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Certain parties accused of stirring discord

Jakarta Post - August 3, 1998

Jakarta – City Military commander Maj. Gen. Djadja Suparman has warned Jakartans of the existence of certain parties who have been attempting to spread rumors and terror in the capital to create social unrest.

Addressing a crowd of Betawi (native Jakartans) people Saturday at the Padepokan Pencak Silat center in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, East Jakarta, Djadja said the parties are trying to sow discord among the people and the Armed Forces (ABRI).

"This situation is almost similar with that in 1965," he said referring to the year when the people and ABRI faced a difficult time with the presence of the banned Indonesian Communist Party.

Djadja added: "ABRI has noticed that the parties are trying to keep us from the people and to separate the people from certain social classes." "If it continues, our country will fall, " he said.

One of the rumors spread by the irresponsible pal ties was that women should avoid using taxis unless they wanted to be sexually harassed or raped, Djadja said. The group, he said, has also circulated leaflets concerning a planned mass riot to happen a few days before the country celebrate Independence Day on Aug. 17. "We have to be cautious over such rumors. But the Betawi people should not have to be scared," the two-star general said.

He admitted that security personnel could not stop people from creating and spreading rumors. But, he said, he has deployed his personnel to track down the parties. "We haven't yet tracked down these people because it's very difficult to get the leaflets. I ask you to share information on that," Djadja said.

He also called on the Betawi people to join hands with ABRI and other groups in society to secure the capital. "We have to unite to safeguard Jakarta. Don't let us distance ourselves by setting up groups based on our ethnic backgrounds, such as Sumatra or Sulawesi," he said.

Djadja also appealed to the crowd to stay vigilant over certain parties who were trying to detach themselves from the united country and were demanding to establish their own states. "There are parties who have tried to separate themselves from Indonesia, such as those who want a free Irian or Aceh. We have to be aware of them," he said. "We have to be able to decide what we should accept or reject, and what is the priority for this nation," he said.

Also present at the ceremony were chairman of the Betawi Forum, Lt. Gen. (ret) Edy Marzuki Nalapraya, and deputy governor for people's welfare M. Djailani. After the speech, Djadja handed over two tons of rice to the forum to be distributed among needy people.

[On August 5 the Jakarta Post said that Habibie had denouncing irresponsible people bent on splintering the nation through spreading vicious rumors adding that many had been influenced by information obtained from the Internet - James Balowski.]