ASIET News Updates - Wednesday July 12, 2001
* 100 students attack parliament complex
* Gus Dur criticizes House conclusion on shootings
* Gus Dur `will resort to backdoor dealing'
* Marsillam appointed as new Attorney General
* PDI-P to convene its own meeting of party leaders
* MPR to hold security coordination meeting
* Indonesia names Wahid foe as a suspect in graft scandal
* Cops need more money for special session
* Rift widening between Megawati and sister, says analyst
* US hopes to restore modest ties with TNI
* UNTAET chief chief warns of election problems
* UN says militia still intimidating refugees in West Timor
* Horta regrets two parties did not sign National Unity Pact
* Fretilin opens festive congress, sorrows for past ´excesses´
* Twelve dead in Aceh, new attack reported in ExxonMobil area
100 students attack parliament complex
Detik - July 9, 2001
aryadi/HD, Jakarta -- In rejection to Trisakti-Semanggi House
special committee's recommendation to bring the case into
military's court not into Human Rights court, around 100 students
are attacking the parliament complex this Monday.
They are coming from various elements namely Alliance for State's
Violence Victim (AKKRA), City Forum (Forkot), Student of Trisakti
Action Front (KAMTRI), City Front and FPPI. They came to
parliament building by two metro minibus, one kopaja bus and one
pick up car with full of soundsystem.
Those demonstrators regretted to special committee's decicion for
not recommending Trisakti case to Human Rights' court. They
judged the recommendation as the Human Rights and Law abuse. They
then call on the people to issue vote of no confidence to the
parliament and judged them to have taken to New Order's side.
Gus Dur criticizes House conclusion on shootings
Jakarta Post - July 11, 2001
akarta -- President Abdurrahman Wahid shared the public's
disappointment on Tuesday over the conclusions of the House of
Representatives (DPR) on the Trisakti and Semanggi fatal shooting
incidents in which 30 youths, mostly students, were killed.
The House's conclusion that the incidents were merely an
"ordinary human rights violation" was a politically motivated
finding, presidential chief spokesman Wimar Witoelar quoted the
President as saying.
"The cases could not be described as pure crimes. It is proper to
suspect there is a political dimension behind the incidents,"
Wimar quoted the President as saying during a media briefing at
Bina Graha presidential office.
The President also noted the incident at the House on Monday
where Sumarsih, mother of a victim of the first Semanggi killing
in 1998, threw eggs at the members of the special committee after
the closing of the House's plenary session that heard the
"The President is concerned with the result of the committee of
Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II and the throwing of eggs by
Ibu Sumarsih," the spokesman of the President said.
Relatives of the victims, students and human rights activists,
were outraged when the House failed on Monday to satisfy their
demands to declare the three incidents gross human rights
violations and to establish an ad hoc court to prosecute the
suspects in the incidents. They also protested the committee's
recommendation to try the civilian suspects at the district
court, and military officer suspects at a military tribunal.
In May 1998, riot police allegedly shot dead four Trisakti
students during a peaceful demonstration around the university
compound. The killings triggered nationwide protests and forced
president Soeharto to end his 32-year rule.
Under then president B.J. Habibie's administration, security
members also killed 16 people at the Semanggi cloverleaf in
October 1998. One month before Abdurrahman's election as
president in October 1999, 10 others were killed during a
demonstration against Habibie.
Habibie declared the four Trisakti students reform heroes but did
little to find their killers. Former military chief Gen. (ret.)
Wiranto protested his innocence in the three tragedies.
"Hopefully our struggles to defend human rights will not perish
[with the committee's finding]," Wimar quoted Abdurrahman as
Separately, Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of
Violence (Kontras) secretary Usman Hamid deplored the House's
conclusion and described it as a victory for the military and the
police in covering up their past crimes against humanity.
Usman also said the House had betrayed the decree of the People's
Consultative Assembly that mandated the enforcement of law and
protection of human rights. "The DPR has become the political
whipping boy of TNI and the police by completely ignoring
people's demands for justice," said Usman.
Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) chairman
Hendardi, also blasted the conclusions on the three fatal
incidents. "They [the legislators] deserve to be called the
preservers of impunity who perpetuate the policies of the New
Order in protecting violators of the law," Hendardi said in a
Gus Dur `will resort to backdoor dealing'
Straits Times - July 11, 2001
evi Asmarani, Jakarta -- Political compromise, intimidation,
constitutional deadlock and a divide-and-rule approach to weaken
his enemies are some of the options that Mr Abdurrahman Wahid
would likely turn to, so as to prevent the People's Consultative
Assembly from impeaching him in August.
Political observers have already dismissed as ineffective his
threat to impose martial law if no compromise is reached by July
20. Aside from lacking military support, it would only fuel
Parliament's efforts to expedite the general session to impeach
Instead, Mr Abdurrahman would likely continue backdoor dealings
with his political opponents. Said Mr Kusnanto Anggoro of the
Centre for Strategic Information Studies: "The political elites
are very inconsistent, they change their stance easily."
The President's team of lobbyists, which includes some of his
Cabinet ministers, have been working to negotiate with leaders of
major political parties to convince them to drop their plan to
If reconciliation appears distant, he could go for political
intimidation by prosecuting politicians on alleged graft charges.
The Attorney-General's office is already probing several MPs --
including House speaker Akbar Tandjung and Indonesian Democratic
Party-Struggle's Arifin Panigoro.
The move seemed to have softened Mr Akbar, Golkar Party's
chairman, who said recently there was no need to speed up a
special session to hold impeachment hearings.
Mr Abdurrahman could also take advantage of the constitutional
deadlock over procedural matters in the special session. He had
argued that the Assembly could not make him give accountability
reports during the session as it was unconstitutional.
Ridep think-tank's Mr Sudjati Djiwandono said: "It is true that
the Constitution says the President only gives accountability
reports at the end of his term."
Political observers also noted that Mr Abdurrahman had managed to
create internal rifts in some of the institutions that had shown
declining support for him. His move to sack defiant Police Chief
General Suroyo Bimantoro has fuelled a split within the police
force between those who supported the general's leadership and
those who thought the President's order should be complied with.
Within the military, the President has fuelled rifts between top
officers who support him and those who oppose his move to meddle
in its internal affairs.
But in the end, money politics "may play an important role in his
last-ditch efforts to survive the presidency," said Mr Kusnanto.
If the Assembly votes in secret rather than openly on whether to
accept his report at the August session, some politicians from
rival parties could swing their vote for his camp, he said.
Marsillam appointed as new Attorney General
Jakarta Post - July 11, 2001
akarta -- President Abdurrahman Wahid appointed on Tuesday his
old friend and current Minister of Justice and Human Rights
Marsillam Simanjuntak as the new attorney general to replace the
late Baharuddin Lopa.
Presidential spokesman Wimar Witoelar who made the official
announcement also said Minister of Defense Mahfud MD would take
over from Marsillam at the Ministry of Justice while the defense
portfolio would be handled by Coordinating Minister for
Political, Social and Security Affairs Gen. [ret.] Agum Gumelar.
"The President believes this (reshuffle) will receive a positive
public response," Wimar said. However the President has not
signed the decrees on their appointments.
According to Wimar, Marsillam and Mahfud will need several days
to settle things at their current posts before taking up their
new roles. Wimar further disclosed that the President wanted to
allow acting Attorney General Soeparman to complete his
investigation of major corruption cases and other duties.
No date has been set for the swearing-in-ceremonies, however it
is expected to take place within 10 days. Wimar hinted that the
transfer of duties would take place before the start of the
People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) special session on August 1.
It has been a case of musical chairs for Marsillam who is known
as a former neighbor and long-time friend of the President.
Abdurrahman recruited Marsillam as Cabinet secretary in January
2000. In June he replaced Lopa at the Ministry of Justice
following Lopa's appointment as attorney general. Lopa died last
week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Abdurrahman and Marsillam have been friends since they were
neighbors in Matraman, East Jakarta. In 1991, they established
the Forum of Democracy along with other prodemocracy activists.
The forum was one of the few organizations that dared to speak
out against the Soeharto regime during the 1990s.
Born in Yogyakarta in 1943, Marsillam, a medical doctor by
training, is no novice to politics or the law. He took part in
the massive student protests that led to the downfall of
president Sukarno in 1966, and received his political tutelage
mostly from former leaders of the Indonesian Socialist Party
(PSI), which Sukarno banned in 1960.
He later studied law at the University of Indonesia. In his
thesis, he said he found traits of neofacism in the 1945
Constitution. He also read Hegel at Berkeley University,
Meanwhile, leading human rights lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis has
been "in hiding" in Australia these last few days to duck an
offer from Abdurrahman to serve in the Cabinet, friends said.
Todung, a close friend of the President, had been mentioned as
one of the chief candidates for the attorney general post. Until
Marsilam's appointment on Tuesday, his cellphone was disconnected
or he was simply not taking any calls, according to a close
Lopa's death has been particularly untimely for the President who
is desperately trying to win over public support with high
profile corruption cases.
Commenting on his new post, Marsillam said "it is not bad that
the public have great expectations, not only of me but of anyone
becoming attorney general." "Yes it will be tough," he replied on
his task ahead.
Separately, Mahfud said he was ready to accept the post, although
he preferred to leave the Ministry of Defense after completing
the new defense bill. The new bill is very strategic as, if
passed, it would abolish the role of the military in politics.
When asked about his new mission, Mahfud said he would prioritize
the eradication of corruption, collusion and nepotism. "My target
is to clean up the conduct of judges ... especially judges who
are working in big cities," Mahfud remarked.
Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri has refused to comment on
the latest changes. "Ibu Megawati was not consulted ... but it's
the President's right to choose ministers," Indonesian Democratic
Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) deputy secretary general
Agnita Singadikane Irsal told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
"She's concentrating on her daily duties in the government and is
less bothered with the Cabinet changes than with how the Cabinet
can help her in running her daily duties," Agnita remarked.
PDI-P to convene its own meeting of party leaders
Jakarta Post - July 11, 2001
akarta -- Officials from the Indonesian Democratic Party of
Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) said on Tuesday they would convene a
meeting of political party leaders, with July 15 identified as
the most likely date.
PDI Perjuangan Secretary General Soetjipto claimed that all
political party leaders had stated their willingness to attend
the planned meeting.
"The meeting will be held around July 15, and its purpose is to
create a sense of togetherness between political parties ahead of
the special session," Soetjipto said, referring to the People's
Consultative Assembly special session set to start on August 1.
The latest announcement comes on the heels of a similarly planned
gathering of political leaders hosted by President Abdurrahman
Wahid on Monday.
But Abdurrahman's meeting was a dismal failure, as only National
Awakening Party chairman Matori Abdul Djalil arrived at Bogor
Palace to attend it.
Political consultations and dialog have heated up in the past few
weeks as the special session draws near. Abdurrahman has warned
that if the special session goes ahead with its intention to seek
a presidential accountability, he would declare a state of
emergency and dissolve the legislature.
If a political compromise is not found in the coming three weeks,
the special session could see the end of Abdurrahman's
administration, with Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri next
in line to take up the presidency.
But aides close to Megawati revealed that the PDI Perjuangan
chairwoman herself might not attend the meeting of political
leaders convened by her party. The aide said it was important to
avoid a public misperception that she might be compromised and
politically indebted to other parties, should she assume the
presidency a few weeks later.
"Ibu Megawati is also the Vice President, so it would be
inappropriate for her to come to such meeting. However, the
possibility of holding it is still open," the party's deputy
secretary general Agnita Singadikane Irsal told The Jakarta Post.
She further contended that it was important for Megawati to
preserve her public image and maintain political stability in the
country, thus it would be difficult for her to come to the
meeting of political party leaders.
Meanwhile, PDI Perjuangan deputy chairman Mangara Siahaan said
that the main items on the agenda of the meeting would likely be
power-sharing between the political parties and also the
selection of possible candidates for the vice presidential seat.
"There is an intention to start talking about power-sharing ahead
of the special session," Mangara told journalists after the
party's weekly meeting.
However, he refused to say if the meeting was also designed to
cement support for Megawati's ascent. "It is up to the political
party leaders whether they want to support Megawati or not," he
He also announced that the party would convene a national working
meeting for three days, starting on Thursday in the capital. "The
working meeting would be to discuss the party's stance at the
coming special session and to brief all branches across the
country on anticipatory steps to be taken after the special
session," Mangara said.
He further underlined that the meeting would stress the
importance of maintaining solidarity during the special session.
"I can assure you, if it concerns Megawati becoming president,
none of the party's members will reject that, because it was the
outcome of our congresses in Bali and Semarang that Megawati be
our candidate for the presidency," Mangara remarked.
MPR to hold security coordination meeting
Jakarta Post - July 11, 2001
akarta -- The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) will hold a
security coordination meeting on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the
August 1 special session, Assembly Speaker Amien Rais said on
Amien said that the meeting, slated to take place at 2 p.m. on
Wednesday, would involve Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Adm.
Widodo A.S., National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro, Jakarta
Police chief Insp. Gen. Sofjan Jacoeb and Jakarta Military
commander Maj. Gen. Bibit Waluyo.
"... All of us will meet tomorrow to discuss security
arrangements 19 days ahead of the special session," Amien said
after a session with the MPR working committee (BP MPR) as quoted
Amien said that both the MPR and the House of Representatives
(DPR) still recognized Gen. Surojo Bimantoro as the National
Police chief. "As the appointment of the new National Police
chief has yet to be approved by the MPR ... we still consider him
(Gen. Surojo Bimantoro) as the National Police chief," Amien
Amien said there was no specific agenda for the BP MPR's Tuesday
meeting. "If there is an urgent situation, BP MPR will convene to
decide whether it is necessary to accelerate the special
session," Amien said.
Indonesia names Wahid foe as a suspect in graft scandal
Reuters - July 10, 2001
akarta -- Indonesia has named one of President Abdurrahman
Wahid's fiercest political opponents, Arifin Panigoro, as a
suspect in a corruption investigation, an official from the
attorney-general's office said on Tuesday.
Panigoro is leader of the Indonesian Democratic-Struggle's (PDI-
P) parliamentary faction and has been a key figure behind efforts
to oust Wahid.
Last month, the attorney-general's office began investigating him
over graft allegations relating to a subsidiary of his oil
company Medco and a state-owned financial firm. "This evening,
Arifin Panigoro has been named as a suspect in a case of abuse of
funds ..," attorney-general's office spokesman Mulyohardjo told
Panigoro, who has denied any wrongdoing, was not available for
comment but an aide told Reuters authorities had not yet notified
him that he was officially a suspect.
PDI-P, the country's largest party headed by Wahid's increasingly
estranged deputy Megawati Sukarnoputri, has been instrumental in
pushing for a special session of the People's Consultative
Assembly (MPR) to hold impeachment hearings against Wahid over
two financial scandals and his chaotic 20-month rule.
Prosecutors from the attorney-general's office are also
investigating another Wahid foe, parliament speaker Akbar
Tandjung, over another graft case.
Tandjung, head of the country's second largest and former ruling
Golkar party, has been linked to a graft case involving alleged
misuses of state funds by his party. Tandjung has also denied
Cops need more money for special session
Straits Times - July 11, 2001
akarta -- Jakarta's police force will need an additional 6
billion rupiah (S$1.1 million) to put in place an "all-out"
security plan ahead of the People's Consultative Assembly special
session. City police chief Inspector-General Sofjan Yacob said on
Monday that the funds already provided by the city administration
would not be enough to cover the costs of securing the session.
He noted: "An all-out security plan requires at least 25,000
security personnel ... This is not counting police informants, to
be put on full alert."
Mr Sofjan said this after a meeting on security issues with top
officials, including Jakarta military commander Major-General
Bibit Waluyo and Governor Sutiyoso.
Rift widening between Megawati and sister, says analyst
Straits Times - July 11, 2001
ondon -- The situation within the Sukarno family is
deteriorating with a clear split between the sisters widening and
"becoming more serious now", political analyst Hermawan Sulistyo
He told the BBC's East Asia Today programme that more critical
segments of Indonesian society had tried to get Ms Rachmawati
Sukarnoputri "into their camps" against her sister, Vice-
President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Mr Hermawan said on the
programme on Monday that "to some degree, they"ve succeeded".
Explaining the reasons for what he saw as the estrangement
between the two sisters, he said: "In the eyes of Rachmawati,
Megawati is only the biological daughter of her father, while she
is the real ideological daughter."
He said the country's founding President Sukarno often took a
young Ms Rachmawati to political meetings and events, and trained
her in politics. "So the President wanted Rachmawati rather than
Megawati to be the politician," he said.
The rift between the two has been apparent ever since Ms
Rachmawati refused to be involved in Ms Megawati's Indonesian
Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P). It came under the media
spotlight recently during a rally in East Java marking the 100th
anniversary of Mr Sukarno's birth. There, in front of Ms
Megawati, President Abdurrahman Wahid, top political leaders and
thousands of people, Ms Rachmawati launched what was seen as a
stinging atack on her older sister.
She warned that vital issues such as nation-building were being
ignored while the country's Parliament had launched what she
described as a coup d'etat -- a reference to the efforts to
remove Mr Abdurrahman as President.
The BBC said that in recent months, Mr Abdurrahman had tried to
woo Ms Rachmawati to his side in an effort to sow doubts and
create divisions within the PDI-P over the planned impeachment of
the President next month.
US hopes to restore modest ties with TNI
Straits Times - July 9, 2001
ee Siew Hua, Washington -- US President George W. Bush's
administration is seeking congressional support to restore a
modest level of contact with the Indonesian military, as part of
its overall policy review of a nation important to Asian
The proposals are "quite modest", Mr Tim Rieser, foreign-policy
aide to Senator Patrick Leahy told The Straits Times.
Officials have made the case to Congress in recent briefings that
the US wants to keep certain channels open to Indonesia's armed
forces (TNI) -- viewed as a unifying national institution amid
the country's tumult -- without resuming full contact.
They said the US would conduct only non-lethal training, and
observed that the US had cut off even minimal contacts that were
of value. An example would be training for humanitarian missions.
Mr Ralph "Skip" Boyce, who will become the US' next ambassador to
Jakarta, has assured members of Congress that he will personally
vet every Indonesian participant in future bilateral contacts, to
make sure they have not been involved in atrocities, or condoned
In particular, Senator Leahy's views will influence any move
towards better ties with TNI. He sponsored the 1999 Leahy
Amendment, which banned US military sales and training to
Indonesia until the armed forces enact reforms -- including
holding accountable those military elements involved in East
Mr Rieser said the senator did not view contact with the TNI as a
bad move, depending on the nature of the message that the
administration would send. He said: "The message, as I understand
it, is that we will have these contacts to support reform of the
Indonesian military. If the military is not willing to reform,
then these contacts would end."
One official emphasised to The Straits Times that there had not
been regular, close relations with the TNI for some time, and
that a fuller resumption of ties was not anticipated soon.
However, there have been fresh discussions within the US
administration at the Deputy Secretary level. US officials have
also visited Capitol Hill to discuss the appropriate level of
contact with the TNI, while keeping in mind that the Leahy
Amendment circumscribes contact. They do not want to signal
wrongly that it is business as usual with the armed forces.
An Indonesian diplomat was pleased with the discussions stirring
in Washington. He said: "As long as people are deliberating, then
there can be progress. The problem is not only between Indonesia
and the US, but also between groups in the US.
"Meanwhile, let's have cooperation on things that are not too
controversial, like training the police, or having Indonesian
observers at exercises. That will serve as a step-by-step
normalisation of full cooperation."
The Council on Foreign Relations is releasing a report on US
policy towards South-east Asia. It concludes: "The US must cease
hectoring Jakarta and instead do its utmost to help stabilise
Indonesia's democracy and its economy, as well as re-engage with
Council member Robert Manning told The Straits Times: "With
separatist activities going on, the military seems, by default,
to be the most important political element." The US has more
chance to influence Indonesia, and the outlook for Asian
stability, if there was more dialogue, he said.
UNTAET chief chief warns of election problems
Lusa - July 10, 2001
he head of the UN transition administration in East Timor
(UNTAET) warned Tuesday of problems that may threaten the
territory`s August 30 constituent assembly elections.
"The biggest dangers for the election are ignorance,
disinformation and the resulting confusion", Sergio Vieira de
Mello said during an election awareness campaign stop in Gleno,
52 kms southwest of Dili. Another danger is "manipulation of the
population by a minority that wants to upset democracy in East
Timor, that does not want an independent East Timor", he said, in
a reference to the CPD-RDTL radical group, which he did not
Set up by dissidents of the historic pro-independence party
Fretilin, the CPD-RDTL (People`s Defense Council of the
Democratic Republic of East Timor) has been accused of seeking to
block the election preparation process by intimidating residents
in isolated areas.
However, queried shorlty afterwards during an election awareness
session attended by about 1,000 people, Vieira de Mello dropped
the veiled references and openly criticized the group. "The CPD-
RDTL are a group of instigators and professional agitators, sold
to another cause, which is not the Timorese cause, and who
represent nothing numerically", he said.
"The CPD-RDTL now has an ultra-nationalist stance. But in August
1999 it called for East Timorese to vote for autonomy [within
Indonesia]", the Brazilian UN diplomat charged, before urging
local residents to help authorities "neutralize small groups that
remain committed to disrupting the democratic process and have
nothing to offer the population".