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Politicians back move to rehabilitate Sukarno

Suara Pembaruan - April 3, 2012

Robertus Wardi – Politicians have pledged support for a call to finally scrap the parliamentary resolution that stripped power from former President Sukarno and handed it to Suharto 45 years ago last week, but the motives are unclear.

M. Romahurmuziy, secretary general of the United Development Party (PPP), said on Monday that his party would back efforts to rescind Resolution 33, passed in March 1967 by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).

However, he said any such effort should be carried out by an independent team to look into the merits of the resolution, which was passed following the attempted 1965 coup that crippled Sukarno's standing and set the stage for Suharto to gradually take power.

"The team can be established by the government or the MPR, which has the authority to make such a move," Romahurmuziy said. "The team will then be tasked with recommending whether the resolution should remain in place or be revoked."

He was quick to point out that the proposal to form the team should not be made by a political party, to prevent accusations and speculation about any ulterior motives. An initiative by the government or the MPR, he said, would be far less contentious because both were meant to be neutral and representative of all people.

Even the Golkar Party, which served as Suharto's political vehicle for his 32 years in power, said it supported the idea of scrapping the resolution.

Priyo Budi Santoso, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives from Golkar, said it was important to rescind the resolution and restore Sukarno's official recognition as the country's revolutionary leader, a title that was stripped from him under Resolution 33.

"Bung Karno was an independence proclamator and a hero," Priyo said, referring to Sukarno by his popular moniker. "That's an indelible part of history," he added.

Leo Nababan, a Golkar deputy secretary general, said the resolution needed to be repealed in the spirit of reconciliation. However, he said any effort to restore Sukarno's reputation should also be extended to Suharto, who has consistently been passed over for national hero status each year since his downfall in 1998.

"There needs to be national reconciliation and an end to all grudges against all past presidents," Leo said. "Both Sukarno and Suharto have to be honored. We call on the public to support equal treatment for Suharto."

The idea of revoking Resolution 33 was first mooted last week by historians Asvi Warman Adam and Anhar Gonggong, who called on the MPR to "correct historical facts" and end the "discrediting of Sukarno."