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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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April 18, 1998

Voice of America - April 18, 1998

Daily student protests against Indonesia's government have rocked campuses across the country for the last two months. Jenny Grant, in Jakarta, looks at what impact the demonstrations might have on a country in the midst of an economic crisis.

Gatra - April 18, 1998

The theme and the scope of the students rally extended. The Minister of Education and Culture was criticized and demonstration is beginning to stray out of campus peripherals.

April 17, 1998

SiaR - April 17, 1998

Jakarta – Be careful if you take a taxi. Many disguised ABRI (armed forces) intelligence agents are becoming taxi drivers. The drivers job is to draw their passengers into conversation and if their views are anti-government, take them to the police.

Jakarta Post - April 17, 1998

Serang, West Java – President Soeharto gave clear-cut guidelines yesterday for field security officials dealing with unruly student demonstrations, including the use of "repressive measures" in emergency situations.

Australian Financial Review - April 17, 1998

Geoffrey Barker – Australia has lodged two angry high-level diplomatic protests with Jakarta following disclosures that the Indonesian Vice-President, Dr J.B. Habibie, backed Malaysia's veto on Australian membership of the Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM).

April 16, 1998

Kompas - April 16, 1998

Jakarta – Students from universities of whole Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang and Bekasi (Jabotabek) all at once held a peaceful demonstration in 30 campuses. Besides holding a free speech forum in each of their campuses a part of them went down to the road to merge with the actions which took place at the surrounding campuses.

Jakarta Post - April 16, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of students kept up their demands for reforms and lower prices of basic commodities yesterday in on-campus rallies organized concurrently at dozens of universities.

At least four campuses here witnessed noisy rallies demanding a reshuffle of the cabinet, clean government, lower prices of commodities and the empowerment of the. House of Representatives.

Lusa - April 16, 1998

Macau – Three leaders of the Movement for the Reunification and Unity of the People of East Timor (MRUPTL) have been subpoenaed by the Indonesian police to be interrogated on Thursday.

Jakarta Post - April 16, 1998

Jakarta – The ousted leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), Megawati Soekarnoputri, said yesterday she would not attend the party congress planned by rival faction leader Soerjadi in June, and would hold her own in December.

Financial Times - April 16, 1998

By Gwen Robinson in Jakarta and John Authers in New York

Negotiations on resolving Indonesia's massive private foreign debt overhang began yesterday in New York against a backdrop of confusion in Jakarta and growing division in the camps of both international lenders and their Indonesian debtors.

Bernas - April 16, 1998 (summary from Tapol)

Hundreds of East Timorese students demonstrated at the Semarang district court as the trial of four East Timorese was underway. They demanded that the four men be freed.

For the second time running, the prosecutor was unable to present Constancio da Costa as a witness to testify at the trial. He said this was for security reasons and in consideration of the costs.

April 14, 1998

SiaR - April 14, 1998

Jakarta - Beyond any expectations, the total number of activists which have disappeared since April is estimated to have reached 50. This was announced by the chair of the Indonesian Legal Aid foundation (YLBHI), Bambang Widjojanto on Tuesday (14/4) based on a report from LBH offices in different parts of Indonesia.

April 13, 1998

Straits Times - April 13, 1998

Jakarta – Fires have ravaged more than 224,000 ha of forest in the drought-stricken Indonesian province of East Kalimantan since the beginning of the year, reports said yesterday.

Washington Post - April 13, 1998

Keith B. Richburg, Jakarta – Members of the U.S. Congress home for Easter recess and wanting to gauge American views on the Asian economic bailout might well hear concerns about the price of french fries at a Jakarta McDonald's. Or the cost of a Washington state apple at a central Java supermarket.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 13, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – He was standing on the edge of the crowded footpath, peering into the stream of crawling Jakarta traffic for his bus when they came for him: four burly, silent men appearing suddenly, two at each side.

April 12, 1998

Reuters - April 12, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto has held talks with 32 youth organisations linked to a group affiliated with the ruling Golkar party, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.

April 11, 1998

The Age - April 11, 1998

Andrew Higgins, West Java – Wood huts scattered around fields of rice are a long way from the haggling between the International Monetary Fund and the technocrats of President Soeharto.

April 10, 1998

Reuters - April 10, 1998

Amy Chew, Jakarta – Indonesia's flirtation with a currency board system to prop up its ailing rupiah failed to carry through to reforms agreed by the government and the International Monetary Fund to tackle the country's economic crisis.

Reuters - April 10, 1998

Nelson Graves, Kuala Lumpur – Indonesian immigrants seeking political asylum forced their way into four foreign embassy compounds in the Malaysian capital on Friday, diplomats and police said.

Malaysian police quickly removed the immigrants from the French and Swiss embassies and Brunei's diplomatic office in Kuala Lumpur, diplomats and police told Reuters.

Asiaweek - April 10, 1998

No memorandums have been signed, no handshakes photographed. But after a bitter face-off over what prescription is right for Indonesia's beleaguered economy, Jakarta and the International Monetary Fund seem to have stopped colliding and started cooperating.

April 9, 1998

Jakarta Post - April 9, 1998

Jakarta – Ten out of at least 21 people reported missing have returned, but the whereabouts of the rest are still unknown, reports said yesterday.

Those accounted for were eight students who went missing following a clash between protesters and security personnel in Yogyakarta last week, another student and a lawyer from Jakarta.

Kyodo - April 9, 1998

Christine T. Tjandraningsih, Jakarta – As part of its efforts to implement a new package of economic reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indonesian government will announce several new measures in the next few weeks, according to a draft Indonesia-IMF memorandum.

Associated Press - April 9, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's wildfires are being blamed for endangering wildlife, forcing airports to close and costing already struggling Southeastern Asian industries millions of dollars.

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 - 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

April 2, 1998

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

April 1, 1998

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.

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.

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

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.