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Harmoko the next ambassador in the UK?

Tapol - July 10, 1997

According to a report in Media Indonesia on 9 July, Harmoko, who was recently removed as Minister of Information is likely to be named as the next ambassador to London. Until now, it has been generally thought that Harmoko was being groomed to become the next head of Parliament and the MPR, the upper house. But Media Indonesia thinks that this post will go to Lt-Gen Syarwan Hamid, who is currently armed forces chief-of-staff for social and political affairs.

According to independent sources, Harmoko's removal as Information Minister came as a result of rivalries within the GOLKAR party between Harmoko, the party's chair, and deputy chair of the party, Tutut, Suharto's oldest daughter who campaigned vigorously during the recent election campaign, overshadowing Harmoko. Gossip has it that Harmoko has been spreading unsavoury stories about Tutut and she was able to prevail upon her father to sack him as Information Minister, and replace him by General Hartono, whom some sources describe as her 'soldier boy'.

TAPOL understands that Indonesia has faced problems replacing its ambassador in London, Fanny Habibie. It originally intended to appoint Lt-General Suyono, a former armed forces chief-of-staff for general affairs and military commander in Central Java, but the British Government was unwilling to accept the appointment of a general as ambassador.