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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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November 1, 1998

Down to Earth No. 39 - November 1998

The protests in the weeks immediately surrounding the fall of Suharto were largely mounted by urban-based students, workers and professional groups. Land reform – if mentioned – came at the end of lists of demands for the removal of the president, moves against corruption and reduced food prices. Since then, local communities have taken action into their own hands.

Down to Earth No. 39 - November 1998

A World Bank report on the government's project to convert a million hectares of peat swamp forests into rice-lands reveals how appalling the situation on the ground is.

Straits Times - November 1 1998

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Fifty organisations not represented in the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) are planning to stage massive protests here during the assembly's special plenary session next week.

October 31, 1998

The Australian - October 31, 1998

Don Greenlees and Robert Garran, Jakarta/Canberra – The leak of confidential Indonesian army documents on troop numbers in East Timor yesterday appeared to throw the armed forces headquarters in Dili into confusion.

The Australian - October 31, 1998

David Brearley – Australia's Timorese community was celebrating a victory last night it hopes will open the nation's doors to 1500 asylum seekers and free them from legal limbo.

Agence France Presse - October 31, 1998

Jakarta – Residents from seven villages in Lampung province destroyed part of a sugarcane plantation owned by Indonesia's largest business establishment, the Salim Group, after the company failed to settle a land dispute, a newspaper said Saturday.

October 30, 1998

The Australian - October 30, 1998

Don Greenlees – Confidential Indonesian army documents show the number of combat troops in East Timor has remained steady in recent months, in an embarrassing rebuttal of Jakarta's claims to have started troop withdrawals.

Australian Associated Press - October 30, 1998

Karen Polglaze and Buni Yani, Jakarta – Indonesia admitted for the first time today that as many as 18,000 troops may be deployed in East Timor.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 30, 1998

Has Australia got the Indonesia relationship right and is it getting it right for the future? We have steered a prudent course but there are times when we must make our voice more clearly heard... especially in military matters. David Jenkins reports.

Agence France Presse - October 30, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds of Moslems staged an angry demonstration here Friday to counter demands on the resort island of Bali that a minister step down for insulting Hindus.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 30, 1998

Louise Williams – Indonesian and Australian military officials say joint special-forces exercises have been deferred for "technical reasons", but Australian defences sources say Canberra has concerns over the human-rights record of Indonesia's elite troops.

October 29, 1998

Agence France Presse - October 29, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Some 300 Moslem students protested in front of parliament Thursday demanding the military ends its political role and calling for an investigation into the wealth of former president Suharto.

Associated Press - October 29, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – About 100 workers demonstrated Thursday for the release of a jailed labor activist convicted of organizing a strike while former President Suharto was in power.

The rally came one day after 8,000 students demonstrated outside Indonesia's parliament in the biggest protest to hit the capital since violent unrest forced Suharto's resignation in May.

South China Morning Post - October 29, 1998

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – A report on the May riots has been delayed twice because military and government members on the inquiry team are opposed to the findings, sources said yesterday.

Agence France Presse - October 29, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – A group of Indonesian women Thursday campaigned against state-condoned violence by distributing flowers, pamphlets and black ribbons in a Jakarta main street.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation - October 29, 1998

A former Australian diplomat says Australia's Foreign Affairs Department has maintained sensitive files on East Timor. The diplomat says the files showed Australia had prior knowledge of – and agreed with – Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, and, that Foreign Affairs knew years ago that Indonesian soldiers had killed 5 Australian-based journalists.

October 28, 1998

Agence France Presse - October 28, 1998

Jakarta – More than 3,000 students rallied near parliament Wednesday to demand Indonesian President B.J. Habibie resign and hand over power to a transitional government free from Suharto-era officials.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 28, 1998

Indonesia is struggling to find competent entrepreneurs to fill the vacuum left by ethnic Chinese who fled during the May riots. David Jenkins, Asia Editor, reports.

October 27, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - October 27, 1998

The lid has been lifted on Indonesian politics – with 80 parties contesting the first free elections in 43 years. David Jenkins reports.

Wall Street Journal - October 27, 1998

Jay Solomon, Jakarta – President B.J. Habibie's plan to quickly sell off up to $15 billion in assets that debt-hit business groups must transfer to the government to repay loans has alarmed the International Monetary Fund, which has privately warned Jakarta the plan could damage the economy.

October 26, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - October 26, 1998

To the outside world, Indonesia looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Even inside the country, there are fears that the upheavals of May which led to the overthrow of President Soeharto will be nothing compared with what lies ahead if the new government of President B.J.

The Australian - October 26, 1998

Don Greenlees – Indonesia's promised national elections could be postponed by up to two months because of delays in putting draft electoral laws to parliament and the likelihood of a drawn-out debate over the country's new political system.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 26, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesian community groups have for the first time formally joined East Timorese activists in calling for a referendum on independence for the troubled province, saying the East Timorese conflict remains a "major problem" for Jakarta.

Agence France Presse - October 26, 1998

Surabaya – Hundreds of people, angered when police refused to hand over to them a suspected killer, went on the rampage in the East Java town of Pasuruan, reports reaching here said Monday.

Agence France Presse - October 26, 1998

Jakarta – A group of some 80 people Monday protested at the gates of the parliament, demanding that political parties be freed from the obligation to adhere to the state ideology "Pancasila".

October 25, 1998

Agence France Presse - October 25, 1998

Jakarta – Amid a massive show of force, the military warned it will not tolerate disruption of a crucial parliament session which will draw up the political parameters of post-Suharto Indonesia.

October 24, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - October 24, 1998

Louise Williams – It is almost a pathetic image. Once they were the most powerful family in the land, accustomed to trotting the globe in their private aircraft and slicing up the national economy in their opulent living rooms, squabbling over contracts like children sharing out cake.

Suara Merdeka - October 24, 1998

Washington (Agencies) – The United States on Wednesday banned the use in East Timor of weapons supplied to Indonesia and continued a ban on education and training aid to the Indonesian Armed Forces.

October 23, 1998

Dow Jones Newswires - October 23, 1998

Jakarta – The World Bank said Friday that a recent investigation conducted by the bank and the Indonesian Ministry of Education uncovered deficiencies and irregularities in the construction of World Bank-financed schools recently completed in East Java and West Sumatra.

Associated Press - October 23, 1998

Jakarta – At least five workers were injured and 35 others were being interrogated after a clash Friday between police and protesting workers in northern Sumatra, a Indonesia's human right group said Friday.

October 22, 1998

Reuters - October 22, 1998

Andrew Marshall, Jakarta, – Crisis-ridden Indonesia is not short of worries on the economic front, but policy makers are now grappling with an unexpected new concern – is the beleaguered rupiah bouncing back too strongly?

Jakarta Post - October 22, 1998

Surabaya – Following threats made to Moslem preachers by unidentified people here, journalists have been warned that they will be among the next victims in the killing spree which has so far claimed more than 150 lives in East Java. The threats were printed on flyers and circulated widely among the public in the provincial town of Jember.

Associated Press - October 22, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – The Indonesian parliament Thursday passed a new bill that controls demonstrations and protests in the country, which is being plagued by violence and protests.

The Australian - October 22, 1998

Don Greenlees, Jakarta – Indonesia backed away yesterday from claims President B. J. Habibie offered to open an investigation into the killings of the Balibo Five during the initial, covert phase of the invasion of East Timor in 1975.

Jakarta Post - October 22, 1998

Jakarta – The government stood its ground during the deliberation of its three political bills on Wednesday insisting that next year's general election use a combination of district and proportional representation systems. Represented by Minister of Home Affairs Lt. Gen.

Agence France Presse - October 22, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian President B.J. Habibie said he would not step down before 2000, as surveys published Thursday indicated the nation had mixed feelings on whether he should hang on or go now.

October 21, 1998

Jakarta Post - October 21, 1998

Jakarta – Few people in this country buy the Armed Forces' (ABRI) warning of a possible communist comeback, believing that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), outlawed since 1966, has been used as a convenient scapegoat when no other answers are available according to a survey jointly commissioned by The Jakarta Post and D&R weekly magazine.

Reuters - October 21, 1998

Andrew Marshall, Jakarta – The rejuvenated Indonesian rupiah broke through the 7,000 level against the dollar on Wednesday for the first time in more than eight months, providing a ray of hope for an economy crushed by crippling debt and interest rates.

Agence France Presse - October 21, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's legal mechanism is incapable of prosecuting ousted president Suharto, alleged to have amassed wealth during his 32 years in power, an Indonesian group fighting corruption said Wednesday.

Business Times - October 21, 1998

Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – The ongoing controversy between one of Indonesia's largest foreign investors and the country's legislators is threatening to undermine the country's standing among foreign investors, and could disrupt its long-term economic revival.

Agence France Presse - October 21, 1998

Dili – An assistant to the UN secretary general said here Wednesday he has met jailed East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao at his Jakarta jail.

"I went to jakarta to hear the comments of Xanana (Gusmao) on the results of the Senior official meeting," said Tamrat Samuel, the UN secretary general's assistant on political affairs for Asia and the Pacific.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 21, 1998

By Louise Williams in Jakarta and James Woodford in Canberra – A senior minister in the Habibie Government has flatly denied new allegations that he supervised the killing of five Australian-based journalists in East Timor, but President B.J. Habibie has promised to re-examine the deaths during the 1975 Indonesian invasion.

October 20, 1998

Agence France Presse - October 20, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds of university students protested at the Indonesian national parliament here on Tuesday, calling on the government to scrap a planned session of the upper house, the first in the post-Suharto era.

October 19, 1998

Associated Press - October 19, 1998

Jakarta – At least five students and one policeman were injured after a clash Monday during a protest in front of the military headquarters in southern Sumatra.

Agence France Presse - October 19, 1998

Padang – About 2,000 angry villagers attacked an Indonesian palm oil plantation, burning down all the buildings at the company's base camp, reports said Monday.

Inter Press Service - October 19, 1998 (abridged)

United Nations – Indonesia, grappling with a severe shortage of hard currency, has been forced to slash its defense spending and shelve an ambitious military modernization program.

Wall Street Journal - October 19, 1998

Kate Linebaugh, Jakarta – The International Monetary Fund on Monday signed a new letter of intent with the Indonesian government, clearing the way for further release of assistance funds for the country. IMF Asian-Pacific Director Hubert Neiss said after the signing that the new letter of intent focused on the country's bank-restructuring and public-expenditure programs.

Agence France Presse - October 19, 1998

Jakarta - A group of farmers evicted from their land in 1974 to make way for a cattle ranch for former president Suharto, Monday called on the attorney general to take the veteran leader to court.

Agence France Presse - October 19, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's military chief, echoing the leader of the country's most influential Islamic movement, said conflicts among the country's political elite were behind more than 150 murders in East Java, a report said Monday.

October 18, 1998

Jakarta Post - October 18, 1998

Jakarta – The People's Awakening Party (PKB) has asserted that it does not support Megawati Soekarnoputri and will pick its own candidate in next year's presidential election.