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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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March 5, 1997

Wall Street Journal - March 5, 1997

Jack David, Jakarta – Pessimists say that the current political trials of a dozen labor and student activists here indicate declining stability in Indonesia, and a bleak future for human rights observance.

Jakarta Post - March 5, 1997

Jakarta – Three Democratie People's Party (PRD) activists refused yesterday to testify against their leader Budiman Sujatmiko who is on trial for subversion.

Straits Times - March 5, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian police in the East Timorese enclave of Ambeno have arrested nine people over ethnic unrest there last month, which left one migrant dead, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday.

The Guardian - March 5, 1997

John Gittings – The son-in-law of President Suharto, Indonesia's ageing dictator, has persuaded a research centre at London University to set up a five-year training project for senior military officers.

March 4, 1997

Far Eastern Economic Review - March 4, 1997

A Louisiana district court dismissed a class-action suit filed by Amungme tribal activist Yosefa Alomang against Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold for alleged environmental and human-rights abuses around its giant Grasberg mine in the Central Highlands of Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

Antara - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Munawir Sjadzali, said "clobbering" does not violate human rights so long as it is intended to safeguard national security and take care of public interests.

South China Morning Post - March 4, 1997

Joe Leahy, Jakarta – Indonesia's President Suharto faces the first challenge to his 30-year rule after the country's Islamic-based party said yesterday it may nominate candidates to run for president and vice-president.

South China Morning Post - March 4, 1997

Joe Leahy, Jakarta – The Islamic Development Party is unlikely to carry out its threat to nominate one of its own members for the presidency, analysts say.

This is despite its record as the only party to run an independent candidate for the vice-presidency during the Suharto era.

East Timor Action Network - March 4, 1997

New York – A new study by the World Policy Institute reveals that the United States has supplied over $1.1 billion worth of weaponry to Indonesia in the two decades since the Suharto regime's invasion of East Timor. This new data on U.S. arms supplies to Indonesia comes at a time when U.S.-Indonesian relations are much in the news.

Straits Times - March 4, 1997

S N Vasuki – Indonesia's parliamentary election on May 29 has entered a decisive phase with an independent election committee preparing to monitor the polls and a leading opposition party threatening to ignore tough government restrictions on campaigning.

Reuters - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Eight East Timorese men who entered the French embassy in Jakarta early on Tuesday will go to Portugal, an official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

"We have been contacted by the French embassy and the Indonesian government and we are making the usual arrangements," an ICRC official, who asked not to be named, said.

Straits Times - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has never considered holding a special session to assess the capability of President Suharto, according to Deputy Speaker Ismail Hasan Metareum, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.

Sydney Morning Herald - March 4, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia's minority Muslim party has approved a boycott of the upcoming national elections in one key region and says it may ignore the Soeharto Government's campaign rules elsewhere because they overwhelming favour the ruling party.

Media Indonesia - March 4, 1997

Tangerang – Strikes in Tangerang and Bogor continue. In Tangerang three companies were paralyzed after workers struck demanding better wages and conditions. Thousands of public transport drivers have also gone on strike.

In Bogor, thousands of workers went on strike at PT Timur Jaya Prestasi (TJP) and PT Chungsan Mitra Internasional.

Media Indonesia - March 4, 1997 (Abridged)

Megawati Sukarnoputri was interrogated for the second time Tuesday with regard to the celebration of the 24th anniversary of the PDI which took place at her home. South Jakarta chief of police said afterwards that it was likely she would become a suspect. (Until now she has been questioned as a 'witness'.)

Reuters - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian police on Monday completed questioning of ousted minority party leader Megawati Sukarnoputri over a political rally at her home in January.

Ms Megawati, daughter of late founding president Sukarno, was questioned at the South Jakarta Police Headquarters for about 11/2 hours.

Straits Times - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian government will not want to risk losing its current close relationship with Muslims by undermining the Muhammadiyah Muslim organisation or its chairman, Mr Amien Rais, an Indonesian political science lecturer has said.

Jakarta Post - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Labor leader Muchtar Pakpahan, standing trial for his alleged antigovernment statements, exploded in court yesterday and accused presiding Judge Djazuli P. Sudibyo of ignoring his poor health.

Suara Merdeka - 4 March, 1997

Jakarta – In the ongoing case of Mochtar Pakpahan, at the South Jakarta state court was shaken yesterday. The reason? The judge accused the defendant of exaggerating his illness. He also said Pakpahan wanted to be written about in the newspapers.

Jakarta Post - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Central Java textile maker PT Sritex has won a Rp 2 5 billion (US$10.87 million) contract to make 500,000 military uniforms for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) starting this year, a company executive said.

March 3, 1997

Agence France Presse - March 3, 1997

Indonesia's armed forces chief has lent the military's backing to the ruling Golkar party ahead of May polls, the state news agency reported yesterday.

General Feisal Tanjung, speaking here on Saturday in the lead up to May 29 general elections, said "the big Abri (armed forces) family" channels its "political aspirations" to Golkar.

Diario de Noticias - March 3, 1997

[Interview with Mari Alkatiri, Fretilin secretary for external relations. Lisbon, Byline: Abel Coelho de Morais. Original Language: Portuguese.]

DN: According to recent reports, the situation in Timor has worsened. How would you describe Indonesia's activities in the territory?

Antara - March 3, 1997

Semarang, C Java – President Soeharto said the personnel of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) would face heavier challenges in their dedication to the nation.

South China Morning Post - March 3, 1997

Agencies in Jakarta – Indonesia's armed forces chief has lent the military's backing to the ruling Golkar party, breaking decades of traditional neutrality.

General Feisal Tanjung, speaking in Jakarta in the lead up to the May 29 general elections, said "the big ABRI [armed forces] family" channels its "political aspirations" to Golkar.

Australian Associated Press - March 3, 1997

Gordon Feeney, Jakarta – Leading Indonesian journalist-turned-political activist Goenawan Muhamad today predicted President Suharto would rule for another 10 years amid greater repression.

ASIET Action Alert - March 3, 1997

At midnight on March 3, nine (9) Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) underground Town Leadership Committees organised a coordinated Graffiti Action in the cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Solo, Semarang (all in Java), Lampung and Medan (in Sumatra) and Menado in Sulawesi.

Asia Times - March 3, 1997

Ong Hock Chuan, Jakarta – One economic casualty of the spate of riots to strike Indonesia over the past few months may be the owners of supermarket chains, a sector that was expected to see huge expansions throughout the country this year with the entry of international retailers such as Wal-Mart.

March 2, 1997

Kompas - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – Armed Forces Commander, Gen. Feisal Tanjung, stressed that in the coming period the Armed Forces will take a firmer stand. The Armed forces will compromise with nobody and will not take the slightest risk concerning any effort which wants to disturb national stability and integration of the nation.

The Washington Post - March 2, 1997

Matthew Jardine – "Hello, Mister. Where are you from?"

East Timor Action Network - March 2, 1997

On January 21, 1997, ETAN issued an Action Alert regarding the likely nomination of Stanley Roth as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which had been floated in the Washington Post and other newspapers.

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Susan Sim, Jakarta – President Suharto, offering to resign if it was the will of the people, has vowed to "clobber" anyone who tries to force him out of office by unconstitutional means.

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – Home Affairs Minister Yogie Memed said Indonesia's six million civil servants had no choice but to vote for the ruling Golkar as they were bound by statutes which said that members had to channel their political aspirations through the party.

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – The manner in which the nuclear-power Bill was rushed through Parliament raised doubts about the government's real intentions, analysts were quoted as saying in a newspaper report on Friday.

March 1, 1997

Asia Week - March 1, 1997

Cesar Bacani and Keith Loveard/Jakarta – Just call him King. If ever there were doubts about his preeminent position in Indonesian business, timber tycoon Mohamad Bob Hasan laid them to rest last week.

Agence France Presse - March 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian authorities have banned a book by an elderly politician, saying the contents discredited the government, the armed forces and President Suharto, a newspaper report said on Thursday.

Asia Week - March 1997

Yenni Kwok, Jakarta – Most Indonesian children grow up listening to stories about Kancil, a clever, mischievous mouse-deer who typically finds himself relying on his wits in order to save his life. His adventures often offer moral lessons for the young.

Down to Earth Update - March 1997

Since Down to Earth posted an Action Alert on the confrontation between the indigenous Dayaks and Madurese settlers in West Kalimantan (17th Feb 1997), we have been waiting for more news and accurate information from Jakarta and Pontianak. What follows is a summary of the news items which have appeared on apc.act. indonesia, apc.reg.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Jakarta – The chair of the United Develop Party (PPP), Ismail Hasan Matareum has said that the National Leadership meeting of the PPP has placed on the agenda, recommendations from a number of Regional Councils of the PPP (DPW) a plan to boycott the coming 1997 General Election campaign.

Digest Number 29 - March, 1997

Analysists who prefer to highlight structural interests often find the personalised nature of Indonesian politics difficult to grasp. Yet personal loyalties define the language of intra-elite conflict today as much as they did in the days of the sultans. A document marked 'highly secret', apparently produced at the think tank CPDS and circulating in Jakarta proves the point.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Solo – President Soeharto brought forward, "If the House of Representatives (DPR) indeed considers that I am incompetent, yes, please "withdraw" me, namely through an Extraordinary Session of the Peoples Consultative Congress (MPR)."

Agence France Presse - March 1, 1997

Jakarta – In a rare political statement the country's Catholic Church has told its faithful that it would not be a sin to refuse to vote in this year's general election.

But a senior Indonesian military officer warned on Monday that encouraging people not to vote was against the law.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Jakarta - A number of pro-Megawati Soekarnoputri PDI cadres, calling themselves "Awam PDI" (PDI Laymen) will arrange a longmarch from Denpasar to Jakarta starting 1 April 1997.

Upon arrival in Jakarta they will go to the Parliament Building (MPR/DPR) to deliver a written statement to the House of Representatives (DPR) as holder of the people's sovereignty.

Amnesty International - March 1997

In another stark illustration of the Indonesian Government's intention to silence its opponents in the run up to the May 1997 parliamentary elections, the controversial former parliamentarian, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, was detained on 5 March under the Anti-subversion Law.

Asia Week - March 1, 1997

Three years after discovering what is touted as the worlds richest gold lode in Indonesias Kalimantan province, Canadas Bre-X Minerals may have finally hit the jackpot. It reached an agreement for a development venture with the Indonesian government and other partners last week.

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions - March 1997

[The following is the text of a letter sent by Bill Jordan, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, to the Indonesian Minister of Justice.]

Dear Mr Minister,

February 28, 1997

Agence France Presse - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's Muslim-led United Development Party (PPP) is considering a boycott of the upcoming campaign for 29 May elections in response to tough restrictions on political campaigning.

Media Indonesia - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – The accused in the subversion case against the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) who are interned at the Cipinang prison, began a hunger strike last Wednesday (26/2) because they consider their trials are engineered.

Tapol - February 28, 1997

The following is the text of a letter sent by Bill Jordan, General [Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, to the Indonesian Minister of Justice.]

Dear Mr Minister,

Urgent: Health conditons of MM. Pakpahan and Hariyanto

Kabar Dari Pijar - February 28, 1997

We strongly demand that the House of Representatives of Indonesia will not approve the nuclear bill!

Kompas - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – One of the architects of the New Order economy, Prof Dr Soebroto, explicitly stated that the flourishing of various kinds of levies [read bribes - JB] which has been going on, is a reflection of absence of legal security.