Craig Skehan – New Zealand had created a foreign policy "headache" for Australia by revealing that it did not believe Indonesia's incorporation of East Timor was irreversible, according to a confidential foreign affairs department cable.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
February 11, 1997
February 10, 1997
Ian McPhedran – The Indonesian Government has been severely embarrassed by a campaign of misinformation in the wake of a visit to Canberra last week by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta.
S N Vasuki – Indonesian banks are suffering a long-expected shakeout as higher capital requirements and increased competition force gut-wrenching change in the industry.
In recent weeks, several banks have announced merger plans while larger, listed entities are on a cash-raising binge to boost their capital levels.
Michael Shari, Jakarta – Indonesian labor leader Muchtar Pakpahan looks remarkably calm for a man who could soon face a long prison sentence or even the death penalty. He's on trial in Jakarta for insulting President Suharto – a capital crime – and no one has ever been acquitted on that charge.
February 8, 1997
Jakarta – The Indonesian province of West Kalimantan remained tense Saturday following days of ethnic unrest, with the authorities barring street processions for the Moslem Idul Fitri celebrations Sunday.
"Pontianak (West Kalimantan's capital) is calm but still tense. We continue to have neighborhood patrols at night," a resident told AFP by telephone.
Jakarta – The Jakarta High Court has returned the case file of Romo Sandyawan SJ and his brother Benny Sumardi to the Metro Jaya police on the grounds that it is not enough to present in court.
Jakarta – The arrest and trial of an activist caught with copies of a banned magazine was Saturday branded by a human rights watch dog as the latest assault on freedom of expression in Indonesia.
Jakarta – A prominent Indonesian Moslem leader known as a frequent government critic has made the surprising move of cooperating with President Suharto's oldest daughter, news reports said Saturday.
February 7, 1997
Jakarta – The presiding judge of Central Jakarta State Court trying the case of Budiman Sujatmiko, the chair of the PRD, Sjoffinan Sumantri has asked the public prosecutor to have Bambang Widjojanto appear as a witness.
The recent ruling announced by Waluyo, the deputy secretary general of the General Elections Institute that all campaign television speeches broadcast in the run-up to the upcoming general elections must be screened by the government before they go on air, sounds familiar.
Jakarta – Megawati Sukarnoputri, a member of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia, yesterday did not comply with a summons by the South Jakarta District Police to be interrogated over the holding of a political meeting at her residence on Kebagusan Road in South Jakarta on 10 January.
Jakarta – Indonesia must be vigilant of maneuvers by the international communist network which wants to play one side off against the other with issues of tribe, religion, race and inter-group (SARA) along with human rights to split the nation, said the head of the Indonesian Islamic Scholars Association (ICMI), B.J. Habibie.
Jakarta – The government-appointed National Commission on Human Rights will investigate allegations that military personnel raped an East Timorese woman last year, an English-language newspaper said Friday.
The word is finally out. On Jan. 23, Indonesia's best-known Muslim leader (and anti-establishment figure) Abdurrahman Wahid announced that he was inviting Suharto's daughter Siti Hardyanti Rukmana ("Tutut"), a leading member of the ruling Golkar party, to appear with him at religious schools loyal to his 300-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama organization.
Jakarta – The head of the Jakarta Police, Hamani Nata said that if Megawati and her husband, Taufiq Kiemas, are called twice and do not fulfill the order, both of them can be brought forcibly by the police.
Jakarta – Minister for Women's Affairs Mien Sugandhi will soon leave for Saudi Arabia to probe into an allegation that hundreds of Indonesian women are working as prostitutes in the Middle East country.
Indonesian stocks rose to a record as investors continued to warm to Indonesia's improving economic picture and the outlook for faster profit growth in the coming year.
Pontianak – The large Chinese community in the troubled Indonesian province of West Kalimantan celebrated the Lunar New Year on Friday in solemn mood.
Han Jei, Moluccan archipelago, Indonesia – "Blast" and poison fishing and the growing use of dragnets are threatening traditionally abundant fisheries in Indonesia's Moluccas islands.
The practices are not simply indiscriminately killing fish but are also depleting coral reefs and the rest of the underwater ecosystem.
Jakarta – Prosecutors have demanded that an Indonesian court ignore an appeal by defence lawyers and continue the trial of three Moslem radicals charged with sowing hatred against the government, a report said Friday.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas had brushed off reports that a team from the U.S. is to come in Jakarta to inves tigate alleged illegal foreign campaign donations, saying it would be better to conduct an inquiry in America rather than come all the way to Indonesia.
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Ref: UA 3/977 February 1997
Bandung – At least three persons suspected of instigating the Tasikmalaya riot on December 26 have been questioned by the provincial attorney's office.
Deputy chief of the West Java attorney's office, Armin Aribowo, told ANTARA Wednesday that his office is still searching for MH(24), another suspect who went into hiding right after the riot.
Canberra – The family of Indonesian President Suharto jumped to ninth on an annual ranking of Asia's richest people published yesterday – up from 93rd last year – with a combined wealth estimated at US$6.3 billion (S$8.9 billion).
Pontianak – New unrest broke out in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province despite a security clampdown, sources said Friday.
February 6, 1997
[It is interesting to note that "self-determination" is not included in ACFOA's recommendations - JB]
The Australian Council for Overseas Aid today welcomed the decision of the Foreign Minister, Mr Alexander Downer, to meet with Mr Jose Ramos Horta in Adelaide on Friday 14 February, 1997.
Jakarta – The Indonesian minister for women's affairs, Mien Sugandhi, will visit Saudi Arabia to investigate reports of Indonesian women working as prostitutes in the country, political sources said Thursday.
Mien will also go to Malaysia to inspect the working conditions of Indonesian women there, the sources said.
Jakarta – An Indonesian activist caught with copies of a banned magazine of an independent journalists' group faces six years in jail for defaming the president, a report said Thursday.
Jakarta, Kompas - the Suara Independen (Independent Voice) trial began at the South Jakarta State Court on Thursday, February 5. Andi Syahputra (31) is accused of insulting the president in October 1996.
Indonesia, with a population of 200 million in 1997, has been struggling to reduce income inequalities and social disparities among its diverse ethnic groups inhabiting the country's 13,000 islands. Chronic poverty is the worst kind of social unrest and political instability are not to disturb national development.
Pontianak – Tension was running high Thursday in a flashpoint district of this Indonesian provincial capital amid mounting fears of a fresh outbreak of ethnic violence.
Groups of indigenous Dayak people were seen Wednesday night patrolling the city's northern Siantan district where many of them live.
Security forces were conducting random checks of identity papers.
S N Vasuki – Indonesia reported higher inflation and a sharply lower trade surplus yesterday in line with the expectations of most economists.
But economists cautioned that the continued fall in non-oil exports was a worrying sign of an erosion in the country's competitiveness.
Bandung – Legal action has been taken against those involved in a riot at PT [Company Limited] Kahatek. "Police have arrested 17 persons," Police Major General Nana Permana, West Java Provincial Police chief, said after a rally by members of the Indonesian Association of Children of Retired Military Personnel.
Amidst the gloom of Indonesia's authoritarian political system, a ray of light. A government bill to pave the way for the construction of an unpopular nuclear plant in Java was not approved by parliament last December. Instead of being passed into law on 12 December as planned, a deadlock in the committee stage caused it to be held over till this year.
Organizations Participating in the Election (OPP) stated their disagreement with the election rules regulated by decrees issued by the minister of internal affairs and the minister of information. In addition to damaging the OPPs, especially the political parties, regulation by those two decrees will also reduce the independence and autonomy of the OPPs themselves.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – The talk about A takeover began to emerge among Jakarta journalists in September, after businessman Peter Gontha signed an agreement that let him take control of The Indonesian Observer and reportedly approached veteran journalists to edit the English-language newspaper.
Jakarta – A private company set up last year by Indonesian President Suharto to finance the country's first passenger jet project plans to go public Feb. 17 and is looking for a clear and simple way to offer its shares, the state-run news agency Antara said Thursday.
S N Vasuki – Indonesia's Lippo Group has positioned itself as a major player in the retail sector with last week's acquisition of a 50.1 per cent stake in PT Matahari Putra Prima which runs the country's largest department store chain.
John McBeth, Jakarta – When Golkar painted the town yellow, Indonesia's opposition finally saw red. It happened in early January in the historic Central Java city of Surakata, where overzealous loyalists from Indonesia's dominant political party splashed large tracts of the city in Golkar's trademark canary yellow.
Jakarta – Indonesian pro-democracy leader Megawati Sukarnoputri on Thursday rejected a police summons for questioning over a celebration held by supporters at her residence.
Authorities said the Jan. 10 celebration was an 'illegal political gathering.'
Jakarta – Indonesian authorities suspect four men of inciting a violent riot in the West Java town of Tasikmalaya last December which left four people dead, a report said Thursday.
PT Dua Satu Tiga Puluh (DSTP) which will fund the engineering development and construction planning of the jet aircraft N-2130, produced by PT Industri Pesawat Terbang Nasional (IPTN) will reach the breakeven point when 326 aircraft units are produced in the year 2013.
February 5, 1997
Jakarta – The Indonesian government has ordered a ban on public gatherings which could incite social unrest prior to the May general election, officials said yesterday.
Violations of indigenous peoples basic rights are rife in the operations areas of PT Kelian Equatorial Mining in East Kalimantan and PT Freeport Indonesia in Irian Jaya, according to an influential non-governmental organization.
Veronica Smith, Washington – US and international labor union leaders will demonstrate Wednesday in front of Indonesia's embassy here to protest the imprisonment of an Indonesian labor leader, organizers said.
Jakarta – Jakarta Governor Surjadi Soedirja Tuesday called on his citizents to participate more actively in efforts to fight hoodlums arguing that Indonesia's national capital must be cleared of thugs.
"Hoodlums have to be totally eradicated and that is a job for all of us," he said when visiting Jakarta's Tanjung Priok harbor.
Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia will only reopen its border post into Indonesia's Kalimantan province once the ethnic violence has calmed down on the Indonesian side, officials said Wednesday. "We are still monitoring the situation in Kalimantan.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Indonesian Government has banned all social and political meetings involving large crowds until after the May national elections, and Malaysia has moved to close its land border with Indonesia in the face of continuing social unrest.
Sonny Inbaraj, Bangkok – It was a moral victory for the second Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor, or Apcet II as it was popularly known. The 50 Apcet II participants and 10 journalists covering the conference, who were arrested in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian police last November, had all charges against them dropped last Friday by the attorney general.
Jay Solomon, Jakarta – Indonesia recorded another healthy trade surplus in November, though analysts expressed some concern about future trends in the country's exports.
Data released Wednesday also showed inflation firmly in check, with a surprisingly modest 5.5% rise reported for January's consumer price index (CPI).