| Home | R e s e r v e | R e s e r v e | R e s e r v e | R e s e r v e | C o n t a c t |


Economic Recovery
People's Welfare and Poverty Eradication
Food and Horticulture
National Logistics Agency
Industry and Trade
Mining and Energy
Cooperatives, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises
Transportation and Communications
The Law
The Environment
Defense and Security
Social Affairs
The Role of Women in National Development
Population and Family Planning
Religious Life
Education and Culture
Science and Technology
Housing and Settlement
Agrarian Affairs
The Younger Generation and Sports
Tourism, Arts and Culture
Empowerment of State Enterprises



Indonesia did not exist as yet during the Palaeocene period (70 million years BC), the Eocene period (30 million years BC). the Oligacene period (25 million years BC) and the Miocene period (12 million years BC). It is believed that Indonesia must have existed during the Pleistocene period (4 million years BC) when it was linked with the present Asian mainland. It was during this period that the Homonids made their first appearance and Java Man inhabited the part of the world now called  Indonesia. Java Man,  named Pithecanthropus Erectus by Eugence Dubois who found the fossils on the island of Java, must have been the first inhabitant of Indonesia.

When the sea level rose as the result of melting Ice north of Europe and the American continent, many islands emerged. Including the Indonesian archipelago. It was also during this period (3000- 500 BC) that Indonesia was inhabited by Sub-Mongoloid migrants from Asia who later inter-married with the indigenous people. Later still (1000 BC) inter-marriage occurred with Indo-Arian migrants from the south-Asian sub-continent of India.

The first Indian migrants came primarily from Gujarat in South- east India during the first Christian era.

The Caka period in Indonesia witnessed the introduction of the Sanskrit language and the Pallawa script by the Indian Prince Aji Caka (78 AD). The Devanagari script of the Sanskrit language was also used, as shown in ancient stone and copper inscriptions (paracasthles) which have been unearthed. The language and script were adapted and called the Kawi language and included words and phrases derived from Javanese.

Early trade relations were established between South India and Indonesia. Sumatra was then named Swarna Dwipa of "the island of gold," Java was called Java Dwipa or "the rice island," and a Hindu kingdom of Crivijaya in Sumatra and Nalanda in South India were not confined to religious and cultural exchanges. They later developed diplomatic relations, and even covered a wide range of trade.

The influx of Indian settlers continued during the period from the first to the seventh century AD. Peacefully and gradually the Hindu religion spread throughout the archipelago. It was adopted by all layers of the people of Java, but limited to the upper classes on the other islands.


Many well-organized kingdoms with a high degree of civilization were ruled by indigenous kings who had adopted the Hindu or Buddhist religion. This explains why this period in history is called the Period of Hindu Kingdoms. It lasted from ancient times to the 16th Century AD. Because the culture and civilization, which emanated from the Hindu and Buddhist religions, were syncretized with the local cultural elements, the period was also referred to as the Hindu-Indonesian period.

Indian culture and customs were introduced, such as the system of government in a monarchy, the ancestry system, the organization of military troops, literature, music and dances, architecture, religious practices and rituals, and even the division of laborers into castes or varnas. The Hindu literary works known as Vedas and the "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana" epics were also introduced through the wayang. or shadow-play performance, which is still very popular in many parts of present day Indonesia.

The first Indian Buddhists arrived in Indonesia between the Ist and 2nd Centuries AD. They brought with them Buddhism in its two sects. Hinayana and Mahayana. The latter became more advanced in the 8"' Century AD.

In 144 AD a Chinese Buddhist saint. Fa Hsien. was caught in a storm and landed in Java-Dwipa, or Java Island, where he stayed for five months. The northern part of the island was then ruled by an Indonesian Hindu King named Kudungga. Kutai, on the island of Borneo, was successively ruled by the Hindu kings  Devawarman, Aswawarman and Mulawarman.

When the Greek explorer and geographer. Ptolemy of Alexandria, wrote on Indonesia, he named either the island of Java or Sumatra "abadiou". His chronicles described Java as a country with a good system of government and advanced agriculture, navigation and astronomy. There was even mention of the "batik" printing process of cloth that the people already knew. They made metalware. used the metric system and printed coins.

Chinese chronicles of 132 AD described the existence of diplomatic relations between Java-Dwipa and China. Around 502 AD Chinese annals mentioned the existence of the Buddhist Kingdom, Kanto Lirn in South Sumatra, presumably in the neighborhood of presentday Palembang. It was ruled by king Gautama Subhadra. and later by his son Pyrawarman of Vinyawarman who established diplomatic relations with China. Because of a spelling or pronunciation difficulty. what the Chinese called "Kanto Li" was probably Crivijaya, a mighty Buddhist kingdom. On his way to India, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim. I Tsing, visited Crivijaya in 671 AD to study the Sanskrit language. He returned 18 years later, in 689 AD Crivijaya was then the center of Buddhist learning and had many well-known philosophy scholars like Sakyakirti. Dharmapala and Vajabudhi.

The kingdom had diplomatic relations with the south Indian kingdom of Nalanda. The Crivijaya mission built a school on its premises where Indians could learn the art of molding bronze statues and broaden their knowledge of the Buddhist philosophy. With the spread of Buddhism, Crivijaya's influence reached out to many other parts of the archipelago.

Another known Buddhist kingdom was Cailendra in Central Java. It was ruled by the kings of Cailendra Dynasty. During their rule (750-850 AD) the famous Buddhist temple, Borobudur, was built. In 772 AD other Buddhist temple were also built. They include the Mendut, Kalasan and Pawon temples. All of these temples are now preserved as tourist objects near the city of Yogyakarta. The Cailendra kingdom was also known for its commercial and naval power, and its flourishing arts and culture. A guide to learn singing, known as the Chandra Cha-ana, was first written in 778 AD.

The Prambanan temple, which was dedicated to Lord Civa, was started in 856 AD and completed in 900 AD by King Daksa. Earlier Civa temples were built in 675 AD on the Dieng mountain range, southwest of Medang Kamolan, the capital of the Mataram Kingdom.

In West Java were the kingdoms of Galuh, Kanoman, Kuningan and Pajajaran. The latter was founded by King Purana with Pakuan as its capital. It replaced the kingdom of Galuh. The kingdoms of Tarurna Negara, Kawali and Parahyangan Sunda came later.

At the end of the 10th Century (911-1007 AD) the powerful kingdom of Singasari emerged in East Java under King Dharmawangsa. He codified laws and translated into Javanese the "Mahabharata" epic and its basic philosophy, as exposed in the Bhisma Parva scripture. He also ordered the 12 translations of the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavat Gita.

Meanwhile, the island of Bali was also ruled by King Airlangga, known as a wise and strong ruler. He had water-works built along the Brantas River that are still in use today. Before his death in 971 AD he divided his kingdom into the kingdoms of Janggala and Daha or Kediri. These were to be ruled by his two sons.

King Jayabaya of Kediri 1135-1157 wrote a book in which he foretold the downfall of Indonesia. Subsequently, so he wrote, the country would be ruled by a white race, to be followed by a yellow race. His prediction turned out to be Dutch colonial rule and the Japanese occupation of the country during World War. However, Jayabaya also predicted that Indonesia would ultimately regain her independence. During the golden period of the Kediri Kingdom many other literary works were produced, including the Javanese version of the Mahabharata by Mpu (saint) Sedah and his brother Mpu Panuluh. This work was published in 1 157.

The kingdoms of East Java were later slieceeded by the Majapahit Kinudorn. tirst ruled by l'rinre Wijava who vvas also known as King Kartarajasa.

Under King llayain Wuriik tlie Majapahit Empire became the most powerlul kingdom in the history of Indonesia. It had dependencies in territories beyond the borders of the present archipelago, such as Champa in North Vietnam. Kampnchea.and the Philippines (1331-1364). King llayam Wuruk. with his able premier Gajah Mada. succeeded in gradually uniting the whole archipelago under the name of Dwipantara.

During this golden period of Majapahit many literary works were produced. Among them was "Negara Kertagama." by the famous author l'rapancha (1335-1380). Parts of the book described the diplomatic and economic ties between Majapahit and numerous Southeast Asian countries including Myanmar. Thailand. Tonkin. Annam. Kampuchea and even India and China. Other works in Kawi. the old Javanese language, were "Pararaton." "Arjuna Wiwaha." "Ramayana." and "Sarasa Muschaya." These works were later translated into modern European languages for educational purposes.


Moslem merchants from Gujarat and Persia began visiting Indonesia in the 13th Century and established trade links between this country and India and Persia. Along with trade, they propagated Islam among the Indonesian people, particularly along the coastal areas of Java. like Demak. At a later stage they even influenced and converted Hindu kings to Islam, the first being the Sultan of Demak. This Moslem Sultan later spread Islam westwards to Cirebon and Banten. and eastward along the northern coast of Java to the kingdom of Gresik. In the end. he brought the downfall of the powerful kingdom of Majapahit (1293-1520).

After the fall of Majapahit. Islam spread further east to where the sultanates of Bone and Goa in Sulawesi were established. Also under the influence of Islam, were the sultanates of Ternate and Tidore in Maluku.

From North ot Java. the religion spread to Banjarmasin in Borneo and further west to Sumatra, where Palembang. Minangkabau (West Sumatra). Pasai and Perlak were converted.

Meanwhile, descendants of the Majapahit aristocracy, religious scholars and Hindu Ksatrivas retreated through the East Java peninsula of Blambangan to the island of Bali and Lornbok. In a later period. however, the eastern part of Lornbok was converted to Islam. which entered the island from the southern Sulawesi city of Makassar. now named Ujungpandang.

The capital of the West Java Kingdom of Pajajaran was Sunda Kelapa (1300 AD). It was located in the present capital city ofindonesia. Jakarta. In 1527 Sunda Kelapa was conquered by Falatehan, an Islamic troop commander of the sultanate of Demak. After his conquest the city was renamed Jaya Karta, meaning "the great city," this was the origin of the present name. Jakarta. Falatehan also defeated the Portuguese, who had also tried to seize the city.


In their search for spices, the Portuguese arrived in Indonesia in 1511. after their conquest of the Islamic kingdom of Malacca on the Malay Peninsula. They were followed by the Spaniards. Both began to propagate Christianity and were most successful in Minahasa and Maluku. also known as the Moluccas.

The Sultan of Aceh in Sumatra, the Sultan of Demak in Java and the Sultan of Ternate in the Maluku islands joined forces in trying to ward off the Portuguese. At that time the power and sovereignty of Ternate sultanate was recognized by more than 72 islands, including the island of Timor. In 1570. the Portuguese succeeded in killing the Sultan of Ternate. Khairun. However, his successor. Sultan Baabullah. besieged the Portuguese fortress at Ternate. Baabullah then allied himself with the Dutch to further confront the Portuguese and Spaniards.

In 1651 the Dutch invaded Kupang in Western Timor. Despite the Dutch presence in Timor, the formal and precise definition ofthe territories controlled by the two colonial powers did not take place until more than 200 years after the Dutch conquest of Kupang. It was only on 20 April 1859. the Dutch concluded a treaty with Portugal to divide Timor into their respective control : The Dutch occupied the Western part and Portugal the eastern part of the island. From that time Portugal could secure a full control over East Timor until it left the region in 1975.


Meanwhile, the Dutch had started their quest for Indonesian spices to sell on the European market at big profit. For the purpose of more efficient and better organized merchant trade they established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602. To protect the merchant fleet from frequent pirate attacks on the high seas, Dutch warships were ordered to accompany it.

After the nationalization of the VOC in 1799. the Dutch Government had a firm grip on the vital territories of'the country. People in those territories were forced to surrender their agricultural produce to the Dutch merchants.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram converted to Islam and was ruled by the Muslim, Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo. He developed the political power of the state and was a keen patron of the arts and culture. In 1633 he introduced the Islamic Javanese calendar Sultan Agung was a fierce enemy of the Dutch. In 1629 he sent his troops to attack Batavia, but they were repulsed by the troops of Governor General Jan Pieterszoon Coen.

After the seizure of Ambon in the Moluccas in 1605 and Banda Island in 1623, the Dutch secured the trade monopoly of the spice islands. A policy of ruthless exploitation by "divide and rule" tactics was carried out. In this way indigenous inter-island trade, like that between Makassar, Aceh, Mataram and Banten, as well as overseas trade, was gradually paralyzed. Indonesia was reduced to an agricultural country to supply European markets. At the same time, the Dutch adopted a so-called open-door policy toward the Chinese in order that they could serve as middlemen in their trade with Indonesia.

Sultan Hasanuddin of Goa waged a war against the Dutch in 1666. But was defeated and Goa became a vassal state of the VOC under the treaty of Bunggaya of 1667. Prince Trunojoyo of Madura also fought the Dutch. He was defeated and killed in 1680.

To reinforce their spice monopoly in the Moluccas, the Dutch undertook their notorious Hongi expeditions, whereby they burned down the clove gardens of the people in an effort to eliminate overproduction, which brought down the prices of cloves on the European markets. In these outrageous expeditions countless atrocities were committed against people who defended their crops.

In 1740 the Dutch suppressed a rebellion in Jakarta that was sparked by dissatisfied Chinese, who were later joined by Indonesians. Ten thousand Chinese were massacred.

The Kingdom of Mataram began to see its downfall after it was divided by the VOC into the Principalities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. However, mismanagement and corruption forced the VOC into bankruptcy and on December 31, 1799, all its territories in Indonesia were taken over by the Dutch Administration in Batavia.


In 1814 the British came to Indonesia and built Fort York in Bengkulu on the west coast of Sumatra. It was later renamed Fort Mariborough.

During the Napoleonic wars in Europe when Holland was occupied by France, Indonesia fell under the rule of the British East India Company (1811-1816). Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles was appointed Lieutenant Governor General of Java and dependencies. He was subordinated to the Governor General in Bengal, India.

Raffles introduced partial self-government and abolished the slave trade. In those days slaves were captured and traded by foreigners. He also introduced the land-tenure system, replacing the hated Dutch forced-agricultural system, whereby crops were grown and surrendered to the Government. Borobudur and other temples were restored and research conducted. Raffles wrote his famous book, 'The History of Java," in which he described Java's high civilization and culture.

During the British stay in Sumatra (1814-1825), William Marsden wrote a similar book on the history of Sumatra, which was published in 1889.

After the fall of Napoleon, and the end of the French occupation of Holland the British and Dutch signed a convention in London on August 13, 1814, in which it was agreed that Dutch colonial possessions dating from 1803 onwards should be returned to the Dutch Administration in Batavia. Thus, the Indonesian archipelago was recovered from the British in 1815.


Soon the Dutch intensified their colonial rule. But this only sparked widespread revolts to seize freedom. These revolts, however, were suppressed one after the other.

To mention only a few: Thomas Matulessy, alias Pattimura, staged a revolt against the Dutch in the Moluccas (1816-1818). Prince Diponegoro of Mataram led the Java War from 1825 until 1830. Again, it was a fierce struggle for freedom. Tuanku Imam Bonjol led the Padri War in West Sumatra, while Teuku Umar headed the Aceh War in North Sumatra (1873-1903). King Sisingamangaraja of the Bataks revolved against the Dutch in 1907. An attempt by the Dutch troops to occupy Bali in 1908 was repelled by King Udayana. Revolts were also erupting in Goa, South Sulawesi, and in South Kalimantan.


When all these regional wars of independence failed, Indonesian nationalists began thinking of a more-organized struggle against Dutch colonialism. The move began with the founding of Boedi Oetomo, literally meaning "noble conduct." on May 20, 1908. This organization of Indonesian intellectuals was initially set up for educational purposes but later turned into politics. It was inspired by Japan's victory over Russia in 1901, which also gave impetus to nationalist movements in many parts of Indonesia. The founder of Boedi Oetomo was Dr. Soetomo who was, at the time, a student of STOVIA, an institution to train Indonesian medical officers. Dr. Soetomo was greatly influenced by Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo and supported by Gunawan and Suradji.

In 1912 Sarekat Dagang Islam, the Association of Moslem Merchants, was formed by Haji Samanhudi and others. Its objective was at first to stimulate and promote the interest of Indonesian business in the Dutch East Indies. However, in 1912 this organization of middle class businessmen turned into a political party and was renamed Sarekat Islam under the leadership of H.O.S. Tjokroammoto. Haji Agoes Salim and others.

In 1912 a progressive Moslem organization, Muhammadiyah. was established by K.H. Akhmad Dahlan in Yogyakarta for the purpose of social and economic reforms.

In December of the same year Partai Indonesia was founded by Douwes Dekker. later named Setiabudi, with Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo and Ki Hajar Dewantoro. The objective of the party was to strive for complete independence of Indonesia. All three leaders of the party were exiled by the colonial government in 1913.

In 1914 communism was introduced in the East Indies by three Dutch nationals-SneevIiet, Baars and Brandsteder.

In May 1920 Sarikat Islam split into a right and a left wing, the latter was to become the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI, the Indonesian Communist Party) under the leadership of Semaun, Darsono, Alimin. Muso and others.

The Powerless People's Council or Volksraad

In 1916 Sarikat Islam held its first convention in Bandung and resolved the demand for self-government for Indonesia in cooperation with the Dutch. When Sarikat Islam demanded a share in the legislative power in the colony, the Dutch responded by setting up the Volksraad in 1918 which was virtually a powerless people's council with an advisory status.

Indonesian representatives on the council were indirectly elected through regional councils, but some of the other members were appointed colonial officials.

The Volksraad later developed into a semi-legislative assembly. Among the members of this body were prominent nationalist leaders like Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusurno, H.O.S. Tjokroaminoto, Abdul Muis, Dr. G.S.S.J. Ratulangi, M.H. Thamrin, Wiwoho, Sutardjo Kartohadikusumo. Dr. Radjiman, and Soekardjo Wiryopranoto.

Under the pressure of the social unrest in the Netherlands at the end of World War I, the Dutch promised to grant self-government to Indonesians. This was known as the "November promise." It was promise that was never met.

Besides the Volksraad, there was another body called Raad van Indie, "the Council of the Indies," whose the members were appointed by the Government Achmad Djajadiningrat and Sujono were among the very few Indonesian members of this council.

In 1923 deteriorating economic conditions and increasing labo strikes prompted the colonial government to put severe restriction on Indonesian civil liberties and make amendments to the colonia laws and penal codes. Freedom of assembly, speech and expressiol in writing was restricted.

Further Growth of Indonesian Organizations

Despite the political restrictions, on July 3, 1922 Ki Hajar Dewantoro founded Taman Siswa, an organization to promote national education.

In 1924 the Indonesian Students Association, "Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Indonesia," was formed by Drs. Mohammad Hatta, Dr. Sukiman and others. This organization became a driving force of the nationalist movement to gain independence.

The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) staged revolts against the colonial government in November 1926 in West Java, and in January 1927 in West Sumatra. After their suppression the Government exiled many non-communist nationalist leaders to Tanah Merah, which the Dutch called "Boven Digul" in Irian Jaya. Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusurno was exiled to Bandaneira.

In February 1927 Mohammad Hatta, Achmad Soebardjo and other members of Indonesia's Movements attended the first international convention of the "League Against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression" in Brussels, together with Jawaharlal Nehru and many other prominent nationalist leaders from Asia and Africa.

In July 1927, Soekarno, Sartono and others formed the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), which adopted Bahasa Indonesia as the official language. This party adopted a militant policy of noncooperation with the Government as the result of a fundamental conflict of interest between Indonesian nationalism and Dutch colonialism.

In the same year, an all-Indonesia nationalist movement was organized by Indonesian youth to replace earlier organizations, which had been based on regionalism, such as "Young Java," "Young Sumatra" and "Young Ambon."

On October 28, 1928, delegates to Indonesian Youth Congress in Jakarta pledged allegiance to "one country, one nation and one language, Indonesia." Concerned about the growing national awareness of freedom, the colonial authorities arrested the PNI leader, Soekarno, in December 1929. This touched offwidespread protests by Indonesians.

In 1930 the world was in the grip of an economic and monetary crisis. The severe impact of the crisis was felt in the Indies, a raw material producing country. The colonial government responded with a strict balanced budget policy that aggravated economic and social conditions.

Two other leaders of the PNI, Gatot Mangkupradja and Maskun Supriadinata, were arrested and tried in court on charges of plotting against the Government. Soekarno was released in September 1931 but exiled again in August 1933. He remained in Dutch custody until the Japanese invasion in 1942.

In January 1931, Dr. Soetomo founded Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia, the Indonesian Unity Party. Its objective was to improve the social status of the Indonesian people.

In April of the same year, PNI was abandoned. A new party wa: formed by Sartono, LLM and named Partai Indonesia, the Indonesial Party. Its basis was nationalism, its line was independence.

Also in 1931, Sutan Syahrir formed Pendidikan Nasional Indone sia. Known as the new PNI, it envisaged national education. Moham mad Hatta joined this organization.

In 1933 a mutiny broke out on the Dutch warship "De Zeven Provincien" for which Indonesian nationalists were held responsible The following year Sutan Syahrir and Mohammad Hatta and othe nationalist leaders were arrested and banished until 1942.

In 1935, Soetomo merged Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia and Boed Oetomo to form Partai Indonesia Raya (Parindra). Its fundamenta goal was the independence of Great Indonesia.

In July 1936, Sutardjo submitted to the "Volksraad" a petition calling for greater autonomy for Indonesia. This petition was flatly  rejected by the Dutch-dominated Council.

In 1937 Dr. A.K. Gani started the Indonesian People's Movement Gerakan Rakyat Indonesia, which was based on the principles of na tionalism, social independence and self-reliance.

In 1939 the All Indonesian Political Federation, GAPI, called fo the establishment of a full-fledged Indonesian parliament. This de mand was rejected by the Government in Holland in 1940.

GAPI also demanded an Indonesian military service for the purpose of defending the country in times of war. Again, this was turned down, notwithstanding the impending outbreak of World War II. At the time, there were widespread movements for fundamental and progressive reforms in the colonies and dependencies in Asia.


After their attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the Japanese forces moved southwards to conquer several Southeast Asian countries ter Singapore had fallen, they invaded the Dutch East Indies and colonial army surrendered in March 1942.

Soekarno and Hatta were released from their detention. Japanese began their propaganda campaign for what they called "Great East Asia Coprosperity". But Indonesians soon realized that it was a camouflage for Japanese imperialism in place of Dutch colonialism.

To further the cause of Indonesia's independence, Soekarno Hatta appeared to cooperate with the Japanese authorities. In reality, however, Indonesian nationalist leaders went underground and masterminded insurrections in Blitar (East Java), Tasikmalaya and lndramayu (West Java), and in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Under the pressure of the 4th Pacific war, where their supply lines were interrupted, and the increasing of Indonesian insurrections, the Japanese ultimately gave in to allow the red-and-white flag to fly as the Indonesian national flag. Recognition of "Indonesia Raya" as the national anthem and Bahasa Indonesia as the national language followed. Hence, the youth's pledge of 1928 was fulfilled.

After persistent demands, the Japanese finally agreed to place the civil administration of the country into Indonesian hands. This was a golden opportunity for nationalist leaders to prepare for the proclamation of Indonesia's independence.


The Republic of Indonesia first saw light on August 17, 1945, when its independence was proclaimed just days after the Japanese surrender to the Allies. Pancasila became the ideological and philosophical basis of the Republic, and on August 18, 1945 the Constitution was adopted as the basic law of the country.

Following the provisions of the Constitution, the country is headed by a President who is also the Chief Executive. He is assisted by a Vice-President and a cabinet of ministers.

The sovereignty of the people rests with the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR). Hence, the President is accountable to the MPR. The legislative power is vested in the House of Representatives (DPR). Other institutions of the state are the Supreme Court, the Supreme Advisory Council and the Supreme Audit Board. Soekarno became the first President and Chief Executive, and Mohammad Hatta, the first Vice-President of the Republic. On September 5, 1945 the first cabinet was formed.

The War of Independence

The infant republic was soon faced with military threats to its very existence. British troops landed in Indonesia as a contingent of the Allied Forces to disarm the Japanese. Dutch troops also seized this opportunity to land in the country, but for a different purpose. namely, to regain control of the former East Indies. At the beginning they were assisted by British troops under General Christison, a fact later admitted by Lord Louis Mountbatten. the Commander of the Allied Forces in Southeast Asia based in Myanmar. In fact. the British troops were officially only assigned to the task of repatriating Allied prisoners of war and internees.

On November 10, 1945, fierce fighting broke out between British troops and Indonesian freedom fighters in which the British lost Brigadier Mallaby. As a result, the British turned to an all-out combat from the sea. air and land. The newly-recruited army of the Republic soon realized the superiority of the British forces and withdrew from urban battles. They subsequently formed guerrilla units and fought together with armed groups of the people.

Under the pretext of representing the Allied Forces, the Dutch sent in more troops to attack Indonesian strongholds. Between 1945 and 1949 they undertook two military actions.

Diplomacy and Fighting

Meanwhile, on November II. 1945. Vice-President Hatta issued a manifesto that outlined the basic policy of the new Republic. It was a policy of good neighborhood and peace 22 with the rest of the world.

On November 14 of the same year. the newly-appointed Prime Minister. Sutan Syahrir. introduced a parliamentary system, with party representation, in the Republic.

On December 22. Sutan Syahrir announced Indonesia's acceptance of the British proposal to disarm and confine to internment camps 25.000 Japanese troops throughout the country. This task was successfully carried out by TNI. the Indonesian National Army. Repatriation of the Japanese troops began on April 28, 1946. Because fighting with the Dutch troops continued, the seat of the Republican Government was moved from Jakarta to Yogyakarta on January 4. 1946.

The Indonesian Question in the United Nations

The war in Indonesia posed a threat to international peace and security. In the spirit of article 24 of the United Nations' Charter, the question of Indonesia was officially brought before the Security Council by Jacob Malik of the Soviet Unions. Soon afterwards, on February 10. 1946. the first official meeting of Indonesian and Dutch representatives took place under the chairmanship of Sir Archibald dark Kerr.

But the freedom fight continued and Dutch military aggressions met with stiff resistance from Indonesian troops. The Indonesian Government conducted a diplomatic offensive against the Dutch.

With the good offices of Lord Killearn of Great Britain, Indonesian and Dutch representatives met at Linggarjati in West Java. The negotiations resulted in the de facto recognition by the Dutch of Indonesia's sovereignty over Java. Sumatra and Madura. The Linggarjati Agreement was initiated on November 1946 and signed on March 25,1947.

But the agreement was a violation of Indonesia's independence proclamation of August 17. 1945, which implied sovereignty over the whole territory of the Republic. As such, it met with the widespread disapproval of the people. Hence, guerrilla fighting continued, bringing heavy pressure on Dutch troops.

In July 1947 the Dutch launched a military offensive to reinforce their urban bases and to intensify their attacks on guerrilla strongholds. The offensive was, however, put to end by the signing of the Renville Agreement on January 17, 1948. The negotiation was initiated by India and Australia and took place under the auspices of the UN Security Council.

It was during these critical moments that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) stabbed the newly- proclaimed Republic of Indonesia in the back by declaring the formation of the "Indonesian People's Republic" in Madiun, East Java. Muso led an attempt to overthrow the Government, but this was quickly stamped out and he was killed.

In violation of the Renville agreement, on December 19, 1948, the Dutch launched their second military aggression. They invaded the Republic capital of Yogyakarta, arrested President Soekarno, Vice President Mohammad Hatta and other leaders, and detained them on the island of Bangka, off the east coast of Sumatra. A caretaker Government, with headquarters in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, was set up under Syafruddin Prawiranegara.

On the initiative of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru of India, a meeting of 19 nations was convened in New Delhi that produced a resolution for submission to the United Nations, pressing for total Dutch surrender of sovereignty to the Republic of Indonesia by January 1, 1950. It also pressed for the release of all Indonesian detainees and the return of territories seized during the military actions. On January 28, 1949, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to establish a ceasefire, the release of Republican leaders and their Yogyakarta.

The Dutch, however, were adamant and continued to occupy the city of Yogyakarta by ignoring of the Republican Government and the National Army. They deliberately issued a false statement to the world that the Government and the army of the Republic of Indonesia no longer existed.

To prove that the Dutch claim was a mere fabrication. Lieutenant Colonel Soeharto led an all-out attack on the Dutch troops in Yogyakarta on March 1, 1949, and occupied the city for several hours. This offensive is recorded in Indonesia's history as "the first of March allout attack" to show to the world at the time that the Republic and its military were not dead.

Consequently, on May 7, 1949, an agreement was signed by Mohammad Roem of Indonesia and Van Rooyen of the Netherlands, to end hostilities, restore the Republican Government in Yogyakarta, and to hold further negotiations at a round table conference under the auspices of the United Nations.

World Recognition and Indonesia's Sovereignty

The Round Table conference was opened in the Hague on August 23, 1949, under the auspices of the UN. It was concluded on November 2 with an agreement that Holland was to recognize the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia.

On December 27, 1949 the Dutch East Indies ceased to exist. It now became the sovereign Federal Republic of Indonesia with a federal constitution. The constitution, inter alla, provided for a parliamentary system in which the cabinet was responsible to Parliament.The question of sovereignty over Irian Jaya, formerly West New Guinea, was suspended for further negotiations between Indonesia and the Netherlands. This issue remained a perpetual source of conflict between the two countries for more than 13 years. On September 28, 1950, Indonesia became a member of the United Nations.

The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia On August 17, 1950 the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, as originally proclaimed, was restored. However, the liberal democratic system of government was retained whereby the cabinet would be accountable to the House of Representatives. This was a source of political instability with frequent changes in government. In the absence of a stable government, it was utterly impossible for a newly-independent state to embark on any development program.

With the return of the unitary state, the President once again assumed the duties of Chief Executive and the Mandatary of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly. He is assisted by a VicePresident and a cabinet of his own choosing. The Executive is not responsible to the House of Representatives.

Challenges to the Unitary State

The philosophy behind the Unitary State was that a pluralistic country like Indonesia could only be independent and strong If It was firmly united and integrated. This was obviously the answer to the Dutch colonial practice of divide and rule. Hence, the national motto was "Bhinneka Tunggal lka" as referred to earlier.

However, no sooner was the Unitary State re-established then it had to face numerous armed rebellions. The Darul Islam rebels under Kartosuwiryo terrorized the countryside of West Java in their move to establish an Islamic State. It took years to stamp them out. Then there was the terrorist APRA band of former Dutch army captain Turco Westerling, which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people.

Outside Java, demobilized ex-colonial army men who remained loyal to the Dutch crown, staged a revolt and proclaimed what they called "the Republic of South Maluku".

In South Sulawesi an ex-colonial army officer, Andi Aziz, also rebelled. In Kalimantan lbnu Hadjar led another armed revolt. Sumatra could also account for a number of separatist movements. And, to complete the list, the Indonesian Communist Party again staged an abortive coup under the name of 30th September movement, when they kidnaped and killed six of the country's top army generals in the early hours of October 1, 1965.

The Asian-African Conference

President Soekarno had to his credit the holding of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, West Java, from April 18 to 24, 1955. The initiative was taken by Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The conference was attended by delegates from 24 Asian and African countries. The purpose of the meeting was to promote closer and amiable cooperation in the economic, cultural and political fields. The resolution adopted became known as the "Dasa Sila", or "The Ten Principles," of Bandung. It strived for world peace, respect for one another's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for non-interference in each other's internal affairs. The resolution also sought to uphold the human rights principles of the United Nations.

The Asian-African Conference became the embryo of the Non Aligned Movement. The seeds that sprouted in Bandung took firm root six years later when 25 newly independent countries formally founded the Non-Aligned Movement at the Belgrade Summit of 1961. Since then the membership of the Movement has grown to its present strength of 1 12 member countries.


Over-confident of their strength and precipitated by the serious  illness of President Soekarno, who was undergoing treatment by a Chinese medical team from Beijing, the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) attempted another coup on September 30, 1965. The uprising, however, was abrupt and quickly stamped out by the Armed Forces under Major General Soeharto, then Chief of the Army's Strategic Command.

On the night of September 30, or more precisely in the early hours of October 1, 1965, armed PKI men and members of Cakrabirawa. the President's security guard, set out to kidnap, torture and kill six top Army Generals. Their bodies were dumped in an abandoned well at Lubang Buaya, on the outskirts of Jakarta. The coup was staged in the wake of troop deployments to Kalimantan, at the height of Indonesia's confrontation with Malaysia. Moreover, at the time, many cabinet members were attending a celebration of the Chinese October Revolution in Beijing. It was during this power vacuum that the communists struck again.

Under instructions from General Soeharto, crack troops of the Army's Commando Regiment (RPKAD) freed the central radio station (RRI) and the telecommunication center from communist occupation.

Students made for the streets in militant demonstrations to fight for a three-point claim, or "Tritura," that aimed to ban the PKI, replace Soekarno's cabinet ministers, and reduce the prices of basic necessities. They set up a "street parliament" to gather the demands of the people.

Under these explosive conditions, President Soekarno eventually gave in and granted Soeharto full power to restore order and security in the country. The transfer of power was effected by a presidential order known as "the 11th of March order" of 1966. Soon afterwards, on March 12, 1966, General Soeharto banned the PKI. This decision was endorsed and sanctioned by virtue of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly Decree No XXV/MPRS/1966. He also formed a new cabinet, but Soekarno remained as Chief Executive. This brought dualism into the cabinet, particularly when Soekarno did not show support for the cabinet's program to establish political and economic stability. Hence, a special session of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (MPRS) was convened from March 7-12, 1967. The Assembly resolved to relieve Soekarno of his presidential duties and appointed Soeharto as Acting President, pending the election of a new President by an elected People's Consultative Assembly.

The New Order Government

Ever since taking office in 1967, the New Order Government of President Soeharto was determined to return constitutional life by upholding the 1945 Constitution in a strict and consistent manner and by respecting Pancasila as the state philosophy and ideology.

To emerge from the political and economic legacy of Soekarno's Old Order, the new government set out to undertake the following:

1.  To complete the restoration of order and security and to establish political stability.

2.  To carry out economic rehabilitation.

3.  To prepare a plan for national development and execute it with the emphasis on economic development.

4.  To end confrontation and normalize diplomatic relations with Malaysia.

5.  To rejoin to the United Nations, which Indonesia had quit in January 1965.

6.  To consistently pursue an independent and active foreign policy.

7.  To resolve the West Irian question.

8.  To regain Indonesia's economic credibility overseas.

9.  To hold general elections once every five years.

With regard to Malaysia, not only were relations normalized but Indonesia together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand joined to establish the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On achieving independence in 1984, Brunei Darussalam became the sixth member of ASEAN. In July 1995, Vietnam was accepted as the seventh member of this regional organization. The objective of the association is the establishment of regional cooperation in the economic, social and cultural fields, but ASEAN also operates in the political area.

To prepare for national development, in addition to economic rehabilitation, Indonesia secured an agreement with creditor countries to reschedule an overseas debt of US$5 billion. With the recovery of the country's overseas credibility, Indonesia succeeded in the formation of a consortium of creditor countries to assist in her economic development. This consortium is known as the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI) and includes the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Britain and a number of West-European countries. Its annual meetings are held in Amsterdam under the chairmanship of the Netherlands. Currently, the IGGI has been replaced by the Consultative Group for Indonesia (CGI) consisting of the former members of IGGI (except the Netherlands) and five new creditors.


With the advent of World War II the Japanese ousted both the Dutch and Portuguese from Timor, as well as from the rest of Indonesia. When Japan surrendered to the allied forces in  1945, Indonesians proclaimed the independence of their country which covers the areas of the former Netherlands East Indies. In the mean time. East Timor was returned to the Portuguese by the Allied Forces after the war and the people stayed colonized. They had made several attempts to fight the Portuguese and join Indonesia, but they were suppressed by the colonial regime. Not until 1974 did the Portuguese give them a chance to decide their own political future.

In a statement on May 28, 1974, the Governor of Portuguese Timor, Colonel Fernando Alves Aldela, granted the people permission to form political parties. The response was the emergence of five political parties - UDT (Uniao Democratica Timorese), FRETILIN (Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independent), APODETI (Associacao Popular Democratica de Timor), KOTA (Klibur Oan Timur Aswain) and TRABALHISTA (Labor Party).

Through lack of popular support, FRETILIN resorted to terror tactics, threats and blackmail in an attempt to intimidate members of the other parties. This caused growing tension throughout the colony and sparked an inevitable civil war.

On August 27, 1975, the Governor and other Portuguese officials abandoned the capital of Dili. fled to Atauro Island and left FRETILIN free to continue its reign of terror. FRETILIN was even supplied with arms from the Portuguese army arsenal.

On November 28 of the same year, FRETILIN unilaterally "declared the independence" of East Timor and announced the formation of "the Democratic Republic of East Timor".

In the light of these developments, on November 30, 1975, at Balibo, UDT, APODETI, KOTA and TRABALHISTA proclaimed the independence of the territory and its simultaneous integration with Indonesia. On December 17, 1975, the four parties announced the establishment of the Provisional Government of East Timor in Dili.

On May 31, 1976, the duly elected People's Assembly of East Timor decided in an open session to formally integrate the territory with the Republic of Indonesia. A bill on this integration was approved by the Indonesian House of Representatives on July 15, 1976 and, with the promulgation by the President, became Law on July 17. East Timor has since been the 27'h province of Indonesia with all the rights and duties under the 1945 Constitution of the Republic.

Proposal for a Special Status

The search for solution of the East Timor issue entered a new round after President B.J. Habibie on June 18, 1998 proposed the special status with wide-ranging autonomy to East Timor as the complete formula of solution. This was valued for East Timor as the complete formula of solution and was valued by Secretary General of the United Nations as a positive development which need follow up. For further action, the UN Secretary General held a tripartite dialogue meeting between Indonesian and the Portuguese Foreign Ministers under the auspices of the UN Secretary General in New York on 4-5 August, 1998, to discuss officially the Indonesian proposal.

In that meeting, both countries had agreed to continue discussing the Indonesian proposal at higher official levels without influencing the basic position of both sides. They also agreed that the UN Secretary General would continue consulting with East Timorese prominent leaders and groups living in East Timor and abroad. The consultation was aimed at explaining about the discussion progress on East Timor issue in the Tripartite Dialogue and for a solution. The New York meeting also agreed to open Interest Section in respective capitals on November 27. 1998. namely, Interest Section of Indonesia at the Embassy of Thailand in Lisbon and Interest Section of the Portuguese at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Jakarta. This step was taken to enhance the sense of confidence and understanding each other in order to help smooth visits between both countries.

Concerning the proposal for a Special Status to East Timor, the attitude of Indonesian government has been clearly stated as follows:

a. The Indonesian government is prepared to give special status with wide-ranging autonomy to East Timor as part of the final solution on the East Timor Issue, which is considered fair and acceptable by concerned parties. Therefore, Indonesia agreed to discuss substantive elements of wide-ranging autonomy to East Timor in the Tripartite Dialogue Meeting conducted under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.

b. Indonesia holds the opinion that in view of historical, political. cultural, social and geographical factors as well as condition related to East Timor issue, to give special status with wide-ranging autonomy for East Timor as part of the Republic of Indonesia is tne most  realistic and viable solution for the East Timor issue and it  has the most  peaceful prospects.  On the other hand.  in view of historical couurse, which is full of disturbances and shed of bloodshed. the proposal of referendum for East Timor will only re-open old wounds and  trigger armed-disputes and conflicts and even raise dissension of civil-war.

c. Mentioned autonomy government tor East Timor WTII have extensive freedom to manage its government and people in the political, economic, social, cultural and religious sectors in accordance with East Timorese aspirations, except the aspects of:

(1) external defense:

(2) foreign policy:

(3) monetary and fiscal affairs.

The special status with extensive autonomy will not be practiced unilaterally by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, but it will be realized after it has been discussed and agreed jointly with the Portuguese through the Tripartite Dialogue. It is expected that this effort will be explicitly recognized as the formula of solution for the East Timor issue and will end the conflicts between Indonesia and the Portuguese on the political status of East Timor. In other  words the special status with extensive autonomy becomes the progress of Indonesian attitude and reflects an honest and strong wish of the Indonesian government to solve the East Timor issue by taking middle ground and accommodate certain sides that have been opposing the integration.

The sincerity of the Indonesian government in the effort to seek peaceful solution acceptable by all sides was again performed by the issuance of Decision of Plenary Cabinet Session on January 27, 1999, on what was called "the second option." namely: If the proposal for a special status with wide-ranging autonomy is rejected by the majority of East Timor People, the government will propose an option to the newly elected MPR General Session to separate East Timor from Indonesia peacefully, respectfully and  constitutionally. The Plenary Cabinet Session of May 3, 1999. also ratified the three agreements concerning East Timor, resulted from Tripartite Dialogue:

•  Principal agreement between Indonesia and the Portuguese government. including its annex in the form of constitutional frame of special autonomy for East Timor:

•  Agreement on implementation modality of autonomy ballot for East Timor;

•  Agreement on security arrangement.

This agreement plus its annex was signed by Indonesia and the Portuguese and witnessed by the UN Secretary General.

The government of Indonesia is committed to implement the contents of the signed agreements. In this relation, the outcome of the implementation as well as process of ballot taking by East Timor people will be very much decided by the capability of the Indonesian Armed Forces, especially POLRI (Indonesian Police), in keeping and guaranteeing security and stability, including the safety of the UN personnel in East Timor who are participating in the preparations of the ballot on August 30 to determine whether the population accepts Jakarta's for offer autonomy. The New York Agreement, dated May 5, 1999. contains the truth perception and attitude of the Indonesian policy mentioned that the special status with the wide-ranging autonomy for East Timor is a better and peaceful way to solve the East Timor problems for the sake of East Timorese. the Indonesian people as well as peace and security in the area, which would contribute to world peace as a whole.

The signing of the treaty concerning the special autonomy for East Timor with its two complementary agreements was a historical milestone for the solution of the East Timor problems. That event was the culmination of Indonesian Government's diplomacy efforts to reach solution on international related matters. It also gave directions to East Timor to consider taking ballots of the East Timorese concerning the special autonomy package in accordance with the agreement reached by Tripartite Dialogue.

The Ballot Result

In August 30, 1999. the East Timorese cast their votes in a large peaceful direct ballot. The ballot was conducted by the UNAME (United Mission in East Timor) under the agreement reached by lndonesia and Portugal.

Over 80% of the 451,000 registered voters turned out at pollir booth. Meanwhile those of East Timorese living outside the provini thronged to polling stations across the country, i.e. Yogyakarta Ujungpandang, Surabaya and Denpasar.

The official announcement, made simultaneously on September 1999, in New York, Lisbon and Jakarta. The pro-independence groi won by a landslide of 78.5% against 21.5% grabbed by supporters the integration/autonomy camp. The votes considered valid were 438,968 of the total 446,953 cast votes.

The result of the ballot has shown that the East Timorese haave rejected an offer by the Government for wide-ranging autonomy within Indonesia and from an independent state.

Queuing registration to casting their vote at Odomao, East Timor

After almost two and half decades of conflict, this territory new stands on the threshold of independence one an orderly and peaceful transition period has taken place.

However the violence and rampaged perpetrated by anti independence force as a protest against the outcome of the referendum occurred. It caused the UN personnel evacuated from East Timor, followed by foreign and Indonesian journalist. Meanwhile thousands refugees flee their homes in East Timor.

Indonesia, which under the May 5, 1999 agreement is responsible for the security arrangement in East Timor, has come under strong criticism for its failure to promote peace and order in the run-up and after the ballot.

Considering the high tension of anarchy in East Timor following the announcement of the ballot results and facing the strong international pressure on handling violence in East Timor, President B.J. Habibie announced the Indonesian government's readiness to accept a United Nation peacekeeping force, the International Force for East Timor (Interfet), to the troubled territory. The UN peacekeeping force, coming from friendly nation, would work in cooperation with the Indonesian military (TNI) to restore peace and security in East Timor, to protect the people, and to implement the result of the direct ballot of the 30th of August 1999.


Since the outset of the First Five-Year Development Plan in 1969, Indonesia under the New Order Government of President Soeharto had endeavored to achieve its national development goals. Indonesia, indeed, had been able to achieve substantial progress in various fields which had been enjoyed by the majority of the Indonesian people. Indonesia had gained success in the national development. Unfortunately, economic crisis, which began with the monetary crisis, struck Indonesia as of July 1997.

Since the middle of 1997, the people's standard of living dropped considerably. The decline in the people's standard of living was aggra- vated by various political tensions arising from the 1997 general elections. The political system which had been developed since  1966 turned out to be unable to accommodate the dynamism of the aspirations and interests of the community. This led to riots and distur- bances. To a certain extend, they reflected the malfunctioning of the political order and of the government, finally causing this situation to develop into a political crisis.

A number of student demonstrations ensued, including the occupation of the People's Consultative Assembly/House of People's Rep- resentatives compound. They appealed for political and economic reform; demanded President Soeharto to step down and stamp out cor- ruption, collusion and nepotism. Critical moments prevailed in the capital, Jakarta, and other towns from 12 to 21 May 1998.

On 12 May a tragedy happened in the Trisakti University Campus, causing the death of four students. On 18 May the leadership of the House suggested the President resign. The President's effort to accommodate the developing aspirations of the people by forming a re- form cabinet and a reform committee never materialized as there was no adequate support from various circles.

Finally, on 21 May 1998, , President Soeharto, after a 32-year rule of the New Order Government resigned. Pursuant to Article 8 of the 1945 Constitution and the People's Consultative Assembly decree no VII/1973, he handed over the country's leadership to  Vice-President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie. After the announcement. Habibie took his oath of office before Chief Justice Sarwata to ecome Indonesia's third President. Earlier President Soeharto disbanded the cabinet which he formed shortly after his reelection for a seventh five-year presidential term in March.

A day after his installment as the third president, Habibie formed the Reform Development Cabinet. He picked the ministers from the various political and social forces, including three politicians from the two minority parties, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI). to provide the needed synergy.

President B.J. Habibie outlined the agenda for reform during his presidency as follows:

1.  rooting out corruption, collusion and nepotism, and create a clean government.

2.  reviewing the five political laws upon which the current political system is bound. They are the laws on mass organization, the House of Representatives (DPR), the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), political parties, regional administrations and elections.

3.  implementing sweeping reform in all sectors, including in the political, economic, and legal fields, to enable the government to satisfy mounting demands for a strong and clean government.

4.  boosting output from the agriculture, agribusiness, exportoriented industry and tourism sectors.

5.  safeguarding the implementation of the 1998/99 state budget

6.  accelerating the bank restructuring program

7.  resolving the problem of corporate foreign debts.

8.  conducting a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in November 1998, followed by General Elections on May 1999.


The first and only general election ever held during the rule of the Old Order took place in 1955. Even that election did not produce a strong cabinet with a solid back-up in Parliament. On the contrary, because political conditions continued to deteriorate, the President ordered the formation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. However, as mentioned earlier, this only ended in a total deadlock which led the president to take all the power of the state into his own hands under the pretext of guided democracy.

Since the birth of the New Order in 1966 seven General Elections had been held, namely in 1971, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997 and the last general election was held in June 7, 1999.

Indonesians vote for representatives at three levels: the House of Representatives (DPR), the provincial assemblies (DPRD-I) and regency  assemblies (DPRD-II). Every citizens of Indonesia has the right to cast his/her vote in the election.

Political parties in Indonesia were simplified in 1973. Since that time until the general election of 1997, there were two political parties, the United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan) and the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), plus the Functional Group (Golkar). Golkar emerged as the winning party at every election ever held during the New Order Government.

Indonesia's eight general election held in June 7, 1999 was the first general election in the Reform Order Cabinet under the President B.J. Habibie administration. Forty-eight (48) political parties contested the election, under the observation of both domestic and international observers and great coverage of a free press. It was noted as the most democratic and transparent general election in Indonesia. People were to choose 462 legislators from at least 10,500 candidates from 48 political parties to represent them at the 500-member House Representatives. The remaining 38 seats have been allocated to the military, whose members have relinquished their rights to vote.

The result of 1999 General Election are: Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-Perjuangan) on top of the list followed by its four  contenders: the Golkar Party, the National Awakening Part) fPKB). the United Development Party fPPP) and the National Mandate (PKB), the United Development Party (PPP) a Party (PAN).

Law No. 3 of 1999 on General Election

Based on MPR Decree No. XIV/MPR/1998 concerning Amen ment and Supplement of MPR Decree No. 111/MPR/1998 on Gener Elections, a general election is held democratically and transparently based on the principle of being just, fair, direct, general, free, and secret.

Law No .3 of 1999 stipulates the aim of general election is to elect people to sit in the people's consultative institution/ representations, to form a government, to continue the struggle to fill up the ideals of independence, and to maintain the integrity the state of the Republic of Indonesia. The system of election is a proportional system based on the list mechanism.

The number of DPR seats in each electoral region is decided on the basis on the number of population in the first level region, wi the stipulation that each second level region will get at least one se. Then the number of DPR seats in each electoral region is decided the General Election Commission (KPU).

The number of seats in a Provincial Legislative Assembly (DPRD is a minimum of 45 and a maximum of 100 depending upon the number of population in the first level region (province). Then, each second level region (district or municipality) will get at least one DPRD-I seat.

The number of DPRD-II (District or Municipality Assembly) seats is a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 45, depending on the number of population in the second level region. Every sub-district will get at lest one DPRD-II seat.

General Elections are implemented by the independent General Election Commission (KPU), consisting of political parties participating in the General Election and government representatives who responsible to the President. The working period of the electoral committee (KPU) for the 1999 General Election will end one year before the 2004 General Election.

To control General Elections implementation, the Supervisory Committee is established at Central. Provincial. District/Regency and Subdistrict level. The composition of the Supervisory Committee is determined by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the Central Level, the Chairman of Provincial Court of Appeals for the First Level.the Chief Judge of the District Court for the Second and Subdistrict Levels.

Domestic and foreign monitoring institutes should register with the KPU. Some of monitoring institutes: University Network for a Free and Fair Election (UNFREL). Rector Forum, European Union Carter Center, National Assembly for Monitoring Free and Fair Election/NAMFREL (the Philippines). The relationship and organization among the monitoring bodies and KPU as well as the Organizing Committees from the Central Level down to the Polling Stations (TPS). is further regulated by the Supreme Court in coordination with KPU.


The 1999 General session of the People's consultative Assembly (MPR) was held in two stages. October 1-3 and October 14-21. The Assembly commenced its activities with inauguration of new members, establishment of factions, election of its speaker, and formation of the executive committee. 

During the Plenary Session, the MPR established 11 (eleven) factions, namely those of the Love the nation Democratic Party (F-PDKB), the Indonesian Military and National Police (F-TNI/POLRI), the National Awakening Party (F-PDKB), the Interest Group (F-UG). the Golkar Party of Reform (F-PG), Reformation (F-Reform), the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (F-PDIP), the Crescent Moon and Star (F-BB), Indonesian Nationhood, United people's Sovereignty (F-PDU) and United Development (F-PP) In this first stage the Session elected Amin Rais (chairman of National Mandate Party) as Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly 1999-2004 and installed seven deputy speakers who are H. Matory Abduidjalil (F-PKB), Hari Sabarno (F-TNI/POLRI), Ginanjar Kartasasmita (F-PG), Kwik Klan Gie (F-PDIP), Nazri Adiani (F-UG), HusniThamrin (F-PP), and JusufAmir Feisal (F-BB).

At the conclusion of its session, on October 20 and 21, the People's consultative Assembly elected the President and vice-president of the Republic of Indonesia for the period of 1999-2004.

Prior to this important task, the session reviewed the accountability address of the outgoing President Habibie which was delivered before the Assembly on October 14.

In his address Habibie listed the release of political prisoners and a freedom of expression for the people and the press as stronger macroeconomic indicators of his achievement during his leadership. Yet, the report failed to mention the failings that dogged his administration.  Habibie was given the chance to respond to his critics, but his last effort failed to appease the majority of the Assembly. The accountability address was rejected and Habibie withdrew from his presidential nomination as a candidate from Golkar Party.

Until shortly before the presidential election there were four candidates for presidency: Megawati Soekarnoputri of Indonesia democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP). Abdurrahman Wahid who was nomi-nated by the so called "Axis Force' (alliance of Moslem-based parties and the National Mandate Party). Akbar Tandjung Golkar Party chairman and Yusril lhza Mahendra Crescent moon and Star Party chairman. Yet. before the start of balloting Akbar Tandjung and Yusril  lhxa  Mahendra  withdrew  from  their  nomination.  With  only  two candidates remaining, the Assembly split its support for Megawati and Abdurrahman Wahid.

KH. Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur indisputably became Indonesia's fourth President when he secured 373 votes out of  the total 691. With five abstentions Megawati obtained 313 votes.The newly elected 59 year old President, and internationally acclaimed moderate Moslem leader, is one of the National Awakening Party founders. He started his political career when in 1984 he was elected chairman of the Nahdiatui Ulama Islamic Organization.

The Vice-presidential election which took place on the last day of the session listed four candidates. Megawati Soekarnoputri, Hamzah Haz United Development Party (PP) chairman. Akbar Tandjung Golkar Party Chairman and Gen. Wiranto Indonesian Military (TNI) chief. Shortly before the balloting. Akbar Tanjung and Wiranto dropped out of the race. After a dramatic counting of votes Megawati Soekarnoputri came out as the country's eighth vice-president with 396 votes of a total 685. There were five abstentions, thus Hamzah Haz obtained 284.

Born in Jakarta on January 23, 1947, Dyah Permata Megawati Setyawati Soekarnoputri, the second child of Indonesia's first president Soekarno, plunged into a political career late in life. she joined the government-controlled PDI (Indonesian Democracy Party) in 1987. Eventually PDI split into two groups. Megawati's and Suryadi's which was the part favored by the authority of the new order. In 1997. Megawati's PDI group was barred from taking part in the general election. However, the downfall of the Soeharto regime in May 1998 allowed Megawati to consolidate her political power. She formed her own party, PDI Perjuangan. which is totally different from the government-backed PDI party. PDI Perjuangan garnered the most votes in the general election in June, but with 35% of the tally of the vote it was not enough to clinch her the coveted presidency.

Aside from the elections of Indonesia's President and vice-president. the assembly, based on article 37 of the 1945 constitution. amended Article 5 clause (1), article 7, article 9, article 13 clause (2), article 14, article 15, article 17 clause (2) and (3), Article 20 and Article 21 of the 1945 constitution.

In the meantime, the House of People's Representatives has elected Akbar Tandjung chairman of the House with four deputies, namely Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno, Hamzah Haz, Khofifah Indar Parawansa and AM. Fatwa. The House of Representatives also endorsed the job description of its 500 members who are grouped to work in nine commission:

Commission I on Defense, Security, and Foreign Affair;
Commission II on Law and Home Affairs
Commission III on Agriculture and Food
Commission IV on Transportation and Infrastructure
Commission V on Industry and Trade
Commission VI on Religion and Human Resources
Commission VII on Population and Welfare
Commission VIII on Mining and Energy
Commission IX on Finance and Development Planning

The General Session adopted nine decrees:

1. Decree No. 1/MPR/1999 concerning the Fifth amendment of the Decree No. 1/MPR/1983 on the Assembly's internal rules. The new decree stipulates that the Assembly leadership comprise one speaker and a maximum of seven deputies who represent the political party factions that meets electoral threshold, Armed Forces/National police, and the various interest groups.

2. Decree No. 11/MPR/1999 on MPR Internal rules include the tasks of the Assembly's speaker and working committee, member's immunity, decision making process, constitution amendment, the broad outlines of the State policy (GBHN) and the President's accountability report.

3. Decree No. 111/MPR/1999 on the Accountability of Indonesial President Prof. Dr. Ing. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie stipulate; that Habibie's accountability address before the I 1th Plenary Session on October 17, 1999 was rejected by the Assembly.

4. Decree No. IV/MPR/1999 on the Broad Outlines of the State Policy (GBHN) for the period of 1999-2004 consist of: Introduction General Condition, Vision and Mission, Policy implementation and Closing.

5. Decree No.V/MPR/999 concerning East Timor Balloting. The MPI endorses the result of the August 30 self-determination ballotin, and relinquish East Timor after 23 years integration with Indonesia.

6. Decree No.VI/MPR/1999 regulates the nomination and election of the President and vice-president. The next president/Vice President should win the support of the majority of the people, are not involved in banned organizations, are not serving a jail sentence are mentally healthy, and have the vision to maintain the nation's unity.

7. Decree no. VIII/MPR/1999 stipulates the designation of K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid as president of the Republic of Indonesia for the five year period of 1999-2004.

8. Decree No. VII/MPR/1999 stipulates the designation of Megawati Soekarnoputri as vice-president of the Republic of Indonesia for the five year period of 1999-2004.

9.  Decree no. IX/MPR/1999 assigns the MPR Working Committee to continue the amendment of the 1945 of Constitution.

K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid, President of the Republic of Indonesia and Megawati Soekarnoputri, Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia



| R e s e r v e | R e s e r v e | R e s e r v e |

Copyright © 1996 - 2003