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Feisal Tanjung blames pro-democracy groups for riots

Tapol - February 1997

Without producing a shred of evidence and seemingly desparate to find a way of explaining the widespread unrest in Indonesia, armed forces commander in chief, General Feisal Tanjung is now accusing opposition groups for the unrest. The following is a summary of an item in Kompas today, 22 February:

Armed forces commander General Feisal Tanjung believes that certain opposition groups, namely the People's Democracy Party, PRD, the United Democracy Party of Indonesia, PUDI, and the Indonesian People's Alliance, MARI tend to get involved in practical politics and so, their activities cannot be separated from the riots that have occurred recently.

"The activities of these groups are linked with the recent unrest and they certainly use this in their efforts to distort the facts," he said.

Speaking to the press after addressing officers at a course on social and political affairs in Bandung, the general accused these opposition groups of trying to expose negative aspects of development, by wrapping it up in talk about disparities. He saw this as an endeavour to stir up public opinion against the New Order government. "They are persistently calling for the repeal of the five political laws (of 1985) without paying attention to the actual situation in society, he said.

He told reporters that the situation in the country is secure and stable and people need not worry about anything. He urged the press to sift out reports that might arouse passions in people. He gave as an example the situation in West Kalimantan where, he said, nothing is happening. The same is true about Bandung.

"There were indeed problems in West Kalimantan but now that all the parties have been brought together, the matter has been resolved." In Bandung, it was just some groups having a fight.

He called on the Indonesian press to refute reports in the foreign press which are spreading negative issues about Indonesia. He also asked the national press to take a look at the way the press behaves in neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia where journalists are very concerned to defend the national interests.