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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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April 8, 1998

Kompas - April 8, 1998

It has been confirmed that Desmond Mahesa, Director of the Nusantara Legal Aid Institute, Jakarta, and Pius Lustrilanag, Secretary-general of Aldera, who have been missing since 3 February, are now back home with their families. Desmond has returned to Banjarmasin and Pius has returned to Palembang, South Sumatra.

The Guardian - April 8, 1998

Andrew Higgins in Jakarta on the tycoon who plays golf with Suharto and keeps a firm grip on Indonesia's timber industry

Reuters - April 8, 1998

Jakarta – The following is a chronology of Indonesia's financial crisis and political developments in the country the last eight months.


July 8 - The rupiah starts to crumble. Jakarta widens its rupiah trading band to 12 from eight percent.

Reuters - April 8, 1998

Jakarta - East Timorese were suffering the affects of a prolonged drought, but claims that residents of the former Portuguese colony were facing "mass starvation" were false, the territory's Indonesian-appointed governor said on Wednesday.

April 7, 1998

South China Morning Post - April 7, 1998

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – President Suharto's youngest son is putting US$60,000 into a corn growing scheme in eastern Indonesia in the first family's latest project to alleviate the monetary crisis.

Hutomo Mandala Putra, estimated to be worth about US$600 million, is sponsoring a scheme for farmers in East Nusa Tenggara to grow corn, cassava and soya beans.

Dow Jones New Service - April 7, 1998

Jakarta – A top military commander has accused East Timorese separatists of infiltrating student protests to stir up anti-government sentiment, the official Antara news agency reported Tuesday.

Washington Post - April 7, 1998

Cindy Shiner, Nunukan Timur Island – Kris Enakobun left behind a life of crime working for a Jakarta gangster eight years ago for a better living in neighboring Malaysia, a journey taken by more than a million other Indonesians.

Reuters - April 7, 1998

Jakarta – A town in Central Java province was placed under curfew after hundreds of residents went on the rampage to protest against what they said was a rigged election of a village chief, a report said. The Indonesian Observer yesterday said 10 people were being treated in hospital after Saturday's rioting in the village of Grogol.

April 6, 1998

Jakarta Post - April 6, 1998

Jakarta – Minister of Education and Culture Wiranto Arismunandar banned Saturday students from being involved in practical political activities, a move that immediately drew harsh criticism from an observer.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 6, 1998

The global business empire of Indonesia's first family and friends represent an intricate web of connections and concessions. George J. Aditjondro looks at how being in with President Soeharto can pay off.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 6, 1998

Marian Wilkinson and Minh Bui – While the Indonesian economy continues to shudder and Western diplomats debate how to dismantle the country's unique style of crony capitalism, a select group of Australia's farmers and businessmen is locked into the vast financial empire of President Soeharto's family and close friends.

Business Week - April 6, 1998

An expected IMF deal leaves him plenty of maneuvering room It's a confrontation that has pitted the might of the U.S. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund against an ailing dictator and his clique. Now, this battle between the IMF and Indonesian President Suharto may be ending, thanks to compromise by both sides. But on balance, the old man comes out the winner.

International Herald Tribune - April 6, 1998

Michael Richardson, Singapore – By taking control of 14 troubled banks, the Indonesian government is walking a fine line between backing a reform of the banking system that won't undermine public confidence and causing a damaging run on financial institutions, analysts said Sunday.

The Age - April 6, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Automatic-teller machines ran out of cash as thousands of Indonesians raced to withdraw their savings ahead of yesterday's announcement that seven ailing banks had been closed and seven more placed under Government management, including two of the country's largest commercial banks.

April 4, 1998

Kompas - April 4, 1998

Yogyakarta – Violence occurred again at the demonstration in the Gajah Mada University (UGM)'s Campus and the IKIP (Teacher's Training College) in Yogyakarta, Friday (3/4).

April 3, 1998

Kompas - April 3, 1998 (posted by ASIET)

Yogyakarta – Student actions have entered a new phase, moving off campus. As a result, at several campuses which held demonstrations on Thursday, April 4, battles with security forces could not be avoided and resulted in students being injured.

East Timor International Support Center - April 3, 1998

Diplomatic efforts aimed at finding a solution to the East Timor problem seem to be making little headway of late and for that reason a large group of East Timorese youths today demonstrated in front of the British Embassy in Jakarta.

April 2, 1998

Kyodo - April 2, 1998

Christine T. Tjandraningsih, Jakarta – After more than two weeks of negotiations, Indonesia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have reached an accord on revised target figures for the country's 1998/1999 budget, a government official said Thursday.

Dow Jones News Service - April 2, 1998

Jakarta – Police fired tear gas at rock-throwing students after a big anti-government protest turned violent, witnesses said.

At least 40 students from Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, 420 kilometers east of Jakarta, were treated at nearby hospitals for gas inhalation, as well as injuries sustained when police used sticks to disperse the crowd of several thousand.

Associated Press - April 2, 1998

Jakarta – An Indonesian court has sentenced an East Timorese man to 20 years in prison for allegedly smuggling homemade bombs into the disputed territory last year, the official Antara news agency reported today.

Antara said Constancio Costa Dos Santos, 21, was convicted by the Dili District Court on Tuesday on charges of undermining the Indonesian government.

Reuters - April 2, 1998

Adam Entous, Washington – Top Democrats in Congress demanded on Thursday that the Clinton administration get tough with Indonesian President Suharto, warning that U.S. financial support for Jakarta and the International Monetary Fund was at stake.

Kompas - April 2, 1998

Jakarta – Demonstrations still happen at a number of campusses, with unchanged demands, namely about economical and political reforms. Eventhough the demonstrations occur in the campusses, at some places happened "try outs" to go out of the campus.

The Lampung University (Unila) Campus which in the last week

Washington Post - April 2, 1998

Cindy Shiner, Jakarta – Francisca Sri Haryatni never spoke to her six children about the hardships she and others endured during the turbulent period leading up to and immediately following President Suharto's coming to power in the mid-1960s.

April 1, 1998

Reuters - April 1, 1998

Raj Rajendran, Singapore – Southeast Asian environment ministers meeting this weekend have little hope of finding a way to extinguish Indonesia's raging forest fires, experts said on Wednesday.

Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Brunei on Saturday might best focus on prevention of future fires, rather than cure, they said.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 1, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesian workers have lost their bid for a minimum wage rise, despite record inflation, as business closures force millions out of work and back into poverty.

Lusa - April 1, 1998

Coimbra, 01 Apr (Lusa) - Indonesian military arrested and "tortured" a young Timorese in Dili on Friday, a Timorese student in Portugal said on Tuesday.

Asian Food Worker 28 - April 1998

There can be no doubt that the dramatic changes which have taken place since student-led protests forced Suharto's resignation in May have seen the emergence of a new democratic space in Indonesian society.

Associated Press - April 1, 1998

Geoff Spencer, Jakarta – Millions of Indonesia's poorest are in danger of serious food shortages because of drought conditions and a deepening economic crisis, a United Nations team said today.

Reuters - April 1, 1998

Nelson Graves, Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia has locked hands with Indonesia to deport thousands of immigrants, dismissing pleas to protect Acehnese asylum-seekers and opting instead for regional stability.

Reuters - April 1, 1998

Jakarta - International human rights groups expressed concern on Wednesday about the possible torture of more than 500 Indonesians expelled from Malaysia last week because of their possible links to separatist groups.

Reuters - April 1, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds of hospital patients in Jakarta have fled their beds before making a full recovery because they cannot afford their bills, an Indonesian newspaper said on Thursday.

South China Morning Post - April 1, 1998

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – An Indonesian court ruled yesterday that activists who tried to hold a meeting to "elect" a new president were legally arrested and detained by police earlier this month.

The North Jakarta District Court was guarded by 60 riot police carrying semi-automatic weapons, and scores of plainclothes intelligence agents.

Los Angeles Times - April 1, 1998

Jim Mann, Washington – The current crisis in Indonesia isn't all about money. It's also about guns, armies and political power.

March 31, 1998

Alliance of Independent Journalists - March 31, 1998

Jakarta – As many had suspected, the pre-trial appeal of six of the accused in the case of those arrest at the "Indonesia Congress" was rejected by the judges at the North Jakarta high court. At the session held this morning (31/3), the judges unanimously rejected all of the accused's requests. As a result the accused remain detained at Polda Metro Jakarta.

Alliance of Independent Journalists News - March 31, 1998

A student went on trial in Bandung on 31 March charged with insulting the government. If found guilty, he faces a sentence of up to seven years under Article 154 of the Criminal Code.

Australian Financial Review - March 31, 1998

Peter Hartcher – The international community's $US43bn ($64bn) package for support of Indonesia is a waste of money, according to a US analyst and former senior policy maker in the Bush Administration.

Kompas - March 31, 1998 (posted by Tapol)

Tuesday's issue of Kompas reports on the growing concern over a number of "disappearances".

AFX-ASIA - March 31, 1998

Jakarta – Only 180 of 800 Indonesian companies have responded to official requests for detailed information on their debts, State Enterprises Minister Tanri Abeng was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying..

Disclosure of such information would now be a "compulsory requirement" as the country tries to restructure the private sector's massive foreign debt, Abeng said.

Lusa - March 31, 1998

Lisbon – The commander of the Armed Forces for the Liberation of East Timor (FALINTIL) Konis Santana died on March 11 after falling in an embankment, Portuguese radio RDP announced on Monday, quoting a radio message by the a spokesman for FALINTIL, Taur Matan Ruak.

March 30, 1998

Lusa - March 30, 1998

Sydney – Indonesian soldiers detained and tortured a young Timorese farmer early this month in the region of Baucau, the organisation East Timor International Support Centre (ETISC) said on Friday.

It said in a statement that the farmer who was seriously injured during the detention was now under the care of his family.

Kyodo - March 30, 1998

Tokyo – Japanese commercial banks are likely to write off for fiscal 1997 ending Tuesday around 200 billion yen in loans to private companies in Indonesia that have been hit hard by the nation's economic crisis, banking sources said Monday.

Lusa - March 30, 1998

Lisbon – The head of the external delegation of East Timorese resistance movement FRETILIN warned on Saturday for the shortage of basic foodstuffs in East Timor, due to the "economic, social and political crisis" affecting Indonesia.

Asia - March 30, 1998

Terry McCarthy, Jakarta – 1,000 students rallied against the government at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta last month, one rebel climbed up to a sign near the main gates: welcome to the campus of the struggle of the new order.

The Nation USA - March 30, 1998

Allan Nairn, Jakarta – Today in Indonesia activists and observers speculate that the country – reeling from hunger and mass layoffs promoted by the IMF – is moving toward social upheaval and perhaps a change of regime. At the dumps in Bantar Gebang, the ranks of scavengers have soared as sacked day laborers pick through garbage hoping to survive.

Amnesty International - March 30, 1998

Andi Arief has been in incommunicado detention since 28 March 1998. There is grave concern that he is at risk of torture or ill-treatment. He is also known to have been seriously ill recently and in view of this there is concern that he may require immediate medical assistance.

Australian Financial Review - March 30, 1998

Peter Hartcher – Indonesia will cut itself off from the global economy if it fails to win back the financial support of the International Monetary Fund, according to an economic adviser to the new Vice-President, Dr B.J.Habibie.

The adviser, Mr Umar Juoro, said the costs of continuing to operate in the world economy were too great for a weakened Indonesia to bear alone.

March 28, 1998

Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation - March 28, 1998

Press statement by the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute and the Lampung Legal Aid Institute regarding the arrest of Andi Arief by security officers today.

The Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) and the Lampung Legal Aid Institute have received a complaint from the family of Andi Arief represented by his father, Arief Makhya and his older brother, Edy Irawan.

Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI) News - March 28, 1998

Andi Arief, the ex-chairperson of Student Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy (Solidaritas Mahsiswa Indonesia untuk Demokrasi, SMID), one of the affiliated mass organisations of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), who has been sought by the authorities for some time, was arrested Saturday morning (28/3) at around 10.30am. He was arrested at a house owned by his older brother.

March 26, 1998

Kompas - March 26, 1998

Jakarta – A clash between demonstrators and security personnel has again occurred on the campus of UNS, Solo on Wednesday (25/3) yesterday. The incident took place at about 13.50 West Indonesia Time, some ten meters in front of the campus gate.

March 24, 1998

IPS - March 24, 1998

Kafil Yamin, Pekanbaru – For two days now, Dorin, has been staying in a high hut here, waiting for armies of fish to pass through the small canal below so he can catch some.