997

Human Rights Solidarity Action Committee - August 9, 1997

[The following is an abridged translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]