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It is time that Indonesia has laws on national security

Kompas Online - February 1997

Jakarta – The Chief of Staff of Socio Politics (Kassospol) of the Armed Forces (ABRI) Lieut. Gen. Syarwan Hamid said that Indonesia presently very needed a set of Laws on National Security. This is particularly needed when ABRI personnel are on duty in efforts to neutralize a riot.

Syarwan said this in his meeting with 52 leaders of Social Organizations and three Participating Organizations of the General Elections (OPP). Various military brass attended the meeting.

According to Syarwan, at the emerging of various riots accompanied with various damages on social facilities, either in Situbondo, Tasikmalaya, Sangau Ledo Pontianak, or Rengasdengklok Karawang, the ABRI personnel who were dropped just only relied on showing their bodies. "We don't have yet Laws on National Security. Not yet. Yesterday I shouted, if this continues ABRI will not be able to safeguard this country. This is not realistic, people are given the responsibility to pacify but the sets are minimum," he clarified.

ABRI, according to Syarwan, actually does not demand much. "ABRI only needs a set of Laws that its actions in pacifying this country will not deviate from general stipulations or the law in force and they are not hunted by the accusation of violating basic human rights (HAM)," he said.

To pacify this country, he added, we have not to wait until a crime is performed. "ABRI cannot wait till this whole country is aflame and destroyed. There must be preventive efforts. The problem is still in embryo form when we localize it. If needed it will end that far," he said.

He also said that conflicts with religious backgrounds were indeed more dangerous compared with other elements as background. Because religion does not know sociological, demographical or geographical boundaries. "Besides that religion has a big influence on the totality of the personality, because religious comprehension is more subjective and emotional," he said.

Syarwan also said that Laws on National Security differ in substance from Laws on Subversion. "Those Laws are more directed to threats which are already on the surface or have already manifested, like the presence of support, destructive activities which has spread, etc. While Laws on subversion are more directed to activities under the surface," he said.

The possibility of efforts aimed at threating the integrity of the RI unitarian state, he said, is not something impossible because the fact is that those attempts continue. "The PKI will continuously emerge in various manifestations, utilize various shortages and weaknesses due to the quick development which is now going on," Syarwan said.

To spread alertness

Syarwan also appealed to all leaders of social organizations and OPP to continue to spread alertness in all sectors and strata. "Elements which want chaos in this country will always try to enter in various sectors where it can develop. Therefore, to answer this wheresoever, we must spread this alertness," he said.

Answering the question of the General Chairman of the Ansor Youth Movement M Iqbal Assegaf that ABRI immediately take clear actions towards perpetrators who are classified as the intellectual actors who master minded all the riot actions which recently happened, Syarwan said, that the ABRI efforts were actually very colliding with the existing institution of laws. "We actually want to take actions. But the institution of laws much hampers ABRI's room for movement," he said.

"For arresting a person in these times there are regulations and legal signs, which must also be acompanied by sufficient reasons and evidences. Therefore ABRI asks that the society also understands the situation of the nation at this moment," Syarwan said. He clarified that the communist phenomenon was something real and not just useless rumor.