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When World War II broke out in Europe and spread to the Pacific, the Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies as of March 1942, after the surrender of the Dutch colonial army following the fall of Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore. On April 1, 1945, American troops landed in Okinawa. Soon after, on August 6 and 9, the United States dropped Atom bombs on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A few days later, on August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrendered to the Allied Forces.

That occasion opened the opportunity for the Indonesian people to proclaim their independence. Three days after the unconditional Japanese surrender, on August 17, 1945, the Indonesian national leaders Ir. Soekarno and Drs. Mohammad Hatta proclaimed Indonesia's independence on behalf of the people.

The proclamation, which took place at 58, Jalan Pegangsaan Tirnur, Jakarta, was heard by thousands of Indonesians throughout the country because the text was secretly broadcast by Indonesian radio personnel using the transmitters of the Japanese-controlled radio station, JAKARTA Hoso Kyoku. An English translation of the proclamation was broadcast overseas.

Pancasila, the State Philosophy

Pancasila. pronounced Panchaseela, is the philosophical basis of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, "panca" meaning five, and "sila" meaning principle.

It comprises five inseparable and interrelated principles. They are:

Elaboration of the five principles is as follows:

1.  Belief in the One and Only God

This principle of Pancasila reaffirms the Indonesian people's belief that God does exist. It also implies that the Indonesian people believe in life after death. It emphasizes that the pursuit of sacred values will lead the people to a better life in the hereafter.

The principle is embodied in article 29, Section I of the 1945 Constitution and reads: "The state shall be based on the belief in the One and Only God".

2. Just and Civilized Humanity

This principle requires that human beings be treated with due regard to their dignity as God's creatures. It emphasizes that the Indonesian people do not tolerate physical or spiritual oppression of human beings by their own people or by any other nation.

3. The Unity of Indonesia

This principle embodies the concept of nationalism, of love for one's nation and motherland. It envisages the need to always foster national unity and integrity. Pancasila nationalism demands that Indonesians avoid feelings of superiority on ethnical grounds, for reasons of ancestry and color of the skin. In 1928 Indonesian youth pledged to have one country, one nation and one language, while the Indonesian coat of arms enshrines the symbol of "Bhinneka Tunggal lka" which means "unity in diversity".

4. Democracy Guided by the Inner Wisdom in the Unanimity Arising Out of Deliberations Amongst Representatives

Pancasila democracy calls for decision-making through deliberations, or musyawarah, to reach a consensus, or mufakat. It is democracy that lives up to the principles of Pancasila. This implies, that democratic right must always be exercised with a deep sense of responsibility to God Almighty according to one's own conviction and religious belief, with respect for humanitarian values of man's dignity and integrity, and with a view to preserving and strengthening national unity and the pursuit of social justice.

Thus, Pancasila Democracy means democracy based on the people's sovereignty which is inspired by and integrated with other principles of Pancasila. This means that the use of democratic rights should always be in line with responsibility towards God Almighty according to the respective faith; uphold human values in line with human dignity; guarantee and strengthen national unity: and be aimed at realizing social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia.

5. Social Justice for cne Whole of the People of Indonesia

This principle calls for the equitable spread of welfare to the entire population, not in a static but in a dynamic and progressive way. This means that all the country's natural resources and the national potentials should be utilized for the greatest possible good and happiness of the people.

Social justice implies protection of the weak. But protection should not deny them work. On the contrary, they should work according to their abilities and fields of activity. Protection should prevent willful treatment by the strong and ensure the rule of justice.

These are the sacred values of Pancasila which, as a cultural principle, should always be respected by every Indonesian because it is now the ideology of the state and the life philosophy of the Indonesian people.


The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia is usually referred to as the 1945 Constitution. This is partly because the constitution was drafted and adopted in 1945 when the Republic was established, and partly to distinguish it from two other constitutions which were introduced in free Indonesia. Furthermore, the articles of the 1945 Constitution spell out the ideals and the goals for which independence was proclaimed on August 17, 1945, and defended thereafter. It reflects the spirit and vigor of the time when the constitution was shaped. It was inspired by the urge for unity and for the common goals and democracy built upon the age-old Indonesian concepts of gotong royong (mutual assistance), deliberations of representatives (musyawarah) and consensus (mufakat).

Preceded by a preamble, the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia consists of 37 articles, four transitional clauses and two additional provisions.

The preamble is composed of four paragraphs and includes a condemnation of any form of colonialism in the world, a reference to Indonesia's struggle foi' independence, a declaration of independence and a statement of fundamental goals and principles. It further states, inter alia. that Indonesia's national independence shall be established in the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia with sovereignty vested in the people. The State shall be based upon the following philosophical principles: Belief in the One and Only God, just and civilized humanity, the unity of Indonesia, democracy guided by the inner wisdom of deliberations of representatives, and social justice for all the Indonesian people.

Guided by these fundamental principles, the basic state are to establish an Indonesian Government which all the Indonesian people and their entire motherland, public welfare, develop the intellectual life of the nation, ute towards the establishment of a world order based oeace and social justice.


The Indonesian national flag is called "Sang Saka Merah Putih." As provided for in Article 35 of the 1945 Constitution, the flag is made up of two colors, red on top of white. Its width is two-thirds ol its length, or two meters by three meters. It is hoisted in front of the presidential palace, of government buildings and Indonesian missions abroad. The first flag was courageously flown amidst Japanese occupation forces on the day Indonesia's independence was proclaimed.

Since then it has been hoisted at independence day commemorations in front of the presidential palace in the capital city of Jakarta. This historical flag. or "bendera pusaka." was flown for the last time on August 17. 1968. Since then it has been preserved and replaced by a replica woven of pure Indonesian silk.


The Indonesian roat of arms consists of a golden eagle, called "garuda." that is a figure from ancient Indonesian epics. It is aisc pictured on many temples from the 6th Century.

The eagle is a symbol of creative energy. Its principal color, gold suggests the greatness of the nation. The black color represents nature. There are 17 feathers on each wing, 8 on the tail and 45 on the neck. These figures stand for the date of Indonesia's independence proclamation: 17 August, 1945.

The motto. "Bhinneka Tunggal lka" (Unity in Diversity), is enshrined on a banner held in the eagle's talons. This old Javanese motto was introduced by Empu Tantular, a saint of the Majapahil Kingdom, in the 15th Century. It signifies the unity of the Indonesiar people despite their diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

The shield symbolizes self-defense in struggle and protection of oneself. The red and white colors on the shield's background denote the colors of the Indonesian national flag. The five symbols on the shield represent the state philosophy of Pancasila, the foundation of the Indonesian state.

The bar across the center indicates the equator which passes through the islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Halmahera. This is a reminder of the fact that the Republic of Indonesia is the only tropical country in which the people have built a free and sovereign state by their own hands.

The golden star on the black background in the center of the shield represents the first principle of Pancasila, belief in the One and Only God. The chain symbolizes successive human generations. The round links represent women and the square ones men. It is the symbol of the second principle, just and civilized humanity. The "beringin." or banyan tree, symbolizes the third principle, the unity on Indonesia. The head of the "banteng," or wild bull (bosjavanicus), which is black on a red background, represents the fourth principle, democracy guided by the inner wisdom of deliberations of representatives. The fifth principle, social justice for all Indonesian people, is symbolized by the gold and white paddy and cotton ears.


The national anthem is "Indonesia Raya," which means Great Indonesia. The song was composed in 1928.

The colonial policy of the day was "divide and rule." It was a policy that deliberately aggravated language, ethnic, cultural and religious differences amongst the people.

The birth of Indonesia Raya marked the beginning of Indonesian nationalist movements. The song was first introduced by its composer. Wage Rudolf Supratman, at the second All Indonesian Youth Congress on October 28, 1928 in Batavia, now Jakarta. It was. the moment when Indonesian youth of different ethnic, language, religious and cultural backgrounds resolutely pledged allegiance to:

1.  One native land, Indonesia;
2.  One nation, the Indonesian nation;
3.  One unifying language, the Indonesian language.

Soon the national song, which called for the unity of Indonesia, became popular. It was echoed at Indonesian political rallies, where people stood in solemn observance. The song seriously aroused national consciousness among the people throughout the archipelago.


According to the 1945 Constitution there are six organs of the state:

1.  The People's Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat).
2.  The Presidency.
3.  The House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat).
4.  The Supreme Advisory Council (Dewan Pertimbangan Agung).
5.  The State Audit Board (Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan).
6.  The Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung).

President Abdurrahman Wahid is being sworn in before the Consultative Assembly (Setneg)

Megawati Soekarnoputri takes the oath as vice-president at the office of People's Consultative Assembly

Speaker and Deputy speakers of MPR  are being sworm

Speaker and Deputy speakers of DPR are being sworm


Article I of the 1945 Constitution states that Indonesia is a republic with sovereignty vested in the people to be fully exercised by an elected People's Consultative Assembly, which is the highest political institution in the state. Since the Assembly holds the supremi power in the state, the people voice their political and social aspira tions through this body.

The major tasks of the Assembly are to sanction the Constitution decide the Guidelines of State Policy, and elect the President and Vice-President for a term of office of five years.

In relation to the Assembly, the President is its Mandatary and as such, is accountable to the Assembly for the conduct of govern ment. In the exercise of his duties, the President is assisted by tb Vice-President.

The membership of the assembly's consists of the House member and augmented by delegates of regions and groupings. The tota number of MPR members is 700 comprising of 500 DPR members 135 delegates of regions (five persons from each level I region) and 61 delegates of groupings.

Based on Decree No. VII/MPR/1998, the Chairman of the People' Consultative Assembly separates from Chairman of the House of Representatives. He is assisted by five Vice-Chairmen. The electiol of the Assembly's chairman is by consensus among members. Wher this is imnossiblp voting maybe resorted to as provided for by the 1945 Constitution.


In the government system of Indonesia, the President is both head of state and chief executive. He holds office for a term of five years and is eligible for re-election. Since the President is also the Mandala of the People's Consultative Assembly, he must execute his duties in compliance with the Guidelines of State Policy as decreed by the Assembly.

The National Unity Cabinet

Shortly after taking oath of office as the Fourth President 1999-2004, K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid together with vice-president Megawati Soekarnoputri formed a new cabinet which the President explained was a national unity work team. The cabinet consist professionals from various fields originating from the different parts of the country. On October 26, President Abdurrahman Wahid announced the formation of the 35 members cabinet which comprise: (Out of Date)

(see also :New Cabinet)

9 August, 2001

Coordinating Ministers
Menteri Koordinator

Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs:
Menteri Koordinator Bidang Politik dan Keamanan:
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Coordinating Minister for Economy:
Menteri Koordinator Bidang Perekonomian:
Prof. Dr. Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti
Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare:
Menteri Koordinator Bidang Kesejahteraan Rakyat:
Drs. Jusuf Kalla


Minister for Home Affairs
Menteri Dalam Negeri
:  Hari Sabarno
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Menteri Luar Negeri
:  Dr. Nur Hassan Wirajuda SH., 
Minister for Defence
Menteri Pertahanan
:  H. Matori Abdul Djalil
Minister for Justice and Human Rights
Menteri Kehakiman dan Hak Asasi Manusia
:  Prof. Dr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra,
   SH., MSc
Minister for Finance
Menteri Keuangan
:  Dr. Boediono
Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources
Menteri Energi dan Sumberdaya Mineral
:  Dr. Ir. Purnomo Yusgiantoro
Minister for Industry and Trade
Menteri Perindustrian dan Perdagangan
:  Rini MS Suwandi
Minister for Agriculture
Menteri Pertanian
:  Prof. Dr. Bungaran Saragih
Minister for Forestry 
Menteri Kehutanan
:  Dr. Ir. M. Prakosa, Phd.
Minister for Transportation
Menteri Perhubungan
:  Agum Gumelar
Minister for Maritime and Fisheries Affairs
Menteri Kelautan dan Perikanan
:  Dr. Ir. Rokhmin Dahuri
Minister for Manpower and Transmigration
Menteri Tenaga Kerja dan Transmigrasi
:  Jacob Nuwe Wae 
Minister for Housing and Regional Infrastructure 
Menteri Pemukiman dan Prasarana Wilayah
:  Dr. Ir. Soenarno, Dipl.HE 
Minister for Health
Menteri Kesehatan
:  Dr. Achmad Suyudi, MPH
Minister for National Education
Menteri Pendidikan Nasional
:  Drs. H. Abdul Malik Fadjar, 
Minister for Social Affairs
Menteri Sosial
:  Bachtiar Chamsyah, SE
Minister for Religious Affairs
Menteri Agama
:  Prof. Dr. Said Aqiel Munawar

State Ministers
Menteri Negara

State Minister for Culture and Tourism
Menteri Negara Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata
:  I Gde Ardika
State Minister for Research and Technology
Menteri Negara Riset dan Teknologi
:  Ir. M. Hatta Rajasa
State Minister for Cooperative and Small/Medium Enterprises
Menteri Negara Koperasi dan Usaha Kecil dan Menengah
:  H. Alimarwan Hanan, SH
State Minister for Environment
Menteri Negara Lingkungan Hidup
:  Nabiel Makarim, MA, MSM
State Minister for Women Empowerment
Menteri Negara Pemberdayaan Perempuan
:  Hj. Sri Rejeki Soemaryoto,    SH
State Minister for State Administrative Reform
Menteri Negara Pendayagunaan Aparatur Negara
:  Drs. H.M. Feisal Tamin 
State Minister for the Acceleration of Development in Eastern Indonesia
Menteri Negara Percepatan Pembangunan Kawasan Timur Indonesia
:  Drs. Manuel Kaisieppo
State Minister for National Development Planning/Head of National Development Agency
Menteri Negara Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional/Kepala Bappenas
:  Drs. Kwik Kian Gie
State Minister for State-Owned Enterprises
Menteri Negara BUMN
:  Ir. Laksamana Sukardi
State Minister for Information and Communication 
Menteri Negara Komunikasi dan Informasi
:  H. Syamsul Mu'arif, BA

Officials of Ministerial Rank
Pejabat Setingkat Menteri

State Secretary
Sekretaris Negara
:  Bambang Kesowo, SH., LLM
Attorney General
Jaksa Agung
:  Muhammad Abdurrachman, SH
Indonesian National Forces Commander
Panglima Tentara Nasional Indonesia
:  Admiral Widodo AS
Head of State Intelligence Coordinating Agency
Kepala Badan Koordinasi Intelijen Negara
:  AM Hendro Priyono

The structure and organization of governmental departments are uniform, as provided for in Presidential Decision No. 44 of 1974. This
requires that a government department shall consist of four components, namely:

1. The leadership, which is in the hands of the minister
2. The administrative services headed by a secretary-general
3. The operational services, each headed by a director-general
4. The institutional control, to be exercised by an inspector-general.

Members of the National Unity Cabinet pose together in front of Presidential Palace

As time has passed, the various government departments have expanded in size and responsibilities to accommodate the rising demands    public administration. Hence, a fifth component has been added, namely, a research and development division whose head has the same rank as the other executives.

All these executives are appointed and dismissed by the President on the recommendation of the minister. In the exercise of their duties, however, they are answerable to the minister. They are guided by the principles of coordination, integration and synchronization within their own department as well as in relation to other departments and institutions.

The secretariat-general is divided into bureaus with a maximum number of five. Each directorate-general is divided into directorates numbering no more than five, and the inspectorate-general is divided into inspectorates, also numbering five at most. The research and development division may have a number of centers, each with a specific task in research and development to meet the growing requirements of the department.


The total membership of the House of Representatives is 500. It is composed of:

a.  462 members representing the political organizations that take part in the general election, i.e.:

b.  38 members appointed from the Armed Forces.

To determine the number of the elected members in the House, the following procedure applies. Each elected member represents at least 400,000 citizens.  Hence,  if the population is estimated at 209,389,000 people, the total number of elected members is 425. (The General Elections Institute).

During general elections the provinces form constituencies and are entitled to representation by elected members, the number being derived from the division of the provincial population by 400,000. Provinces with very small populations are represented by a number of elected members not less than the number of districts in the province and each district shall have not less than one representative.

The System of Deliberation and Voting

Deliberations are held in the House to reach a consensus (mufakat) on any question. In the event a consensus is not achieved, the matter is referred to the Steering Committee. Should this Committee arrive at a consensus, all members will be duly informed. In case of failure, the matter is submitted to the plenary session of the House, which must then decide whether the matter is to be put to a vote. postponed or dropped altogether.

Voting requires the presence of all factions and a quorum of two-thirds of the total membership of the house. Resolutions or decisions are adopted by majority votes. Voting on nominations and appointments is done by secret ballot: on any other matters, by a show of hands. If a vote cannot be accomplished because a two-third's quorum cannot be reached or because all factions are not present, the matter is returned to the Steering Committee.

The annual session of the House starts on August 16 and ends on August 15 of the following year. Each session is divided into meetings with intervals for recesses.

At the opening of each annual session of the House, the President delivers his address of state. This is always on August 16. the day before Indonesia's independence day commemoration. In the address the President reviews the developments of the past year and outlines the prospects for the coming year.

Law Making Process

The 1945 Constitution states that the House of Representati- ves is the body of the State. The Government submits bills to the House for consideration and approval, but members of the House can initiate their own bills. Such bills must be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum, signed by at least 30 members, and submitted to the Speaker of the House. During the discussion of the proposed bill. the initiating members may make alterations or withdraw it.

If the House passes the bill. it will become law when it has obtained the signature of the President. By authority of the President, the Minister/State Secretary will publish the Act in the State Gazette of the Republic of Indonesia and henceforth the Act comes into force.


Following Article 16 of the 1945 Constitution and Act No. 3 of 1967 as amended by Act No. 4 of 1978. the functions of the Supreme Advisory Council are to answer any questions that the President may ask in relation to the affairs of the State, including questions on political. economic,  socio-cultural and military affairs.  Conversely, the Council may submit recommendations or express its views on any matter of national importance.

Members of the Council are nominated by the House and appointed by the President for a term of five years. Certain set conditions must be met to qualify for appointments.

The Council is headed by a Chairman and has four ViceChairmen and 45 members. The permanent committees of the Council are:

1.  The political committee.

2.  The economic, financial and industrial committee.

3.  The committee on people's welfare.

4.  The committee on defense and security.


The Supreme Court is the judicial arm of the State and exists beside the legislative and the executive branches. It enjoys an independent status in the socio-political fabric. It was not until 1968 that the restructuring of the Supreme Court was completed to meet the conditions set out in the 1945 Constitution, i.e., to be free from government intervention in the exercise of justice. In 1970 a law was enacted that laid down the basic principle of Indonesia's judicial powers.


The functions of the State Audit Board are outlined in Article 23 of the 1945 Constitution. Its main function is to conduct official examinations of government financial accounts. The findings of the Board are submitted to the House of Representatives, which approves the government budget. In his annual state address on August 16, the President reports to the House on the Government's performance during the past fiscal year. Detailed accounts of government revenues and expenditures and a full report on the progress achieved in development and administration, are recounted in the supplement to the presidential speech.


A major concern of the Government has been the creation of an efficient, clean and respectable administration on national and regional level. This is understandable considering that the progress achieved in national development has created considerable expansion in government activities and responsibilities, and pressing public demands for continuous improvements and streamlining of routine and more often of development administration.

Government regulations that prove to be unnecessary red tape have been abolished by deregulation and debureaucratization. However, administrative reform that will achieve the ideal results is a long and painstaking effort. Thus, preventive and repressive actions have been and will continue to be taken until abuse of authority and malpractice on the part of the state apparatus are reduced to a minimum or. hopefully, eliminated.


The structure and organization of local governments follow the pattern of the national government. On the national level, .the President is the Chief Executive and works with a cabinet of ministers. Next to the national executive is the House of Representatives, with whom the government enacts laws and determines the national budget.

Similarly, the Governor is the Chief Executive in the province and works with a staff of regional officials. Side by side is the provincial legislative, with whom the regional government concurs on regional legislation and decisions on the budget.

On the district (Kabupaten) and municipal (Kotamadya) levels, the Chief Executives are respectively, the Bupati (district head) and Walikota kodya (mayor). Again, the Bupati/Walikota kodya concurs with the local legislative on matters relating to local government regulation and the budget. Both provincial and district  unicipality governments are granted autonomy.

Where the President is the Head of State, the Governor is the Head of the Province and concurrently represents the Central Government in his region. Similarly, the Bupati/Walikota kodya is the Head of the Kabupaten/kotamadya and concurrently represents the Governor in his district/municipality.

The procedure of appointing a governor is as follows: The provincial legislature elects two or three candidates. The election result is reported to the national government, via the Minister of Home Affairs. The winning candidate is then appointed Governor by the President on the recommendation of the Minister.

In a similar way, the Kabupaten/kotamadya legislature elects two or three candidates to be proposed to the Minister of Home Affairs. One of these then is appointed Bupati/Walikota kodya, by the Minister on the recommendation of the Governor.

Below the district municipal level the administrative units are not autonomous. These are the Kecamatan, or Sub-District Administrations and the Kelurahan, or the Village Administrations. The Kecamatan is an administrative sub-division of the Kabupaten or Kotamadya. It is headed by a Camat. The Kecamatan office is in charge of the administration of the sub-district, social welfare and economic affairs. Some national government departments have branches in the Kecamatan office.

The system of village administration is not much different from that of the Kecamatan. The Lurah, who heads the kelurahan, is assisted by a secretary and section heads. Unlike the Kecamatan, however, national government departments do not have branch offices in a Kelurahan. Both the Camat and the Lurah are civil servants appointed on merit from the ranks of local government officials.

In the Desa, or village, the administrative system is somewhat different. The village head, is elected by the village's adult population. The elected candidate is then appointed by the Bupati on behalf of the governor. In the office of the village head there is a secretary and several section heads. A unique feature of village life is the Village Council of Elders, which is composed of 9 to 15 prominent village leaders. The Council makes decisions in concurrence with the village head. In fact, this grass-roots level administration of the village, with its indigenous system of democracy and mutual help, was the inspiration of the founding fathers of the Republic when they decided on the government as laid down in Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.

The "Lembaga Ketahanan Masyarakat Desa" is a village organization whose task is to promote socio-economic conditions so that the village becomes a viable rural community. The organization is headed by the Village Head or Lurah who is assisted by a secretary. Other members of the organization are drawn from the village community.

Community living is fostered by two neighborhood organizations. "The Rukun Tetangga" takes care of social and administrative matters of a neighborhood, such as the registration of families, security, garbage collection, etc. "The Rukun Warga" is the coordinating organization of a number of Rukun Tetangga. Both these organizations are voluntary and non-formal and mainly designed to assist in the work of Lurah/village head.

Regional Finance

The budget for regional administration and development is composed of the following:

a.  Budget allocation from the Central Government to Local Governments.

b.  Central Government grants to Local Governments.

c.  Taxes collected by Local Governments with the approval of the Central Government.

d.  Corporate profits of Local Government enterprises.

e.  Credits secured by Local Governments.

Administrative Division Regions

The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is divided into 27 provinces which are sub-divided into 243 districts, 55 municipalities.16 administrative unicipalities, 35 administrative cities, and 3,841 sub-districts or kecamatans.

Three of the provinces are special territories, namely the Capital City of Jakarta, the Special Territory of Yogyakarta, and the Special Territory of Aceh. Villages are classified into desas or rural villages and kelurahans or urban villages. The head of a desa, is elected by the village community, whereas the head of a kelurahan which is called lurah, is a civil servant appointed by a camat or head of a subdistrict on behalf of the governor.



The principles underlying Indonesia's foreign policy were expounded for the first time by Mohammad Hatta on September 2, 1948 at Yogyakarta in Central Java.

In a session of the Working Group of the Central National Committee of Indonesia (KNPI), the forerunner of the Indonesian Parliament, Vice-President Hatta, concurrently Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of the young Republic, clarified the Government's stand on various domestic and international issues. Refuting the premise of the People's Democratic Front of the Indonesian Communist Party, that in the Cold War between Russia and America the best foreign policy for Indonesia would be to side with Russia, Hatta stated: "Do we, Indonesians, in the struggle for the freedom of our people and our country, only have to choose between Russia and America? Is not there any other stand that we can take in the pursuit of our ideals?"

"The Government is of the firm opinion that the best policy to adopt is one which does not make us the object of an international conflict. On the contrary, we must remain the subject who reserves the right to decide our own destiny and fight for our own goal, which is  independence for the whole of Indonesia." (Mohammad Hatta, "Mendayung Antara Dua Karang," 1976).

The above statement was an indication of the policy Indonesia would take in international relations, which later became known as "mendayung antara dua karang" (rowing between two reefs).


These principles are the foundation of Indonesia's foreign policy, which is independent and active.

The policy is independent because Indonesia does not side with world powers. As a matter of principle, so doing would be incompatible with the country's national philosophy and identity as implied in Pancasila.

The foreign policy is active to the extent that Indonesia does not maintain a passive or reactive stand on international issues but seeks active participation in their settlement. In other words, Indonesia's independent and active policy is not a neutral policy, but it is one that does not align Indonesia with the super powers nor does it bind the country to any military pact. Essentially, it is a policy designed to serve the national interest while simultaneously allowing Indonesia to cooperate with other nations to abolish colonialism and imperialism in all their forms and manifestations for the sake of world peace and social justice. This explains why Indonesia was one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.


Any country's foreign policy is a reflection of its national aspirations vis-a-vis the rest of the world. It is a component of the country's geopolitical strategy. Based on these premises, the primary objectives of Indonesia's foreign policy are:

a.  To support the national development with priority on economic development, as set out in the Five-Year Development Plans:

b.  To preserve internal and regional stability conducive to national development;

c.  To protect the territorial integrity of Indonesia and safeguard the people's place of abode.


In compliance with the development and fast change in international constellation after the cold war, and in accordance with the recommendation of the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Action Programs, and also the outcome of the Second National Workshop on Human rights, organized by the Indonesian Government, the National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) and the United Nations in 1994, Indonesia has produced the National Action Plan for (RAN-HAM) for 1998 to 2003. The action plan was designed by the Inter-Ministerial Permanent Committee on Human Rights, established in 1991, together with KOMNAS-HAM, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the focal-point. Its activities focus on four main pillars, namely:

(1) Ratification of international instruments in the field of Human Rights;

(2) Dissemination and education of Human Rights;

(3) The Human Rights problems which have been given priority to be solved, especially the problems relating to non-derogable rights, the violation of which could ruin the national image easily:

(4) The implementation of the ratified international Human Rights Conventions.

President Habibie, in line with the serious efforts of the Government to advance and protect Human Rights officially, proclaimed RAN-HAM on June 25, 1998. RAN-HAM contains the real steps for the furtherance and observance of Human Rights implemented on the national level for the period of 5 (five) years. Then RAN-HAM was installed by Presidential Decree No. 129 on August 15, 1998 and the National Committee of RAN-HAM was formed to carry out the RAN-HAM programs.

In accordance with the first pillar of the National Plan for Human Rights in Indonesia, ratified the convention against tortures and other treatments or and punishments which are cruel, inhumane or perogatory to the human dignity by Law No. 5 on September 28, 1998. On April 16, 1999 the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives approved the Bill for the ratification of the convention for eradication of all kinds of racial discrimination which is awaiting Presidential approval. At the moment preparation is underway for the ratification of the international convention concerning economic, social, and cultural rights. Relating to reporting, the Government has formed a Task Force. Its first duty is prepare a report on the convention against cortures, which to be conveyed to the Committee of Anti -Torture on November 26, 1999.

In the framework of implementing the RAM-HAM, Indonesia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Project Document concerning Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (KTHAM-PBB), on August 13, 1998 and March 4, 1999 respectively. Indonesia has also accepted an offer of technical cooperation in the field of Human Rights from foreign countries, among others Australia, Sweden, Canada and Norway.

In the field of Manpower, in 1998 Indonesia ratified ILO Convention No. 87 concerning the Freedom of association and protection for rights to establish organization, with Presidential Decision No. 83 on June 5, 1998. In 1999, Indonesia ratified three other ILO conventions, namely: ILO Convention number 105 on Abolition of Servitude: ILO Convention number 138 on Minimum Wage: and ILO Convention number III on Abolition of Job Discrimination.


Indonesia's struggle for international recognition on archipelagic concept has succeeded by the acceptance and incorporation of the Archipelagic State principle in Chapter IV of UN Convention concerning Law of the Sea of 1982. However, Indonesia has to consider and recognize the rights of other states, especially for the passage of military ships/sea fleet through  Indonesian waters, particularly through the regions which are usually used for international shipping. This concession is given by an archipelagic state in the form of archipelagic sea lanes as mentioned in Article 53 of the Convention.

To comply with the above stipulation through the International Maritime Organization situated in London, has Indonesia proposed sea lanes of the Indonesia archipelago consisting of three NorthSouth ALKI, namely ALKI I, ALKJ II and ALKI III which in the southern part have three branches, namely ALKI III-A, III-B and III-C.

The archipelagic sea lanes passing through the Indonesian sea territory are:

ALKI I : Sunda Strait-Karimata Strait-Natuna Sea-South China Sea.

ALKI II : Lombok Strait-Makasar Strait-Sulawesi Sea.

ALKI III-A : Sawu Sea-Ombai Strait-Banda Sea (Western part of Buru lsland)-Seram Sea (Eastern part of Mongole 1sland)-Maluku Sea-Pacific Ocean.

ALKI III-B : Timor Sea-Leti Strait-Banda Sea (Western part of Buru lsland)-Seram Sea (Eastern part of Mongole Island) -Maluku Sea-Pacific Ocean.

ALKI III-C : Arafuru Sea-Banda Sea (Western part of Buru lsland)-Seram Sea (Eastern part of Mongole Island)-Maluku Sea-Pacific Ocean.

The background of the proposal of the three ALKIs is based on the consideration of various sectoral interest as well as defense and security, hydro-oceanographic and natural aspects of each ALKI; the problems of marine environment and marine conservation areas, exploration and natural resources exploitation (oil and gas), fish catching: the importance and safety of national shipping and aviation; the existence of submarine pipes and cables; and the importance of international marine traffics through the Indonesian territorial waters.

In the effort to establish ALKI, Indonesia has held a series of informal meetings with several big countries that use the archipelagic sea lanes in the Indonesian territorial waters, such as the United States of America. Australia, Japan and England. In accordance with the results of the meetings, in 1995, the Indonesian government approached the International Organization concerned, namely IMO. Based on IMO suggestion, the Indonesian government then approached the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to discuss ALKI symbols that would be used in the shipping map.

On national level, the Indonesian government has also done a series of important activities, among others establishing the starting lines of the Indonesian archipelago and the coordinates of the three ALKI's. Considering that ALKI must be established in the territorial waters of the archipelago, the Indonesian government has readjusted its archipelagic starting lines in the Natuna Sea that is passed by ALKI-I by incorporating a half of the Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE) in that area as archipelagic territorial waters. The readjustment of the starting lines in the Natuna Sea is enacted by Government Regulation No 61/1998 and has been translated into English and submitted to IMO.

In compliance with the results of meeting and approaches and the series of activities to prepare a proposal plan for the establishment of the starting lines, on August 30. 1996, the Indonesian government officially submitted the proposal for the establishment of the three ALKIs to be discussed in the 67'h meeting of Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) - IMO in 1996.

After long discussion and debate with the main user countries of ALKI. namely the United States of America. Australia. Japan and England in that meeting, and approaches to the neighboring countries such as Singapore. Malaysia and Thailand, an agreement was reached between Indonesia and the main user countries about the stipulation of Rights and Obligations of Foreign Ships in ALKI (19 stipulation) that must be observed and obeyed by ships that pass ALKI. Finally, the establishment of three North-West ALKI was adopted by the 69'1' Plenary Session of IMO in London on May 19. 1998. To this regard, Indonesia became the first country which established its archipelagic sea territory based on the stipulation of the Marine Law Convention of 1982.

In accordance with the 69th  MSC results, in the framework of establishing ALKI internationally, the Indonesian government will enact it in the national regulation and submit to IMO to be announced. In this connection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the coordinator of ALKI matters that have international dimension, has coordinated with the Ministry of Justice and agreed that the establishment of ALKI and the stipulations of Rights and Obligations of Foreign Ships in ALKI will be enacted in government regulation that is being prepared by the Ministry of Justice.

The ALKI acceptance by IMO gives the Indonesian government further task to introduce ALKI in national level to institutions/related parties.


In 1998. significant progress took place in South East Asia region. where ASEAN remained one the pillar of Indonesian foreign policy. In 1998, the 10"' ASEAN vision was realized, which is the aspiration of the Bangkok Declaration in 1967. The 10'h ASEAN vision came true when ASEAN leaders agreed to accept Cambodia as full member of ASEAN in the 6'h ASEAN Summit Meeting in December 1998 in Hanoi. Vietnam. The acceptance ceremony of Cambodia as an ASEAN member countries was done in a special meeting of ASEAN Foreign Affairs Ministers quite recently.

The 31th Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Affairs Ministers in Manila on 24-25 July 1998 discussed important problems which were compiled in a Joint Communique that consisted of the statement of ASEAN Foreign Affairs Ministers about the crisis in the region matters of the Second Protocol to ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation/TAC; nuclear test by India and Pakistan: matters on Cambodia; the approaches relationship among ASEAN members countries: and the preparations of the implementation of the 6th ASEAN Summit Meeting. On this occasion, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed the Second Protocol that gives access to other countries outside ASEAN to TAG.

According to plan, the Sixth ASEAN Summit Meeting was convened in Hanoi. Vietnam on December 15-16, 1998. This ASEAN Summit had a strategic meaning because this was the last ASEAN Summit before the 21st century. At this opportunity, the leader of ASEAN approved three documents that could help ASEAN recover from the monetary crisis and restore the economic growth of each country. The documents the meeting has yielded the Hanoi Declaration (Hanoi Summit Declaration), the Hanoi Plan of Action, and ASEAN Statement on Bold Measures.

Through the Hanoi Declaration, the leaders of ASEAN clarified their commitment to strengthen economic integration among the members as a proof of cooperation spirit and solidarity. For that reason. ASEAN would try immediately to make efforts to recover the macro economy and monetary stability, economic recovery, and to maintain a sustained economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Hanoi Plan of Action is the clarification of ASEAN 2020 vision and the ASEAN determination to strengthen macroeconomy and financial cooperation by maintaining regional macroeconomy and finance: strengthening the financial system: improving liberalization of the cooperation financial service sector; intensifying finance, taxes and insurance, and the development of ASEAN capital market. Efforts for a closer economic integration improvement will be done through the acceleration of the implementation of AFTA, ASEAN International Cooperation Scheme (AICO), ASEAN Investment Area (AIA), service trade liberalization: the improvement of food, agriculture and forestry safety: the intensification of industrial cooperation: the strengthening of small and medium companies: the expansion of cooperation on the Intellectual Property Rights (HAKI): the improvement of ASEAN tourism: and the development of regional infrastructures.

BNI-46, the biggest state owned bank in Indonesia

Tanjung Priok harbor, Jakarta, for container loading-unloading

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