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Armed forces to adopt stand of limited repressiveness

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. To that end, the Armed Forces is compelled to strike an attitude of limited repressiveness.

The same guarantee also applies to each effort which wants to disturb, not to say make fail the General Elections of 1997 and the General Session of the 1998 People's Consultative Congress. "That is why the Armed Forces hope very much for lawful legality strengthened by the quick enactment of the National Security Law," emphasized the Armed Forces Commander when giving a lecture at the IIIrd Directing Board Meeting of the Development Unity Party (PPP) on Saturday night (1/3), at Hotel Cempaka in Jakarta.

According to the Armed Forces Commander, the repressive attitude which the Armed Forces are compelled to adopt, is not a reflection of the general pattern of the Armed Forces. But it is a preventive measure, when there are parties which try to force acceptance of their wishes in a destructive manner. The Armed Forces, he continued, remain consistent in giving priority to problem solution in a functional and coordinative way, and an attitude based on persuasion and dialogue for the sake of developing Pancasila Democracy.

The freedom of democracy, said the Commander further, is not everything, the more so freedom which is counterproductive and democracy which is established in an anarchistic way. "The Armed Forces are not willing if they must pay far too dear a ransom, sacrificing the stability and integrity of the nation just to be tolerant towards amorphic concepts and actions," he emphasized to the IIIrd Directing Board Meeting of the PPP which was also attended by the General Chairman of the Central Directing Board of PPP, Ismail Hasan Metareum, Secretary General of the Central Directing Board of PPP, Tosari Widjaya, Mrs Aisyah Aminy, and the Chairmen of the PPP Central Directing Board and Regional Directing Boards.

One commitment of the Armed Forces in realizing quality general elections, added the Armed Forces Commander, is that a General Elections Participant Organization wins the elections in an honorable way and a constitutional manner. Honorable, because it would be won without legal taint. "Perhaps, this would be a victory that would make proud the party which has won it, and be refreshing to the other Participant Organizations," he said.

Criticized no matter what

In another part of his lecture the Commander said that nearing implementation of the general elections, the process of socio-political change and development is often worsened by the existence of certain groups in the community which have their own interests. As a result there is a frequent occurrence of what the Commander called 'misfunction' on the map of national politics.

As an example the Armed Forces Commander took Political Parties and the Functional Group (Golkar) which are considered to be insufficiently playing a role and not attaining self-sufficiency. "On one side the public considers that the government is not quick enough on the uptake in respect of its aspirations, while on the other hand the government considers that the public is insufficiently participating," he said.

Meanwhile, continued the Commander, groups outside the political parties tend to be too big for their britches. Claiming to act on behalf of the people, investigative institutes so easily change into executive institutes. Ironically, it is exactly these groups outside the political parties, which often exploit each form of trouble-proneness and excesses of development out of proportion for the interests of their own group.

"Such conditions we (the Armed Forces -Ed.) overcome together by finding the root of the problem, the correlation and the connectivity, precisely and thoroughly. In conjunction with that, we earnestly search for and winkle out the actors intellectualis in conformity with procedures and prevailing laws," said the Armed Forces Commander.

However, he continued, this effort is not easy and not free from risk. The Commander pictured the Armed Forces as being faced by a situation fraught with dilemma. Acting repressively and quickly, or first calculating how it would be spotlighted from the point of view of human rights and democracy. If it would act on the basis of persuasion and dialogue, the Armed Forces would seem to put the integrity of the nation at stake. "Simply put, the Armed Forces will be criticized no matter what, and can do no good in their eyes," said the Commander.

The Armed Forces Commander appealed to the PPP to remain alert and consistent in respect of the commitment to national unity, union and stability. The Armed Forces Commander felt compelled to stress this matter because there was a strong surmise that there were certain sides which "yearned for adventure" and "played with fire", which endeavored to disturb national stability and would not like it if the 1997 General Elections were to proceed safely, smoothly, and successfully.


In the IIIrd Directing Board Meeting which concluded with a question-and-answer session between participants and the Armed Forces Commander, a question was launched by an East Java representave concerning circulation of a calendar which was considered unfair. According to him, the calendar which was now widely distributed in East Java and surrounding areas, showed regents and local military district commander plus the logo of one General Elections Participating Organization. "Is this matter permitted?" he asked. Responding to the question, the commander affirmed that the grand family of the Armed Forces channeled its political aspirations towards the Functional Group. The Custodian of the Armed Forces Grand Family is the Armed Forces Commander, while at the military district level it is the military district commander. "The calendar pictures were made for this reason. There is no other reason," said the Commander, while requesting that it should be reported quickly if certain sides prohibited circulation of PPP calendars.

Answering questions from the Central Java participant concerning the busy 'yellow-coloring' activity, the Commander said that the matter should be amenable to solution and consultation. "It is too small to let unity break just because of a color," he stressed. While in giving his opinion concerning one Participating Organization beating the gun by starting off the campaign on the pretext of meeting its cadres, the Armed Forces Commander stressed that the other General Elections Participating Organizations could do the same thing. "The PPP and the PDI are also allowed to meet their respective cadres," he said.