As Jakarta opens the doors wider for foreign investment in mining, Canadian mining promoters are getting excited about the prospects for striking gold. At the centre of the action is the world's most notorious mining investor, Canada's Robert Friedland.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
February 1, 1997
Jakarta – Four pro-Megawati PDI members were arrested by the Purbalingga police after removing banners and a PDI flag erected by Suryadi supporters on Wednesday February 12. The arrest are Soetarno (65), Suwito (34), Soedarpo (35), and Sudiyo (27).
Jakarta – PT Kahatex, one of the largest textile factories in West Java situated on Jl Rancaekek Km 25 (about 25 kilometers from Bandung), on Friday (31/1) was destroyed by some 7,000 of its workers. As a result of that riot, 5 office buildings, 8 factories, 4 storehouses, 1 employees mess, 68 trucks and employee operation cars were damaged and 60 cycles burned by the mob.
Jakarta – Indonesia's armed forces chief General Feisal Tanjung said on Friday the military would take sterner measures against riots following disturbances in a town east of Jakarta in which buildings were burned or wrecked.
Further evidence of the crisis in Indonesia's forestry industry is emerging as Ministry of Forestry, Djamaludin Suryohadikusomo, confirmed in October that 60 of the 90 private forest concessions to end in 1996 would not be renewed due to poor management. The 60 concessions will be handed over to the state owned forestry companies Inhutani I-V.
Timber tycoon Bob Hasan will soon start pulp production at his PT Kiani Kertas project in Berau district, East Kalimantan.
Jakarta – Every manuscript which will be used in the campaigns of the coming general elections (Pemilu) must first be checked by the Examination Committee for General Elections Campaign Manuscripts formed by the Minmister of Home Affairs/Chairman of the General Elections Institution (LPU).
Singapore – Senior officials of the ASEAN-European Union (EU) ended their two-day meeting where they agreed not to include the East Timor issue in the Joint Declaration draft as foreign ministry's Director General for Political Affairs Izhar Ibrahim said on Wednesday in Singapore.
Sarah Smith – Opposition parties held rallies in early January to protest against the conditions under which this year's parliamentary elections will be held. Most parties will be excluded altogether from the vote, scheduled for 29 May.
When Bre-X Gold, a small Canadian exploration company discovered a huge gold deposit at Busang in East Kalimantan last year, big companies and powerful business players lined up to grab a piece of the action.
Jakarta – The Chief of Staff of Socio Politics (Kassospol) of the Armed Forces (ABRI) Lieut. Gen. Syarwan Hamid said that Indonesia presently very needed a set of Laws on National Security. This is particularly needed when ABRI personnel are on duty in efforts to neutralize a riot.
Jakarta – The situation in Indonesia's West Java province was less tense yesterday with shops re-opening and a cleaning up under way a day after Thursday's violent incidents caused widespread damage.
Semarang – The military has banned a book on the July 27 riots in Jakarta written by the unrecognized Alliance of Independent Journalists and Studi Arus Informasi.
Jakarta – Indonesian Attorney General Singgih has indicated that several political trials now underway could conclude before the start of the election campaign in April, a report said here Saturday.
Jakarta – Before campaigning, according to Colonel Pol. Drs. Djamaluddin Harahap, the contesting parties must first obtain a Campaign Note from the police. The instruction is stated in the Field Directives of National Police Chief number Pol: Juklap/01/I/1997 on 1997 General Elections Campaign Notice.
Cue – Indonesia's reputation for political stability under the firm hand of President Suharto has been shaken recently by a series of riots in which at least eleven people have died and hundreds of buildings destroyed.
Joe Leahy in Jakarta – Fear surged through the mainly Chinese-Christian community of West Java province yesterday after a riot at a textile factory.
In the second outbreak of unrest in the province in two days, a dispute over wages turned violent at the Indonesian-owned factory in Rencaekek, about 20 kilometres from Bandung, the provincial capital.
The International Finance Corporation, private sector arm of the World Bank, has agreed to provide US $41 million in equity and loans to an Indonesian company to develop oil palm estates and refineries in West Kalimantan.
The IFC has also helped the company, PT Kalimantan Sanggar Pusaka, raise a $10 million loan from the German Development Bank.
Jakarta – Indonesia's "security approach" in East Timor has failed to reduce tension in the disputed territory, the Catholic Church warned here Saturday.
Cardinal Justinus Darmaatmaja said Jakarta's actions in East Timor had done little to address the territory's problems and called for dialogue to end a stand-off which is now in its 22nd year.
Jakarta – Five Indonesian students will be tried for allegedly distributing stickers advocating a boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections, a report said Saturday.
January 31, 1997
Joe Leahy – An Islamic group says it will take the country's most outspoken Muslim leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, to court after he alleged the group started religious riots in the West Java town of Tasikmalaya late last month.
Wellington – Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Jose Ramos Horta on Friday asked New Zealand to help push for a referendum on independence in his native East Timor which was annexed by Indonesia.
"New Zealand has had, in the last couple of years, a good, discreet record in putting pressure on Indonesia," Horta told a press conference.
Bandung – The Attorney General's Office of West Java on Thursday (30/1) arrested Agustiana bin Suryana (24) as official detainee of the Attorney General's Office with status as suspect of subversive crime in the Tasikmalaya affair.
At the moment he is detained at the House of detention in Tasikmalaya.
Jakarta – More than 12,000 Indonesian workers staged a protest Friday, demanding a bonus for the Islamic Eid-al-Fitr holiday, with some of them burning cars and destroying a factory in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung, police said.
Michael Richardson, Jakarta – When Bre-X Minerals Ltd., a small Canadian mining company, found itself entangled in a jungle of conflicting ownership claims to one of the world's richest undeveloped gold deposits in Indonesia, it turned for help to a little-known but well-connected local company.
Kuala Lumpur – Fifty Malaysian activists involved in a banned meeting on East Timor were Friday cleared of all charges but four members of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's ruling party were charged.
"The police told us this morning that all charges have been dropped and the case terminated," Tian Chua, a spokesman for the November 9 Civil Rights Group told reporters.
January 30, 1997
Washington – Indonesia continued to commit serious human rights abuses in 1996, including in East Timor, the United States said on Thursday.
Rengasdenglok – A mob attacked churches and a Buddhist temple in the country's latest bout of religious unrest, prompting troops to patrol the streets.
Jakarta – Four supporters of Indonesia's pro-democracy leader were sentenced Thursday to jail terms of six months and 15 days each for throwing rocks and breaking windows at a police station.
Associated Press in Jakarta – About 40 masked men ransacked a Catholic group's office in a remote Indonesian province on Borneo Island yesterday and set a truck and two motorcycles ablaze, a newspaper reported. Two bystanders were injured.
Jay Solomon, Jakarta – With as many as four state-owned companies priming to hit the Jakarta Stock Exchange in 1997, it looks likely to be a banner year for the Indonesian privatization programme. Market conditions are perfect for floating new shares as the exchange trades at all-time highs.
The police have referred the Investigation Papers concerning the meeting of the Asia Pacific Conference on East Timur [sic] II (APCET) and the one concerning the unlawful assembly which disrupted the said meeting on 9 November 1996 to the Attorney General Chambers.
Jakarta – Kalimantan natives have urged the Nationa1 Commission on Human Rights to help them get compensation for property taken from them for mining projects. A delegation of the indigenous Kalimantan people also told commission members here Tuesday the activities of four large-scale mining companies were degrading the environment.
Joe Leahy in Jakarta – A tribal war in Irian Jaya was started by a rape case involving two security guards working for the giant American copper and gold mining firm, Freeport Indonesia, it was revealed yesterday.
This report is sent from the Human Rights Watch/Asia, which is released by U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1997
January 29, 1997
The trial of a supporter of Indonesian opposition leader, Megawati Sukarnoputri, on charges of insulting the country's president, military and parliament opened in Jakarta Wednesday.
Jakarta – The Independent Monitoring Committee (KIPP), held a conference last night on the organising of the coming elections and their preparations to monitor the elections.
Miguel Alex Correia, 22Paulino Almeida Pinto, 34Savio de Almeida, 27Paulo Lisboa, 34Abilio de Almeida,25Antonio Guterres, 26Salvador Alves, 40Martin Lopes, 53Cancio Almeida, 29Ponsiano Silvester, 20
Violations: Arbitrary Arrest
Location: Uatulari sub-district, Viqueque district, East Timor
Ref: UA 2/97 Further information: UA 12/96
Jakarta – A number of villagers from East, Central and South Kalimantan came to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Tuesday to protest violations of human rights by four coal and gold mining companies in the three provinces.
They met with Komnas HAM members, Koesparmono Irsan and M Salim.
Jakarta – The defence lawyers in Muchtar Papahan's trial have requested that the presiding judge Djazuli P Sudibyo be changed in a protest letter dated January 29, 1996 signed by Adnan Buyung Nasution, Bambang Widjojanto, Mochamad Assegaf, Luthfie Hakim, and Dwi Ria Latifa.
The letter listed nine violations cited by the defense team including:
Russell Skelton, Tokyo – The bitter trade dispute between Japan and Indonesia over President Soeharto's controversial national car project has taken an unexpected turn.Japanese car makers, furious at the concessions handed out by the President to a company controlled by his third son, "Tommy" Mandala Putra, to build the 1.5-litre Timor, are determined to force the same deal for them
Louise Williams, Jakarta – It took only a rumor to spark a riot along the crowded streets of Jakarta's central market district on Monday morning and raise the spectre of civil unrest. But once the rampage had begun, it raged without reason, the hundreds of angry street vendors who took over the streets hurling rocks and bottles at everyone and everything in their path.
Jayapura, Irian Jaya – The two-day clash between residents of two villages near Tembagapura, Timika, Irian Jaya, which claimed five lives and injured scores of others, is now under control, a military officer said.
January 28, 1997
Jakarta – Three tribal chiefs in Fakfak regency, Irian Jaya have given 390,000 hectares to the Ministry of Transmigration and the Irian Jaya transmigration office for a resettlement site. "No compensation has been offered in return," said the head of the Irian Jaya transmigration office, N. Hutapea, in the provincial capital of Jayapura yesterday.
Jakarta – Hundreds of angry street hawkers rioted yesterday in the Tanah Abang textile district, leaving one government building and five vehicles burnt, police said.
Joe Leahy – The conviction on charges of blasphemy of Permadi has failed to perturb the self-proclaimed clairvoyant from standing by earlier predictions regarding Mount Merapi.
The 2,968-metre volcano in Central Java gushed lava and blew clouds of volcanic ash four kilometres into the sky on January 17.
January 27, 1997
Bekasi – Tens of street vendors at the new Podok Gede market here run amok damaging an office in the complex.
Reuters in Jakarta – Tension has risen in East Timor's capital Dili as Indonesian security officers continue searching for youths suspected of involvement in the killing of a soldier on Christmas Eve, residents said yesterday.
"The youths have become more and more restless because of the continuing search at night," one resident said.
Michael Richardson, Jakarta – A group of Indonesia's wealthiest companies has agreed to intensify a program to help smaller businesses in what analysts said Sunday was an attempt to defuse government and public criticism for doing too little to bridge the gap between rich and poor.
Asmawati, a worker at PT Indoshoes in Citeurep, Bogor, who appeared as a witness in the case against Petrus Haryanto, Secretary of the PRD, in the beginning of January. He was silent for a moment after being asked by Petrus' defense lawyer if worker strikes/actions had had a positive impact on workers.