“DIRTY BUSINESS IN REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA PROFILES”
How the TNI came to fell the forest: the Liem Siew Liong – Tiong family connection. In the early days of the Indonesian Revolution, founding independence leader Sukarno (who was assisted by the Japanese occupiers to resist the Dutch during the closing days of the Pacific War) encouraged the Communist forerunners of the Partai Kommunis Indonesia to become a part of the nationalist revolutionary movement. After Independence In 1948 when the PKI was officially formed and recognised, Bapaknya (father of) Prabowo2, the father of the former head of Kopassus and son-in-law of General Suharto, Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto, was the leader of the group that opposed the recognition of the communists as being “UnIslamic”. He took an fundamentalist “Islamic” approach on the basis that an alliance with communism would threaten all religious beliefs. In contrast, Sukarno was very pragmatic in all of his principles and would encourage whoever would make the country more unified in his image, and under his command. It was not until the mid 1950s that Sukarno started to play with the communists to gain their support to attempt a takeover of the still Dutch controlled West Papua. In response to this, Bapaknya Prabowo with other Islamic nationalists, some of whom went 1 This is by no means a complete history. Indeed, such a history fills many books, but it is just a summary of the connections that entwine the TNI to the Tiongs. More information can be found in any history of the Darul Islam movements. 2 Unfortunately the author does not know the correct spelling of his name so is referring to him as Bapaknya.
on to launch the initial Darul Islam rebellion3, condemned Sukarno’s position in courting communists
for the perceived “liberation” of Papua from the Dutch. A large proportion of those opposing went on
to initiate the Darul Islam armed movement for the creation of the Islamic State of Indonesia.
These DI rebels formed PERMESTA in Sulawesi, and the PRRI (Pemerintah Revolusioner Republik
Indonesia or Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia) in Sumatra. At the time the
commander of the PRRI was a Batak Mandalin Muslim named Colonel Simbolen, the father of the
previous General in charge of West Papua Mahidin Simbolen.
At this time, Bapaknya Prabowo fled to Malaysia, where he was was housed and sheltered by
the father of the Tiong family of Rimbunan infamy throughout his exile. Prabowo Subianto was born
in Malaysia during his father’s exile.
Sukarno issued a general amnesty to all DI fighters who had just received a covert CIA
shipment (via the 7th Fleet) of 15,000 of US weapons. Several commands of DI took up the
amnesty, including Colonel Simbolen who went on to become one of the most ‘distinguished”
Indonesian families. Bapaknya Prabowo did not accept Sukarno’s amnesty as he was highly
suspicious of Sukarno’s courting of Russian and Chinese communist assistance in Sukarno’s high
stakes game with the West to get his way (especially over West Papua). Many hardcore DI people
saw this as a threat to Islam, which was heavily exploited by the US and their CIA. In this alliance,
Bapaknya Prabowo was advising the CIA on who was most likely to lead pro-West regime, and also
infamously assisted in the drawing up of the assassination lists which turned Indonesia into a land of
Given this Sukarno suspected that General Haris Nasution, the supreme commander of
KOSTRAD, was behind DI. Nasution was the founder of the elite unit RPKD (Regimen Para
Kommando Angkatan Darat), the paratroopers who would then become KOPASSANDHA and the
Kopassus4. Sukarno was especially concerned that Cakrabidawa (his elite presidential guard), who
were mainly communist, would become a target of DI (and by proxy the CIA) who were agitating to
remove Sukarno. In 1964, he, together with the CIA, organised KOPASSANDHA and its General
Suharto to launch the September 30 1965 coup d’etat.
During this time the new purged military intelligence courted the former or underground
members of DI to assist the bloodthirsty years of living dangerously, including the elder Prabowo.
To quote the International Crisis Group in its report “Recycling Militants in Indonesia: Darul Islam
and the Australian Embassy Bombing”:
“The links of some of the West Java DI leaders with the army were reinforced in 1965-1966
when they were offered weapons in exchange for help in attacking suspected communists
(PKI) in West Java, Aceh, and North Sumatra5. Danu Muhamad Hassan reportedly even
believed that a soon-to-be-notorious officer, Ali Moertopo, saved the DI leadership from
annihilation in 1966 by intervening with Soeharto when he thought the latter intended to use
the cover of the mass killings that year to wipe out other political enemies, including Darul
It was only after General Suharto took power that Bapaknya Prabowo returned to Indonesia,
safe in the knowledge that he would thereon have state sponsorship of whatever actions he would
take to in furthering his beliefs.
3 The Darul Islam rebeliion led by Soekarmadji Maridjan Kartosoewirjo created the conditions for the formation
of groups like Jemaah Islamiyah from 1978. Several of these early Islamic nationalist identities also split with
Jakarta to initiate the Acehnese independence movement Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (like Teungku Daud
Beureueh) . It is said that the bogeymen Nurdin Top and Azahari has reestablished links with the Komando
Wilayan For further information on the history and formation of the Darul Islam movements, please see the
International Crisis Group Reports “The case of the Ngruki network” and Recycling Militants in Indonesia: Darul
Islam and the Australian Embassy Bombing.
4(Kopassus, by Ken Conboy, 2002)
5(original footnote) Crisis Group interview, October 2004. It was the army’s provision of weapons for this task
that convinced some DI members a decade later that the offer from military intelligence to work together to
establish an Islamic state was genuine.
6(original footnote) Crisis Group interview, October 2004. Moertopo reportedly did this because of his personal
ties with DI leaders going back to their days together in the Muslim militia known as Hizbullah, organised during
the Japanese occupation of Indonesia.
General Suharto had a great mystery surrounding him: nobody knew who his father was.
Officially he was a farmers’ child, but his childhood was always a mystery. BP Prabowo was very
close to Suharto and knew of his trustworthiness for the job at hand, which is why he recommnded
him to the CIA as being the only choice to be the brutal but efficient strongman that would guide
Indonesia back into the hands of Wetern interests.
During the Second World War, Liem Siew Liong’s parents were also long-standing successful
business people in Malaysia, surviving the Japanese alongside their close friends in the Tiong family.
The Chinese-Malay interests had always traded with the European colonial powers very successfully,
and both the Liem and Tiong families knew which side their bread was buttered on, despite their
heritage. The Tiongs were one of the primary trading families in the British Malaya, as were the
Liems in the Dutch East Indies. A formal regional trading bloc, HongiChina, was created by the
ethnic Chinese trading families around 1910 to safeguard Chinese trade from Euro-colonial
exploitation. The Tiong and Liem families were a significant part of the formation of this vast trading
network, and became personally close.
The young Muhammed Suharto grew up in central Java, and was raised by Bapaknya Liem.
Many analysts believe that Liem Siew Liong’s father was the father of Muhammed Suharto. His
mother was also financially supported by Bapapknya Liem, and Suharto was sent to to study by him
at Dutch military school. He graduated ahead of his classmates and was 16 when Japan invaded,
who gave him further training, instrumental in the formation of his military prowess and brutality.
When Suharto took power in 1965, slaughtering over a million communist sympathisers (and
ethnic Chinese suspected of being communists), his younger Chinese brother and his family escaped
Suharto’s persecution. Liem Siew Liong and his blood brother were given positions to be in charge
of Strategic Economic Planning. Suharto’s eldest son, Sigit, then married Liem Siew Liong’s
daughter. After 300,000 people in Bali were turned into blood, Liem Siew Liong’s ran the majority of
business in Bali.
After the marriage, Liong divided the “Balinese” business empire between the Sigit “brand”
(hotels, beer, nightclubs, drugs, tourism, prostitution and gambling, including the infamous
“Tommy’s Laundry” Casino on Christmas Island); Bambang “brand” (mega construction and sport);
Tutut “brand” (mega bridge, road, infrastructure construction and military supplies and arms);
Tommy brand (automotive and aerospace import and manufacturing). Suharto’s granddaughter,
Shanti, was made to be the co-ordinator for all logging, forestry, pulp, paper and plywood and forest
products manufacturing activity. The National Strategic Economic Advisor is Bapaknya Prabowo.
Therefore with this final connection it is clear as to the close family relationships between the
Suharto business empire, the Tiong Family and Liem Siew Liong. Shanti Timber, as part of the
Suharto and Kopassus empire is in the partnership with family, the Tiong Rimbunan-Hijau empire.
So given the historical connection with the founders of Kopassus, we should be in little doubt that
any RH operation will always be a front for Kopassus and its penchant and plans for domination,
subversion, terrorism and security disturbances.
Kopassus has always been the angkatan anjing penjagga (army guard dog) for Suharto and
has always had its eyes on the resource of Papua New Guinea, ever since Suharto commanded
Operasi Mandala, the invasion of West Papua. In Jayapura, the statue of Admiral Jos Sudarso, one
of the architects of the invasion of West Papua has him facing and pointing to the east, with his right
hand outstrected towards the south, Australia. Since the 1950s, one doctrine that has been taught
in Indonesian military colleges is that of the hope for assisting Aboriginal peoples to rise up against
our own oppressive occupiers. However as a descendant of the traditional custodians in the land
that is now called Australia, the author can affirm that this will never be case. The Indonesian
military seem to forget that Papuans are Aboriginal also, and will never side against the occupiers
with a people that kill our indigenous brother and sisters. The Commonwealth of Australia might be
rapists and genocidal thieves, but they are nothing compared to the Indonesian military.
And now we have Shanti Timber, which may help facilitate that terrible fifty year old dream
into becoming a reality.