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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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March 4, 1997

Jakarta Post - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Central Java textile maker PT Sritex has won a Rp 2 5 billion (US$10.87 million) contract to make 500,000 military uniforms for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) starting this year, a company executive said.

Antara - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Munawir Sjadzali, said "clobbering" does not violate human rights so long as it is intended to safeguard national security and take care of public interests.

Sydney Morning Herald - March 4, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia's minority Muslim party has approved a boycott of the upcoming national elections in one key region and says it may ignore the Soeharto Government's campaign rules elsewhere because they overwhelming favour the ruling party.

Straits Times - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian government will not want to risk losing its current close relationship with Muslims by undermining the Muhammadiyah Muslim organisation or its chairman, Mr Amien Rais, an Indonesian political science lecturer has said.

Media Indonesia - March 4, 1997

Tangerang – Strikes in Tangerang and Bogor continue. In Tangerang three companies were paralyzed after workers struck demanding better wages and conditions. Thousands of public transport drivers have also gone on strike.

In Bogor, thousands of workers went on strike at PT Timur Jaya Prestasi (TJP) and PT Chungsan Mitra Internasional.

Far Eastern Economic Review - March 4, 1997

A Louisiana district court dismissed a class-action suit filed by Amungme tribal activist Yosefa Alomang against Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold for alleged environmental and human-rights abuses around its giant Grasberg mine in the Central Highlands of Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

Reuters - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian police on Monday completed questioning of ousted minority party leader Megawati Sukarnoputri over a political rally at her home in January.

Ms Megawati, daughter of late founding president Sukarno, was questioned at the South Jakarta Police Headquarters for about 11/2 hours.

March 3, 1997

Agence France Presse - March 3, 1997

Indonesia's armed forces chief has lent the military's backing to the ruling Golkar party ahead of May polls, the state news agency reported yesterday.

General Feisal Tanjung, speaking here on Saturday in the lead up to May 29 general elections, said "the big Abri (armed forces) family" channels its "political aspirations" to Golkar.

Australian Associated Press - March 3, 1997

Gordon Feeney, Jakarta – Leading Indonesian journalist-turned-political activist Goenawan Muhamad today predicted President Suharto would rule for another 10 years amid greater repression.

Asia Times - March 3, 1997

Ong Hock Chuan, Jakarta – One economic casualty of the spate of riots to strike Indonesia over the past few months may be the owners of supermarket chains, a sector that was expected to see huge expansions throughout the country this year with the entry of international retailers such as Wal-Mart.

Antara - March 3, 1997

Semarang, C Java – President Soeharto said the personnel of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) would face heavier challenges in their dedication to the nation.

Diario de Noticias - March 3, 1997

[Interview with Mari Alkatiri, Fretilin secretary for external relations. Lisbon, Byline: Abel Coelho de Morais. Original Language: Portuguese.]

DN: According to recent reports, the situation in Timor has worsened. How would you describe Indonesia's activities in the territory?

ASIET Action Alert - March 3, 1997

At midnight on March 3, nine (9) Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) underground Town Leadership Committees organised a coordinated Graffiti Action in the cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Solo, Semarang (all in Java), Lampung and Medan (in Sumatra) and Menado in Sulawesi.

South China Morning Post - March 3, 1997

Agencies in Jakarta – Indonesia's armed forces chief has lent the military's backing to the ruling Golkar party, breaking decades of traditional neutrality.

General Feisal Tanjung, speaking in Jakarta in the lead up to the May 29 general elections, said "the big ABRI [armed forces] family" channels its "political aspirations" to Golkar.

March 2, 1997

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – The manner in which the nuclear-power Bill was rushed through Parliament raised doubts about the government's real intentions, analysts were quoted as saying in a newspaper report on Friday.

East Timor Action Network - March 2, 1997

On January 21, 1997, ETAN issued an Action Alert regarding the likely nomination of Stanley Roth as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which had been floated in the Washington Post and other newspapers.

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – Home Affairs Minister Yogie Memed said Indonesia's six million civil servants had no choice but to vote for the ruling Golkar as they were bound by statutes which said that members had to channel their political aspirations through the party.

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Susan Sim, Jakarta – President Suharto, offering to resign if it was the will of the people, has vowed to "clobber" anyone who tries to force him out of office by unconstitutional means.

Kompas - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – Armed Forces Commander, Gen. Feisal Tanjung, stressed that in the coming period the Armed Forces will take a firmer stand. The Armed forces will compromise with nobody and will not take the slightest risk concerning any effort which wants to disturb national stability and integration of the nation.

The Washington Post - March 2, 1997

Matthew Jardine – "Hello, Mister. Where are you from?"

March 1, 1997

Amnesty International - March 1997

In another stark illustration of the Indonesian Government's intention to silence its opponents in the run up to the May 1997 parliamentary elections, the controversial former parliamentarian, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, was detained on 5 March under the Anti-subversion Law.

Asia Week - March 1997

Yenni Kwok, Jakarta – Most Indonesian children grow up listening to stories about Kancil, a clever, mischievous mouse-deer who typically finds himself relying on his wits in order to save his life. His adventures often offer moral lessons for the young.

Agence France Presse - March 1, 1997

Jakarta – In a rare political statement the country's Catholic Church has told its faithful that it would not be a sin to refuse to vote in this year's general election.

But a senior Indonesian military officer warned on Monday that encouraging people not to vote was against the law.

Digest Number 29 - March, 1997

Analysists who prefer to highlight structural interests often find the personalised nature of Indonesian politics difficult to grasp. Yet personal loyalties define the language of intra-elite conflict today as much as they did in the days of the sultans. A document marked 'highly secret', apparently produced at the think tank CPDS and circulating in Jakarta proves the point.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Jakarta - A number of pro-Megawati Soekarnoputri PDI cadres, calling themselves "Awam PDI" (PDI Laymen) will arrange a longmarch from Denpasar to Jakarta starting 1 April 1997.

Upon arrival in Jakarta they will go to the Parliament Building (MPR/DPR) to deliver a written statement to the House of Representatives (DPR) as holder of the people's sovereignty.

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions - March 1997

[The following is the text of a letter sent by Bill Jordan, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, to the Indonesian Minister of Justice.]

Dear Mr Minister,

Agence France Presse - March 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian authorities have banned a book by an elderly politician, saying the contents discredited the government, the armed forces and President Suharto, a newspaper report said on Thursday.

Down to Earth Update - March 1997

Since Down to Earth posted an Action Alert on the confrontation between the indigenous Dayaks and Madurese settlers in West Kalimantan (17th Feb 1997), we have been waiting for more news and accurate information from Jakarta and Pontianak. What follows is a summary of the news items which have appeared on apc.act. indonesia, apc.reg.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Jakarta – The chair of the United Develop Party (PPP), Ismail Hasan Matareum has said that the National Leadership meeting of the PPP has placed on the agenda, recommendations from a number of Regional Councils of the PPP (DPW) a plan to boycott the coming 1997 General Election campaign.

Asia Week - March 1, 1997

Cesar Bacani and Keith Loveard/Jakarta – Just call him King. If ever there were doubts about his preeminent position in Indonesian business, timber tycoon Mohamad Bob Hasan laid them to rest last week.

Asia Week - March 1, 1997

Three years after discovering what is touted as the worlds richest gold lode in Indonesias Kalimantan province, Canadas Bre-X Minerals may have finally hit the jackpot. It reached an agreement for a development venture with the Indonesian government and other partners last week.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Solo – President Soeharto brought forward, "If the House of Representatives (DPR) indeed considers that I am incompetent, yes, please "withdraw" me, namely through an Extraordinary Session of the Peoples Consultative Congress (MPR)."

February 28, 1997

Tapol - February 28, 1997

The following is the text of a letter sent by Bill Jordan, General [Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, to the Indonesian Minister of Justice.]

Dear Mr Minister,

Urgent: Health conditons of MM. Pakpahan and Hariyanto

Kabar Dari Pijar - February 28, 1997

We strongly demand that the House of Representatives of Indonesia will not approve the nuclear bill!

Kompas - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – One of the architects of the New Order economy, Prof Dr Soebroto, explicitly stated that the flourishing of various kinds of levies [read bribes - JB] which has been going on, is a reflection of absence of legal security.

Antara - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute (LEI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) have signed acooperation to speed up the implementation of ecolabelling toIndonesian tropical timber products, LEI chairman Emil Salim saidWednesday.

One of the chief aims of the cooperation is to train assessors, he said.

Media Indonesia - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – The accused in the subversion case against the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) who are interned at the Cipinang prison, began a hunger strike last Wednesday (26/2) because they consider their trials are engineered.

SiaR - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja was called in for questioning last week by Bakorstanas [Badan Koordinasi Bantuan Pemantapan Stabilitas, National Coordinating body for the maintenance of Stability] over the pre-Easter apostolic letter by the Indonesian Bishops' Conference.

Agence France Presse - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's Muslim-led United Development Party (PPP) is considering a boycott of the upcoming campaign for 29 May elections in response to tough restrictions on political campaigning.

February 27, 1997

Kompas - February 27, 1997

The socio-political (sospol) role of the Armed Forces (ABRI) will not be a "flat tyre", even at President Soeharto's post leadership. ABRI's role will not change much because ABRI in its history of existence until this moment is performing its role as unifier of the nation.

Antara - February 27, 1997

Bandung, W Java – Four former policemen charged with inciting the recent riot in Tasikmalaya, West Java are facing up to 32 months in jail.

Military prosecutor, Col Ismail Bangun, demanded here Tuesday that the West Java military court imprison former Corporal Nur (38) for 32 months and former 2nd Sgt AM (24) for 30 months.

Straits Times - February 27, 1997

S N Vasuki – The fallout from the Busang gold controversy in Indonesia has been immediate. Foreign mining companies, primarily from Australia and Canada, which are awaiting official approval for new mining projects in Indonesia are concerned that the controversy would lead to major delays and changes in the government's policy towards foreign investment in the mining sector.

Kompas - February 27, 1997

Jakarta – The Bill on Nuclear Power was finally agreed by the House of Representatives (DPR) for ratification as Laws, although it was coloured by interruptions of its members who questioned the quorum which was not reached, while outside the conference room a demonstration was going on which rejected the Nuclear Power Bill.

Jakarta Post Editorial - February 27, 1997

Objections from environmentalists and other concerned groups notwithstanding, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a government-sponsored bill on nuclear energy which levels the way for the government to build Indonesia's first nuclear power plant on the Muria peninsula on the north coast of Central Java by the year 2003.

News from Pijar - February 27, 1997

PDI fraction member Laksmiari Priyonggo interrupted the Minister of Research and Technology BJ Habibie during constitutional meeting at the National Parliament saying: "Although the speaker states that 317 people are present, in fact there are only 75 members of the DPR here or less than 15% of a total of 500 members. We cannot lie to the people".

Tapol - February 27, 1997

There is growing concern for the health of two men currently on trial for subversion. Both are detained in Cipinang Prison in Jakarta and have not been allowed to obtained medical treatment since being transferred there earlier this year. They were arrested after the raid on the PDI office in Jakarta on 27 July 1996. They have both been on trial since December 1996.

ABC - February 27, 1997

The Indonesian military has accused Muslim separatists in Aceh province of attempting to sabotage the huge nearby Arun gas field.

The security commander of northern Sumatra including Aceh, Major-General Sedaryanto, says the sabotage had been planned for a long time, but did NOT say what the plan entailed.

Far Eastern Economic Review - February 27, 1997

Margot Cohen, Jakarta – The judge hunched forward eagerly as details of a bank statement were read aloud in open court. "What is the total amount of overseas aid?" he prodded the witness.

Wall Street Journal - February 27, 1997

Richard Borsuk, Jakarta, Indonesia – The chairman of Bre-X Minerals Ltd., facing shareholder ire over last week's pact fixing ownership of the Canadian firm's giant gold find in Borneo, said he had to settle for an arrangement that reflected Indonesia's "political, economic and social environment."

American Reporter - February 27, 1997

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – It was a bright and sunny day in Jakarta, but that didn't help cheer up American diplomats William Brown and Stanley Roth as they emerged from a critical meeting with President Suharto.