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Wahid, IMF and the people

A young activist jailed under Suharto is stirring more opposition to Wahid too Nick Everett talks with Budiman Sujatmiko Budiman Sujatmiko chairs the Indonesian People's Democratic Party, PRD. He first became active in the movement for democracy in 1988, when he was a student at Yogyakarta's Gadjah Mada University. The New Order regime jailed him for more than three years. He was not released till December 1999, six weeks after Abdurrahman Wahid was elected president. Together with Avelino da Silva, secretary-general of the Timorese Socialist Party PST, Sujatmiko recently visited Australia on a speaking tour organised by Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (Asiet). I caught up with Sujatmiko during his visit to Sydney on April 12. Wahid was elected in October 1999 amid mass protests against continued Golkar rule. His appointment continued a process of reform begun under B J Habibie. Acting under the growing pressure of a mass anti-dictatorship movement demanding 'reformasi total', the Habibie government had passed legislation for multi-party elections, reduced the armed forces representation in parliament, withdrew some of the most repressive labour laws, and instituted a UN-supervised referendum in East Timor. The Wahid government subsequently forced Golkar-appointed military commander General Wiranto out of cabinet, finished releasing political prisoners, and launched its own investigation into human rights abuses by the armed forces in East Timor last September. Australian and other Western governments have touted these reforms as proof of the new government's commitment to democracy. Sujatmiko and the PRD do not share this view. 'These are just the minimum criteria for democracy,' Sujatmiko explained. 'Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly these offer the chance for the majority to rule. But if those liberties do not actually result in majority rule, then we do not have democracy in the true sense.' Sujatmiko concedes that, unlike his predecessors Suharto and Habibie, 'Wahid is not a bureaucrat.' However, 'he has no policy to deliver better living standards or to end the threat of unemployment - his policies cannot deliver "people friendly" outcomes,' he said. Sujatmiko argues that this is most clearly demonstrated by Wahid's pursuit of an economic restructuring program imposed by the International Monetary Fund. 'If the policies dictated by the IMF are fully implemented in the next three years, the majority of the people will have to bear the burden of an increased cost of living, driving them under the poverty line,' he said. 'The 1997 economic crisis has already resulted in 37 million unemployed this figure will continue to rise if the IMF policies are implemented further.' IMF demands to restructure the economy have robbed Indonesia of its economic independence. Sujatmiko likens it to the experience of Latin American countries since the 1980s. 'Privatisation, financial liberalisation, deregulation of trade and investment, reduced state subsidies this is the same as the neo-liberal policies that have been pursued in Latin America.' 'Wahid has given a commitment to the IMF that he will cut state subsidies, resulting in higher petrol, electricity and transport prices and increased education fees,' says Sujatmiko. 'He has said that he has to do this to reduce dependency on foreign debt and the IMF.' However, opposition to price hikes refreshed the memory of mass demonstrations against similar hikes that brought down the Suharto dictatorship in 1998. It forced Wahid to delay the fuel price increase and the increase in civil service salaries. 'Wahid is playing between two poles,' notes Sujatmiko: 'the IMF and the people.' 'He wants to win sympathy from the people, but his concessions are still not enough. He has created anger by proposing to increase salaries for the first echelon bureaucracy by 2000%. What he has done is not based on a clear-cut vision,' states Sujatmiko. 'Objectively, the Wahid government remains loyal to the dictates of the IMF and of Western governments. Wahid is seeking to use his popular following to position himself to implement this austerity program.' No serious opposition is emerging to this economic program from the parties represented in Indonesia's newly elected parliament. 'The PRD is the only political party criticising this program,' Sujatmiko says, 'in unity with other democratic forces: the student movement and trade unions.' 'Workers and students have come to parliament to protest the cutting of subsidies, and teachers have mobilised in many centres in Indonesia demanding a 300% increase in their salaries. There has been unrest and social discontent. Bus drivers, taxi drivers and others have taken action against the increase in transport costs. This has given the people confidence: they can now act as political groups to put pressure on the government so that the government must listen to the people.' Growing opposition to the IMF's demands has strengthened the PRD's advocacy of an alternative economic program. 'We have already come to parliament and met with its members and presented our proposals,' Sujatmiko tells me. The PRD advocates: cancellation of the foreign debt, a progressive tax on high incomes, taxes on the sale of luxury goods, a reduced military budget, and expropriation of Suharto's assets (estimated to be worth US$16 billion) and those of corrupt bureaucrats and military businesses. 'One of these proposals has been accepted already taxes on luxury goods,' explained Sujatmiko. 'These measures are needed to create a fund that can maintain state subsidies for essential services.' On the prospects of a trial for Suharto, Sujatmiko says: 'There are protests by the student movement now almost every day in Indonesia. These actions have included attempts to occupy Suharto's house and demand that he face a "people's tribunal", because they have no confidence in the Indonesian justice system. A fair trial of Suharto and corrupt bureaucrats, as well as of generals responsible for human rights abuses, cannot possibly take place under the current justice system. Cleaning up the justice system is potentially a very radical thing. It cannot be achieved simply by replacing judges. The system itself needs to change.' On the possibility of an international tribunal to try the generals responsible for the violence in East Timor, Sujatmiko observes: 'The UN itself is not demanding an international tribunal, but is there any alternative? We support a campaign for an international tribunal because it has the potential not only to address past injustices but will draw attention to the political role of the armed forces in Indonesia. While the factions in parliament have agreed not to give seats to the armed forces in the next parliamentary term, the structural issue of the role of the military through the territorial command system is yet to be addressed.' Communism In recent weeks, a Wahid proposal to lift the 1966 ban on communism has stirred much public debate. Wahid now indicates he wants to un-ban communism while retaining a ban on the Indonesian Communist Party PKI. More than a million PKI members and sympathisers were killed following the Suharto regime's seizure of power in a military coup in October 1965. 'Wahid has issued a statement of apology to the PKI,' explained Sujatmiko. 'He has no phobia about any ideology, he gives permission for people to live with any faith or ideology in Indonesia he is liberal-minded. But both conservative Islamic forces and the military are opposed to this, including forces inside the cabinet such as the religious Crescent and Star Party PBB, and Amien Rais who chairs PAN, while Vice-President Megawati is silent on the issue. Opposition within Wahid's own cabinet has pressed him to concede to maintaining the ban on the PKI.' Sujatmiko notes that 'while the unbanning of communism would enable the distribution of Marxist literature - the Communist Manifesto, for example - the question of whether we would openly campaign for socialism is a tactical one. We need to give a socialist perspective, not as something that is attainable in the near future or programmatic in the short term, but as our longer-term objective. More immediately we must continue to campaign for "people's democracy", because this lays the basis for raising consciousness. We are defending ourselves as a leftist party with one goal: promoting popular-oriented democracy and socialism in the context of capitalism as it exists in Indonesia now.' Under the New Order, the PRD experienced severe repression. Its members were hunted down, jailed, kidnapped and killed. I asked Sujatmiko: 'What is it for you that commits you to remain a PRD activist, in what you describe as a "leftist party"?' 'Commitment,' he responded. 'It is not something that can be explained in a few words. It has to be explained in deeds. You have to look for the answer in practical experience.' 'Since the very beginning the PRD has been built on a solid theoretical, ideological base that is absent in Indonesia's non-government organisations or other political parties. Most other parties are built for running their chairperson for the presidency. We have been building the PRD in the context of the ongoing struggle of the mass movement, the people's movement. So for us the existence of the PRD does not depend on the objective political situation,' he explains. 'Democracy or not, we are still there.' 'We draw on the lessons of the past in Indonesia in revolutionary struggles against Dutch colonialism. We draw on the lessons of people's movements around the world: if you want something worthwhile you have to pay for it. You may have to go without, to live in prison, in order to win the bigger freedom for the people you want to defend. If you live in a society where exploitation is blatant, naked and very repressive, then your decision to fight for the greater liberty of all by reducing your own personal liberty is something logical and can be accepted not just by rational logic but by our own consciousness.' Nick Everett is a member of the Sydney committee of Asiet (email, or visit Inside Indonesia 63: Jul - Sep 2000

No longer so 'special'

Keating's 'special' relationship with Jakarta was undemocratic. After East Timor, Howard is right not to rush back. Scott Burchill In the first weeks of September last year, 70% of all public buildings and private residences in East Timor were destroyed. TNI and their militia surrogates displaced at least 75% of the population. Between 500 and 2000 East Timorese were slaughtered. These statistics measure the denouement of 25 years of Indonesian state terror in occupied East Timor. They also indicate the scale of Canberra's greatest foreign policy failure since federation. At the very least, one might think that these grim statistics would prompt Australia's foreign policy elite and its adjunct the Jakarta lobby - to rethink an approach to diplomacy with Indonesia which has been so conspicuously discredited. Incredibly, this hasn't happened. Instead, those wanting a rapid return to business as usual with Jakarta are attempting to blame the Howard government for the collapse of the relationship. Within a month of Interfet's deployment in East Timor, which finally brought the killings to an end, the editor of The Australian believed it was time for Canberra 'to withdraw from the military leadership role' in East Timor, because 'an ongoing military presence by Australia could hinder the peace process by continuing to antagonise militia groups'. Fortunately for the people of East Timor, his request was ignored. The foreign editor of The Australian, Greg Sheridan, was also keen to 'make up' with Jakarta as soon as possible. Reflecting his employer's distaste for foreign policy driven by 'humanitarian and moralistic concerns' (Rupert Murdoch), Sheridan believed that the cause of the problem was Mr Howard's regrettable habit of listening to the views of his constituents: 'The government's worst statement was the prime minister saying in parliament recently that he wanted foreign policy to be in step with public opinion'. Veteran Indonesia analyst Bruce Grant also identified Mr Howard as the problem. According to Grant, the prime minister is seen as 'unsympathetic to cultures and aspirations other than his own', a character trait that apparently puts him sharply at odds with leaders in Beijing, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur. Howard is 'suspect' in Asia because he is a monarchist, lacks 'an emotional commitment to the fortunes of the region', and loves cricket 'which does not help in Indonesia'. Grant doesn't explain the perils inherent in Indonesia's bilateral relations with other cricket-playing nations such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, nor does he note the damage done to ties with Kuala Lumpur when Malaysia hosted a cricket tournament during the last Commonwealth Games. Cultural deference is clearly Grant's recommended strategy for engaging with Asia. The onus is on Australia, and only Australia, to change its ways. There is no suggestion of reciprocity from the region, even in the light of last year's horror in East Timor. According to ANU Indonesia specialist Harold Crouch, Mr Howard's response to the terror in East Timor last year, rather than the slaughter itself, 'was offensive to many Indonesians'. The prime minister has a limited cultural understanding of Australia's great northern neighbour and 'doesn't quite know how to convey things to Indonesians', he says - true enough as messages such as 'stop the killing' clearly fell on deaf ears in Jakarta last September. 'Provocative' Former diplomat Tony Kevin also worried about Australia's 'provocative' behaviour last year. 'Indonesian military and strategic elites will not quickly forgive or forget how Australian foreign policy cynically exploited their weak interim president in order to manoeuvre Indonesia into a no-win situation', says Kevin. If only John Howard stopped basking in 'jingoistic self-satisfaction over East Timor' and said sorry, bridges with Indonesia could be mended. More recently, professional Asianists have sought to engender a moral panic about the current state of Australia's relationships with the region by claiming that John Howard's intervention in East Timor is indicative of a broader rejection of regional engagement. What they really mean is that Howard is ignoring the specific rules of engagement that they have drafted for successive Australian governments. Even more disturbing, the coalition isn't seeking their wise counsel. According to his critics, Howard has disengaged Australia from the region, repudiating 'the Australia project in Asia' (Stephen Fitzgerald), painstakingly nurtured by every Australian prime minister since Whitlam. Emblematic of this has been the collapse of bilateral ties with Jakarta: 'Forty years of bipartisan effort to build up a relationship with Indonesia have been seriously eroded by recent events', argues Richard Woolcott, without detailing these 'events' or specifying the responsibility Jakarta bears for the downturn. 'The relationship has been destroyed?. Indonesians feel betrayed by Australia', laments Rawdon Dalrymple, who already looks back at the Suharto years with a nostalgia unlikely to be shared by the victims of the dictatorship: 'I fear we shall not see the like of him [Suharto] again'. According to leading Sinologist Stephen Fitzgerald, 'in the game of self-identifying regions' Australia must 'commit to and find acceptance in Asia'. Our 'fundamental problem is that while we may have come to mouth the sentiment of belonging to the region, we have done too little to belong in human terms or to make the necessary cultural and intellectual adjustment'. Under the old orthodoxy, Asia was seen as an exclusive club which Canberra must seek to join being left out would be 'a disaster for Australia'. Our need for belonging, however, brings with it obligations of membership which require us to alter our ethical and cultural outlook. The price of admission to the Asia club is never explicitly conceded, but by implication it includes the sublimation of our European political heritage, a less assertive commitment to universal human rights, and a greater sense of cultural deference to Asian sensitivities. But does Asia see itself this way, as a club? If not, should we? An alternative explanation for recent policy changes is that the Howard government is reflecting a popular unease with the rules of Asian engagement previously set by Australia's foreign policy elite though not the need for engagement per se. This discomfort dovetails with the prime minister's personal ambivalence about Asia, which is partly based on ignorance and partly on an exaggerated sense of the importance of cultural differences in international politics. Howard believes that the Keating government's style of Asian engagement was elitist and lacking in domestic popular support, hence it was ultimately driven underground. In 1995 both the intention to negotiate and the content of the Australia-Indonesia security agreement was withheld from the public until after it was signed an unusual departure from the concept of 'due process'. Howard is perhaps understating the need for government leadership in this area of public policy, but he has correctly identified a widening cleavage between elite and popular perceptions of how Australia should present itself to the region. Many Australians believe they can be equal partners in Asia without sacrificing their political or cultural identity: they merely ask to be accepted at face value. Differences between nations and cultures can be respected, they don't need to be resolved or dissolved. Convergence is unnecessary. Economic ties prompted by globalising forces, for example, are rarely dependent on shared values. Australia's most important bilateral trade relationship with Japan was formed at a time when anti-Japanese feelings in Australia were still potent from the Second World War. Many Australians would feel they have little to learn from the legal and political processes in most East Asian societies. New orthodoxy The outlines of a new orthodoxy about events in East Timor last year are becoming clear, at least as far as the Jakarta lobby is concerned. It's a strategic mix of inverted history and national self-flagellation. Despite the absence of any alternative regional responses to the slaughter, Canberra 'took too much ownership of the process' (Greg Sheridan), meaning the East Timorese should have been left to their awful fate. Indonesia has nothing to be sorry about and no reparations to pay. The Howard government, on the other hand, was 'meddling' (Richard Woolcott) in Indonesia's internal affairs, and has been engaged in 'gratuitous displays of jingoism' (Peter Hartcher), as well as 'triumphalism', 'neo-colonialism' and 'latent racism' (Richard Woolcott). According to this re-writing of history, Howard is primarily to blame for the cooling of the bilateral relationship between Canberra and Jakarta because he abandoned his predecessor's 'special relationship' with Indonesia and is personally uncomfortable with regional engagement. An alternative view is that the Howard Government has deliberately distanced itself from what it regards as the supine posture of its predecessor because it believes the public disliked the morally dubious relationship struck between the Keating government and the New Order regime specifically, and what it saw as an 'over-accommodation with Asia' more generally. When Canberra cashed the bilateral cheque last September it bounced, despite claims about the 'ballast' which Gareth Evans and Paul Keating allegedly infused into the relationship. For the Jakarta lobby, the bilateral relationship is refracted through the personalities of Howard and Wahid. Leaders' summits are more important than building democratic institutions. According to former diplomat Duncan Campbell, the lobby is 'making a ritual study of the entrails of Wahid's spasmodic performance divining how Javanese, and how much of an expression of Asian values it all is'. This is simply replacing the Suharto cult with the Wahid cult, a strategy which promises to repeat the mistakes of the past. Howard, however, is unimpressed with Wahid's unpredictable and erratic performance, and is unsure that he yet commands support across the spectrum of Javanese elite opinion. The prime minister sees no need for an urgent restoration of good relations and is prepared to wait to deal with Jakarta on his terms. In the meantime he would be well advised to offer tangible support to those nascent democratic institutions which will embed a more liberal political and civic culture in Indonesia. This is much more important than the atmospherics of leaders' meetings. Scott Burchill ( teaches international relations at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Inside Indonesia 63: Jul - Sep 2000

Muchtar Pakpahan interview

Terry Symonds interviews Muchtar Pakpahan How important are international links to you? Solidarity among the union movement is very important, whatever their own ideology. There are also a few Australian businesses in Indonesia, particularly in mining, so it is important that our unions fight together for solidarity. What was SBSI's stand on East Timor? My union and I myself were the first to fight for a referendum for East Timor - it was one reason Suharto put me in jail, as a 'subversive'. Before, I wanted East Timor to become one nation with us, but the people of East Timor decided to be free, and I honour their decision. For the future, I suppose the trade union role in Indonesia and Australia is to support our friends in East Timorese trade unions to build democracy, rule of law, justice and human rights in East Timor. What role did the SBSI play in Indonesia's democratisation? The SBSI was involved in bringing reformasi to Indonesia, and in electing the current president, Gus Dur. The role of the SBSI for the future is to support the government, as long as it still supports reformasi. How much change has there been for workers? It's not easy yet for us to organise. In Riau, two leaders of my union were sent to jail after striking to demand a wage increase. The police and FSPSI, the former government union, joined with the military to intimidate my members and send them to jail. Such cases are going on in a number of provinces. What do you think of the current Minister of Manpower? Bomer Pasaribu was involved in labour rights violations, particularly since 1985 when he became secretary-general of the FSPSI. Then as president of that union he twice was involved organising demonstrations to insist that the government punish me. When he became commissioner of Jamsostek, the company which administers social insurance for workers, the company was full of scandals. He 'marked up' the budget. He was corrupt, and the new attorney general is still investigating him. We would like international unions to insist that President Gus Dur replace Bomer Pasaribu, for the international good appearance of Indonesian workers. His is still the 'New Order' appearance. What is the future for the SBSI? First, we want to reform the labour laws produced by 32 years of New Order government. Now, there are no laws to protect workers - all the laws protect companies and the military. Second, we want many officials replaced, particularly in the military, police and the Department of Manpower. Third, we want to strengthen my union through education and training. By the end of 2001, we aim to have at least a million due-paying members. Finally, discrimination about race (Chinese and non-Chinese) and religion (Muslim and non-Muslim) is rising here. I believe that only the trade union movement can build real democracy, rule of law, human rights and anti discrimination. Inside Indonesia 63: Jul-Sep 2000

62: Aceh's pain-a future of war or peace?

Apr - Jun 2000 Politics and human rights Aceh's pain-a future of war or peace?A human tragedy is occuring in Aceh that can't be ignored - Gerry van Klinken From heroes to rebels Aceh: Jakarta's other colony? - Sylvia Tiwon  Whither Aceh? Updating events in the troubled province - Ed Aspinall A widow's notes Yet another violent death in a small Acehnese village - Syarifah Mariati The structure of military abuses Lying or semantics? A need to understand military definitions - Doug Kammen More than meets the eye A close look at the new president - Greg Barton The Banyuwangi murders Examining the deaths of 100 black magic practitioners - Jason Brown George McT Kahin (1918-2000) Goodbye to America's foremost Indonesian scholar - Daniel S Lev Society and economy The new Timor Gap What will Australia do now? - Geoff McKee Women workers still exploited The publicity hasn't dramatically changed Nike's policies - Peter Hancock Environment The world is not (green) enough Trying to slow climate change - Agus P Sari Box - What is climate change? Agus P Sari Sinking carbon in Kalimantan CDM could help Indonesia's forests - Merrilyn Wasson Culture Semsar Siahaan - Hero into exile Where to now for the anti-Suharto artist? - Astri Wright Regulars Newsbriefs The net Bookshop  Inside Indonesia 62: Apr-Jun 2000

61: Abdurrahmin Wahid wins the top job

Jan - Mar 2000 Politics and human rights After fear, before justice Australia and Indonesia in 100 years - Richard Tanter End of the Jakartan empire? Reflecting on the Wahid presidency - Michael van Langenberg Eight surprises Profiles of eight cabinet members Nationalism 50 years ago the world embraced Indonesia - Goenawan Mohamad Out of the tiger's teeth The inside story of East Timor's ballot - Helene van Klinken Humanity, not fascism! An Indonesian eyewitness to East Timor's destruction - Yeni Rosa Damayanti Why West Papua deserves another chance The 1969 UN ballot broke all the rules - Sam Blay West Papua in 1999 An urban movement pushes for change - Nina FitzSimons Aceh's causes Conversation with an activist - Maree Keating Society and economy The case for debt relief An Indonesian NGO appeal - Binny Buchori and Sugeng Bahagijo Business and pleasure Indonesia's super-wealthy love their money - Veven Wardhana and Herry Barus Environment Gutted by greed Illegal loggin in Indonesia's parks - Julian Newman Culture Back to the future Democracy in old South Sulawesi manuscripts - Elizabeth Morrell Mao's ghost in Golkar A 1960s slogan survives - Julie Shackford-Bradley The language of the gods A playwright backgrounds his creation - Louis Nowra Regulars Editorial Newsbriefs Standard Tetum-English dictionary Review: How standard? - Catharina van Klinken The green iguana Review: Goodfellow has drawn on his deep knowledge of Indonesia to excavate from daily events the realities that lie behind them - Ron Witton Bookshop Inside Indonesia 61: Jan-Mar 2000

60: East Timor has it's say

Oct - Dec 1999 Politics and human rights On the mend The election renews some hopes - Laine Berman Sex, money, power Tabloids go sensational - John Olle Fifty years ago Sukarno flashback - Damien Kingsbury Aceh's failed election Australian team finds no euphoria - Vanessa Johanson Box - The sultan will be Dr Hasan Tiro Interview with "Free Aceh" fighter - Vanessa Johanson Lost and found How the world rediscovered the Timor cause - Geoffrey Gunn Whisky friends PNG military and TNI get together - Andrew Kilvert What caused the Ambon violence? A corrupt civil service is to blame - Gerry van Klinken Banda burns Fear and hatred spreads in the Moluccas - Phillip Winn A peaceful road to freedom Riau wants freedom and more money - Freek Colombijn Society and economy This complex crisis Indonesia's crisis two years on - John Maxwell Environment Dirty landlord Local views on Sulawesi's Inco mine - Roger Moody Revisiting Inco Reformasi hits Sulawesi's 'Freeport' - Kathryn Robinson Culture Star wars Presidential PR Indonesian style - Marshall Clark Teachers do it Indonesian teachers get together - Lee Herden Travel Sumatra by bus From bottom to top by bus - Jim Della-Giacoma Regulars Editorial Your say Newsbriefs The politics of environment in Southeast Asia-Resources and resistance Review:A new, engaging collection of writing on environmental disputes in Southeast Asia - Vanessa Johansen From the place of the dead-the epic struggles of Bishop Belo of East Timor Review: Biographies of even undisputed heroes can be problematic - Robin Osbourne The book bridge Review: Lontar books open a window on the hidden lives of ordinary Indonesians - Carl Hennessy Indonesia on the net Resources on two troubled regions: Aceh and Irian Jaya - Ed Aspinall and Iain Wilson Bookshop Inside Indonesia 60: Oct-Dec 1999

59: Elections: For the people , or the parties?

July - Sep 1999 Politics and human rights Escape from the past? The June national elections - Gerry van Klinken Will Indonesia break up? The regions are revolting - Anne Booth The Russian road Indonesia and Russia compared - Anders Uhlin Mobilise or perish Not a good year for student demonstrators - Dave McRae The mayor who fell down the well Reformasi in a country town - Anton Lucas Romo Mangun, activist Tribute to an Indonesian prophet - Nico Schulte Nordholt Indonesians for East Timor Solidarity for self-determination - James Goodman Horta bears the torch The end of a long struggle is in sight - Conan Elphicke Society and economy Forgotten refugees of Buton Muslim refugees from Ambon - Elizabeth Fuller Collins Flesh trade of Sumatra Trafficking in young girls - Ahmad Sofian Wheels for awareness Fiona and Mia's big bikeride - Helena Spyrou Blacksmith boom The crisis is not all bad news - Lea Jellinek Culture Trepang The Aborigine-Indonesia trepang link - Alan Whykes Travel Hiking Timor's tops Mountain climbing in East Timor - Mike Davis Regulars Editorial Newsbriefs On the net Bookshop Inside Indonesia 59: Jul-Sep 1999

Tapol troubles

when will they end? Tapol is short for tahanan politik, or political detainee. It refers most often to the 1.5 million alleged communist sympathisers who were detained after the coup attempt of 30 September 1965 (there are lesser numbers of tapol from later pogroms). These were the survivors - between 200,000 and 500,000 were massacred. Only a handful were ever sentenced and are referred to as napol, narapidana politik or political criminals. About 10,000 tapol and napol were shipped to Buru Island after 1969 and not released until 1979, when international pressure grew too strong. Even those detained only briefly were stigmatised by the letters ET, ex-tapol, on their identity card. There are still 13 in gaols in Indonesia, some still with pending death sentences. Before being freed, tapol and napol had to sign a declaration that they would not demand compensation. Despite a government order to return their possessions, in reality nobody has successfully reclaimed their books, land and homes. As late as December 1998, a Jakarta court ruled that Indonesia’s most famous tapol, novelist Pramudya Ananta Toer, could not have the house back that was taken off him by the military in 1965. Tapol/ napol were not permitted: To work in any form of government service, nor in any state-owned corporation, strategic industry, political party, or news media. They were not permitted to become a minister in any religion, a teacher, village head, lawyer, or puppeteer (dalang); To vote or be elected; To obtain a passport and travel overseas, even for medical treatment (some allowance was made for those going to Mecca on pilgrimage); To choose where to live or to move house freely. Ignorant officials made life difficult, and all the procedures cost money; To obtain credit from the bank, even when they fulfill other requirements; To receive the pensions to which they are entitled from their former employers when they were sacked in 1965. They are still required to report regularly and are then given paternalistic ‘guidance’ - the frequency often depending on the whim of the local official. The government greatly feared the moral influence tapol/ napol might have on their family and even friends. For anyone to qualify for employment in the job categories mentioned in 1 above, all candidates had to establish they had a ‘clean environment’ (bersih lingkungan), ie. they were not related to a tapol/ napol. Regulation No.6 of 1976 established the screening process. All close relatives were affected, as well as anyone who may have paid for the education of the tapol/ napol. It was a system of collective punishment. As part of ‘reformasi’, some of these regulations have been lifted - including the ‘clean environment’ rule and the ban on voting. The ET label on identity cards has been officially removed since August 1995. But the communist party remains banned. And there has still been no wholesale amnesty for the 1965 tapol/ napol. Inside Indonesia 58: Apr-Jun 1999

Women's Congress

The Women’s Congress was held in Yogyakarta 14-18 December 1998, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the first All-Indonesia Women’s Congress (Kongres Perempuan Indonesia), which was also held in Yogya in 1928. A committee of five from Jakarta were the main organisers. Among them were Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Indonesia’s foremost feminist lawyer, and Australian-trained political scientist Chusnul Mar’iyah. The congress was replete with historical resonances. The organisers wanted to hark back to the Kongres Perempuan of 1928, seeing a particular strength in the term perempuan (woman) over wanita (lady, the common New Order term for women). They also wanted to distinguish themselves from Kowani (Kongres Wanita Indonesia), which replaced the original Kongres Perempuan and which was later so thoroughly co-opted by the New Order. Among the historically important figures in attendance was the octogenarian S K Trimurti, a nationalist, the first woman to hold a ministerial position in Indonesia (1947-48), and a national treasure. More remarkably, the first speaker at the seminar was Sulami – a former leader of Gerwani, incarcerated for almost two decades and speaking publicly for the first time since 1965. Chusnul Mar’iyah in her opening speech stressed that the issues of most concern to women should be placed on the political agenda of all the parties that will contest Indonesia’s first real election since 1955 this year. Nursyahbani Katjasungkana spoke of the need to recognise differences between the various groups of women. Three particularly divisive issues surfaced on the second and third days of the congress. These were the inclusion of Gerwani and thus the legitimisation of communism, the inclusion of lesbians, and finally and most contentiously the centralism of Jakarta. There were strident debates and several disruptive tactics. A walk-out aimed to register a protest against what some saw as the Jakarta feminists’ overly radical and ‘fashionable’ agenda. It became so difficult for the Jakarta committee that an alternative committee of three non-Jakarta delegates had to be elected to chair the congress proceedings. At one point in the proceedings a labourer, baby at her breast, took the microphone demanding to be heard, despite question time being over. Very eloquently she drew attention to the struggle of workers to find a voice in such a forum. This was not to be just a talk-fest for the Jakarta elite. Many felt disappointed that the congress was unable to fully express the feeling of solidarity with which it had been originally conceived. But most felt it was an achievement to have come together as women from all over Indonesia and from all walks of life. For the first time in a generation they were able to express their views without constraints. The networking that went on was probably of far greater importance than the congress itself. A presidium consisting of 14 representatives was elected with Nursyahbani as the Secretary General. This presidium, responsible for implementing decisions of the congress, comprises all groups represented at the congress, including farmers, labourers, lesbians and prostitutes. This is the first time that the claims of some of these groups as women have been recognised. Inside Indonesia 58: Apr-Jun 1999

A hero passes on

Y B Mangunwijaya (always known as Romo Mangun) died of a heart attack on 10 February 1999, moments after presenting a paper at a Jakarta symposium. On 6 May 1999 he would have turned 70. In Yogyakarta where he was buried, and in the Jakarta Cathedral beforehand, thousands came to mourn, among them President Habibie and Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono X. There were street kids, politicians, military officers, students, and East Timor activists. Mangun was known as an architect, novelist, artist, social worker, parish priest, but above all as someone who always sided with the poor. In 1989 he took up the cause of farmers displaced by the giant Kedung Ombo dam. In 1984 he went on a hunger strike on behalf of squatters living under the bridge at Yogyakarta’s Code River. He always wanted Catholics to do the best for the downtrodden, but never in order to catholicise them. He once told a Muslim friend: ‘Be a pious Muslim’. Most of all he was a teacher. His Basic Education Institute (DED) focused on primary age children. He had many friends among the young. Damairia Pakpahan, one of the young people who often accompanied him, wrote: ‘I feel he gave me an inner toughness with the stories of his own life as we traveled around Central Java, or in our work at Code River. Amidst our often depressing struggles he opened a critical dimension’. (Inside Indonesia interviewed him in edition no.24, October 1990). Inside Indonesia 58: Apr-Jun 1999

The electoral reforms

Parliament on 28 January approved the legal foundation that will govern the new political party system and the ‘99 election. A complete draft of the law had not yet emerged by mid-February. Here we note some points crucial for the outcome and credibility of the election. Jim Schiller Political Parties With over 140 parties there will be clashes over who has the right to use similar names and symbols. To be eligible to participate, parties must have executive boards in 9 (out of 27) provinces, and in half the towns and districts in each of those provinces. New parties will need at least 10 seats in the national assembly to stand at the 2004 election. An advisory team of 11 reputable individuals headed by Dr Nurcholish Madjid has been appointed to consider applications by the 140+ political parties to compete. Candidates will be elected proportionally by province (thus not on a district basis as initially envisaged), but a party's winning candidates will be chosen on the basis of district results. Managing the election Election committees (KPU) at various levels will manage the campaign and election. All parties are represented, but government retains 50% of the votes. This is an improvement. However, some party seats will go to Golkar, so the government is likely to have a majority. Independent Indonesian and international observers will be permitted to monitor the election. Management of the election will be more transparent than ever before. The risk of getting caught for those tempted to intimidate voters will be far greater. The armed forces The number of unelected Abri seats in the People’s Consultative Assembly MPR (super-parliament) has been reduced from 75 to 38. But this could still make the armed forces the 5th or 6th biggest faction in the MPR! In provincial and local assemblies they have been reduced to 10% of the seats. Civil service Parliament could not agree on whether civil servants should be politically neutral. The government then issued a compromise regulation, one it modified two days later. The regulation allows civil servants to vote and, provided they take leave from office, to join political parties. The revised regulation allows for one year of leave on basic pay. However, the ‘neutrality’ of the civil service can still be easily circumvented. Local civil servants could have their spouses or children run for office, or just take leave and accept payment from Golkar or other parties to make up for salary loss. Electing the president The new MPR will have 700 seats (old MPR 1000). 238 Seats will be appointed (old MPR 575), including 38 military, 135 regional and 65 group representatives. Two big questions remain. Who will choose the 65 group representatives - newly elected national and local assemblies, or the present Golkar and army controlled assemblies? The law says they will be decided by the groups themselves! By what procedure will the new MPR elect the president? For example, if there are many candidates, will the candidate with the most votes win, or will a 50% + 1 majority be required? Provincial and local elections Local politics has the best prospects for empowering ordinary Indonesians and for giving the election credibility. Provincial and local assemblies will be elected at the same time as national assemblies, but there has been almost no public debate on how this will happen. Inside Indonesia 58: Apr-Jun 1999

58: Off to the polls

April - June 1999 Politics and human rights Off to the polls The June Election - Jim Schiller box - The electoral reforms - Jim Schiller New Order old school Opposition leaders are afraid - Arief Budiman Blood in the streets Demos reek of melodrama - Chris Brown Not reformasi, transformasi Student demands are too timid - Y B Mangunwijaya Box - A hero passes on Habibie's fling The President wants a TV station - Ishadi S K Tommorrow, in Timor Lorosae Suddenly, freedom in East Timor is no longer a distant dream. - Richard Tanter Women on the move Conference report - Krishna Sen Box - Women's Congress Coming out For 32 years (ex)political prisoners were condemned to a life of misery - Helene van Klinken Box - Tapol troubles - When will they end? Tragedy in Sumba Analysis of a massacre - David Mitchell Back on the beat? Reforming the police - Adrianus Meliala Society and economy The price of rice The role of Bulog - Jeremy Mulholland and Ken Thomas Environment Palm oil Bad news for forests and people - Eric Wakker Culture Lightning! Witty political theatre - Barbara Hatley Travel Climb a mountain Eco-tourism in Sulawesi - Allyson Lankester Regulars Editorial Your say Newsbriefs Reviews 1 - Kingsbury Reviews 2 - Berman On the net Indonesian democracy on the net - Waruno Mahdi Inside Indonesia 58: Apr-Jun 1999

57: No turning back

January - March 1999 Helping a neighbour The new poor Upwardly immobilised by the crisis - Lea Jellinek Shelter from the rain The crisis closes a shelter for steet kids - Jane Eaton Tough, poor, unbeaten On Atauro, drought is the real crisis - Gabrielle Samson Help that helps Targetting small business and farming - Vanessa Johanson Globalisation challenge Western economic control is the issue - Wim Wertheim Pak Wertheim Obituary - Herb Feith No turning back NGOs consider their responsibilities - INFID Australia's response Aid must address governance and rights - Philip Eldridge Politics and human rights Megamania! Megawati's PDI triumph - Stefan Eklof No shortcut to democracy It's all about good policies and good institutions - Olle Tornquist Islamic conversations Four Islamic leaders talk - Hisanori Kato Who plotted the 1965 coup? Colonel Lafief says he knows - Greg Poulgrain Aceh exposed A legacy of abuse and hurt - IRIP News Service In the tiger's den Marwan Yatim's story of torture - Marwan Yatim Culture Flower in the grass Interview with Nyi Supadmi - Jody Diamond Cockroach Not a pest but an award winning comic - Laine Berman Reviews Beyond the horizon - Ron Witton Saman - Marshall Clark Travel A river runs through it Journey to a Sumatran village - Jim Della-Giacoma Regulars Editorial Your say Newsbriefs Bookshop The net Inside Indonesia 57: Jan-Mar 1999

56: 15th Anniversary Edition

Oct-Dec 1998 15th Anniversary Learning to talk Habibie's weakness is a plus - Gerry van Klinken Ballot ballet The May 1999 elections - Kevin Evans Raising the West Papua flag Eyewitness account of demonstrations - Andrew Kilvert Remembering May Day of no laws An Australian amid the Jakarta riots - Vanessa Johanson Cleansing the earth How the arts community took part - Marshall Clark Jakarta's May Revolution A comparison with other movements - Aboeprijadi Santoso The morning after... Habibie: those for and against - Loren Ryter Rape is rape Shocking report of Jakarta rapes - Sandyawan Sumardi Orphans no more Yogya had the biggest demo - Dwi Marianto Economy and society Who murdered the rupiah? Expert comment on the fiscal crash - Sritua Arief Tommy's toys trashed The car industry and Suharto's son - Ian Chalmers Women do it tough How the crisis is affecting women - Charlene Darmadi Worshipping cancer sticks Cigarette consumption in Indonesia - Catherine Reynolds Environment 'They just want love...' Saving the orangutans - Willie Smits Regulars Editorial Your say Newsbriefs Bookshop On the net Ed Colijn Inside Indonesia 55: Oct-Dec 1998

Box - The Togian Islands

KATE NAPTHALI falls in love with the Togians, and discovers that health and education are major needs

West Kalimantan at a glance

West Kalimantan at a glance

The election: what is at stake?

The election: what is at stake?

History, horror and homelands

History with the right and left brain

Despised delight

The Suharto Government's political prisoners have only very rarely been allowed to speak. Here, for the first time, we have an autobiographical story written by a woman, the wife of an ex-tapol, the mother of his child.

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