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Wiranto turns radio DJ day after suspension

Associated Press - February 16, 2000

Jakarta – A day after he was removed as senior government minister, Gen. Wiranto dropped into a popular Jakarta radio station and became their disc jockey for more than an hour, news reports said Wednesday.

The former military chief, an avid karaoke singer who recently listed his hobbies as music and body building, flirted on the phone with a local movie star and played several rock 'n' roll songs on Radio M97-FM, Kompas newspaper reported. "I was just driving around and thought I'd stop by," Wiranto reportedly told listeners after coming on air on Tuesday.

The four-star general's music tastes run to classic rock, Queen, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid suspended Wiranto from his Cabinet on Monday. Wahid said he wanted the four-star general to have time to concentrate on defending himself in the face of allegations that he, as Indonesia's military chief when pro-Jakarta militias went on a violent rampage in East Timor last year, should be held accountable for the murder and destruction.

"I am well, no problem," Wiranto said, responding to a listener who asked him how he was after being suspended. "I think the problem will be resolved."

At the height of the violence in East Timor in September last year, Wiranto publicly sang Feelings, the 1975 hit popularized by Paul Williams.

Radio M97-FM's program director Ella Suid said the station, which specializes in oldies, was shocked when Wiranto arrived unannounced. "He was not invited, he just came," she said. "We then invited him to be a guest on the talk show program but he wanted to do it all himself."

Wiranto's radio debut came amid market rumors that he wasn't satisfied with being ousted from the Cabinet. Rumors that there would be some form of reaction from the military weighed on Jakarta stocks and the rupiah Wednesday, despite the fact that senior military and government officials have repeatedly dismissed any chance of a coup or other form of concerted military action against the government.