Jakarta – Setara Institute for Democracy chairperson Hendardi believes that the statement by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Deputy Secretary General Ahmad Basarah, who referred to former president Suharto as the "teacher of corruption in Indonesia", should be used as momentum for the government to expose the corruption and humanitarian crimes which took place under the New Order regime.
"We should take advantage of the defamation report against Ahmad Basarah to remind the public about what Suharto did", said Hendardi during a discussion titled "Defamation vs Refusing to Forget" at the Indonesian Christian University (UKI) in East Jakarta on Friday December 14.
Last week, a polemic erupted over a statement by Basarah in which he said that the rampant corruption in Indonesia began during the era of its 2nd president Suharto. Based on this, Basarah referred to Suharto as the "teacher of corruption in Indonesia".
Basarah's statement read: "So, the teacher of corruption in Indonesia in accordance with TAP MPR [People's Consultative Assembly Decree] Number 11/1998 was former president Suharto and he is Pak [Mr] Prabowo [Subianto's] father-in-law".
On the other hand, said Hendardi, Basarah's statement is not without basis. Rather, it is a fact, the truth of which should be revealed.
"Suharto was not released in the name of the law, nor because he was innocent, because at the end his status was as a defendant in a corruption case. Then, his case was halted because he became ill and died", he explained.
So, as revealed by Hendardi, the momentum of the police report against Basarah should be used to reawaken the public's memory that an unresolved problem still exists. "It is Suharto's family and his corrupt cronies that must be exposed right now", he asserted.
Hendardi then warned the national police not to prioritise the defamation report against Basarah but instead work on uncovering corruption during the Suharto era.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hendardi: Laporan Terhadap Basarah jadi Momen Membongkar Kejahatan Keluarga Soeharto".]