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People stirring up unrest to keep investors away: Gen Try

Straits Times - March 5, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian Vice-President Try Sutrisno has warned Catholic Students' Association activists against being provoked by campaigns aimed at discrediting the government and stirring up political chaos.

He said people were out to create a false impression that the situation in Indonesia was such that the country was not an ideal location in which to do business because mass violence was so widespread.

"These people are trying to achieve an ideal Indonesia according to their own concepts. They are busy socialising it," he said, as quoted by association chief Ishidorus Riza, reported the Jakarta Post yesterday.

The association's leaders met Gen Try to air their concerns over present problems, including recent ethnic and religious riots in several places.

The Vice-President called on the public to be wary of political moves intended to discredit the government for certain minorities' political ends.

According to Mr Ishidorus, Gen Try shared the students' concern over certain groups' campaign for a "proportional" doctrine, which demanded that the majority should play a majority role in politics and the economy.

"This principle is incompatible with the Indonesian spirit, which shuns domination by the majority and tyranny by the minority," he said.

In response to the students' concern that government and military figures had blamed recent riots on anonymous third parties, he said that the authorities had identified the "masterminds".

The naming of anonymous third parties, Mr. Ishidorus said, had created public tension because it led people to speculate who the culprits might be.

Major riots have erupted in several provinces. In Situbondo, Tasikmalaya, both in Java, the main targets have been Christian and Chinese properties, including churches, temples, shops and factories.

In West Kalimantan, the bloody clashes involved the indigenous Dayaks and migrants from Madura. On Feb 21, people in the East Timorese town of Ambeno went on a rampage, killing a Bugis trader, burning 80 houses and forcing more than 350 migrants to flee.