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October 16, 2004
SBY starts selecting his ministers
Tiarma Siboro and M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Bogor
Five prospective candidates who would likely fill posts in the Cabinet of
president-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were summoned for interviews on
Friday, the first time such a mechanism has been used in the selection of
ministers, at least in the public eye.
Early in the afternoon, daughter of the country’s first vice president Mohammad
Hatta, Meutia Hatta, rector of the West Java-based Bandung Institute of
Technology (ITB) Kusmayanto Kadiman and a member of Susilo’s campaign team
Sofyan Jalil, took turns in meeting with Susilo, an occasion considered as a
recruitment process for the ministerial posts.
Other candidates, former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Adm. (ret) Widodo A.S.
and former chairman of the Indonesian Congress for Youth (KNPI) Adyaksa Dault
arrived late Friday at Susilo’s private residence in Cikeas, Bogor for
Susilo is expected to single out 33 individuals from scores of prospective
candidates for over 30 posts in his Cabinet.
Meutia, who arrived first in the afternoon, said after the meeting Susilo
talked at length with her for about an hour on nationalism and character
building as well as women, cultural and tourism issues.
“Pak Susilo did not disclose what ministerial post he would assign for me. But
as a civil servant, I am ready to carry out my job at any ministerial post,”
she told reporters who flocked Susilo’s private residence.
Meutia currently serves as deputy minister of cultural affairs at the office of
the State Minister for Tourism and Culture.
Speculation was rife that Meutia would be assigned as minister for social
affairs or state minister of women’s empowerment.
She left Susilo’s residence accompanied by economist Chatib Basri of the
University of Indonesia.
Kusmayanto, who was to meet Susilo after Meutia, said that Susilo asked him
questions on education, telecommunication and information technology.
“Pak Susilo also asked whether I was a member of a political party and whether
I was willing to discard my political career if elected as one of his aides,”
Kusmayanto said, adding that he received a call early in the morning about the
meeting from one of Susilo’s confidants.
Kusmayanto speculated that he might be assigned either for the post of
education minister or state minister for research and technology.
Shortly after Sofyan — who has been billed as a candidate for the state
minister for state enterprises or the minister of communication — entered
Susilo’s private room for the interview.
Sofyan said later there was no mention about what ministerial post Susilo would
confer to him. “However, I will learn quickly and accept any post granted to me
and take that as a challenge,” he said.
He said that Susilo’s aide Maj. Gen. (ret) Sudi Silalahi asked for his presence
at Susilo’s residence from an early morning call.
Before the interviews, Susilo met envoys from 17 Middle Eastern and African
countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen.
One of Susilo’s spokesman, diplomat Dino Patti Djalal, said among many issues
raised by Susilo during the meeting was the protection for the bulk of
Indonesian migrant workers in the Middle Eastern countries and the dramatic
rise of oil prices which had dealt a severe blow to the global economy.
Susilo is expected to summon executive director of Bank Mandiri ECW Nelloe and
director of state telecommunication company PT Telkom Kristiono for interviews
The Advertiser (Australia)
SBY promises new way for Indonesia
By Jakarta Correspondent Cindy Wockner
Picture this. After his election victory John Howard opens the doors of his
private residence, allowing supporters from all walks of life to visit his home
from daylight to dusk, even putting on food and refreshments.
Anyone who wants to turn up is more than welcome and is even able to get the
newly-elected leader’s ear on any topic they like.
It’s a congenial and pleasant atmosphere as the man chosen to run the country,
along with his wife, mingles with guests.
It is unlikely such a scene would ever be played out in the Australian
political landscape, but this is exactly what happened in Indonesia when its
153 million voters decided recently it was time their nation had a new
president with a new vision.
Indonesians were tired of their former leader, Megawati Sukarnoputri, and
dumped her unceremoniously from power in the country’s first direct
presidential election on September 20.
One of her failings, in the eyes of the masses who struggle to live on a
pittance below the poverty line while corrupt bureaucrats line their own
pockets, was that she had forsaken the little people she claimed to represent.
Aloof and uncomfortable in public, the people believed she did not want to hear
their voice and that she had shunned their needs during her time in office.
Conversely, her rival, a retired army general called Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
and known by his initials SBY, had promised during his election campaign he
would heed the voice of the people.
So, with early polling results showing 55-year-old SBY was set for a landslide
victory, the president-in-waiting made it his business to immediately deliver
on that promise, opening his doors to the people who had entrusted him with
Within days SBY was proclaiming his first months in office would be focused on
domestic issues – he would hold dialogues with common people, including farmers
and fishermen: “I believe that the more people I see the more problems I
One day he hosted high school teachers from a school 5km away from his private
residence in Cikeas, near the town of Bogor in West Java, telling them he
wished the state would pay them better salaries and offer more opportunity for
the poor to attend school. He even sought their advice on who should be the
national education minister.
Now, with the election results confirmed – SBY and his running mate, Yusuf
Kalla, won easily with 60.68 per cent of the vote, emerging victorious in 28 of
the country’s 32 provinces – is the time for SBY to begin formulating how he
begins to fix the problems he has heard about in the past few weeks of visits
to his home.
SBY will announce and swear in his cabinet on October 20, the same day he is
inaugurated as president – a president with a resounding mandate.
SBY did not begin his career path as a politician but rather within the
disciplinarian ranks of the Indonesian military.
He relished the role of soldier and in 1973 was the top graduate in his class
at the military academy. SBY went on to serve in an infantry airborne battalion
and was twice sent to East Timor and served on a joint United Nations
peacekeeping force in Bosnia. He left the army against his will in 1999 with
the rank of Lieutenant General and soon after was made Mines and Energy
Minister under President Abdurrahman Wahid. By 2001 he was in Megawati’s
cabinet as Co-ordinating Minister for Politics and Security.
He resigned from the cabinet in March, 2004, after difficulties with Megawati
and focused on his ambition to lead the country.
The question now on many lips in Indonesia is whether SBY can deliver on the
promises made during his campaign.
But the masses have spoken.
In their view SBY is the man for the job.
Compass Direct News
Indonesia Closes 12 Churches in Bandung Province
Oct. 15, 2004
— Muslim leaders in Indonesia charged Christians with meeting illegally. As a
result, many churches were forced to shut down. Authorities claim their
buildings are for housing — not prayer. Christians say this is a violation of
their rights to religious freedom.
CWNews.org – Jakarta — Local authorities recently ordered 12 churches in the
sub-district of Rancaekek, Bandung, Indonesia, to close their doors. The order
came after Muslim clerics protested that the churches were meeting illegally.
The Christians admit they do not have the legal permits required to conduct
worship services in private homes. However, these “house church” meetings
seemed to be the only option after local authorities refused permission to
build proper worship facilities.
Church leaders told Compass that the congregations living in Rancaekek had
applied for permission to build churches as early as March 1993, when the Bumi
Rancaekek Kencana government housing project was established.
However, the first and subsequent applications for church permits were turned
“We submitted another application on June 12, 1995; again on January 20, 2000,
and on August 27, 2004,” explained Rev. Bungaran Silitonga who leads the
Rancaekek Christian Communication Forum. All four applications were rejected on
the grounds that local residents did not want churches in the area.
Also, officials said the land was reserved for housing, not for places of
According to a September 10 report by Komintra news service, flyers were
distributed to people living in the housing project in August. Among other
things, the flyers warned Muslim residents to stay away from visiting
missionaries and Christians.
The same month, the Forum Silahturahmi Ulama Cendikiawan Muslim (FSUCM or
Fellowship of Muslim Scholars and Intellectuals) launched a campaign to close
unlicensed churches in Rancaekek. The group, led by Koko Komaruddin, sent a
letter to the local government objecting to the practice of churches meeting in
The complaint was based on a 1949 Letter of Decision issued by the Bandung
local government regulating the establishment of places of worship, and Letter
of Decision No. 28/1990 issued by the governor of West Java, forbidding the
conversion of a private dwelling into a place of worship.
On August 19, 2004, leaders of the twelve disputed churches were invited to a
meeting with local government officials and members of the FSUCM. At the
meeting, the Christian ministers were asked to sign a document agreeing to stop
their worship services. “We refused to sign it,” Silitonga said.
A second meeting was held on September 1, during which Komaruddin gave an
ultimatum to the churches: they must halt services by September 5 or face the
The original owner of the land, Mr. Sobari, also addressed the meeting, saying
he had sold the land to the government to build houses — not churches.
Two days later, Elyadi Argaraharja, vice-district officer of Bandung, released
Letter of Decision No.4522/829/Kesbang. The decree said the 12 churches must be
closed because homes had been converted to places of worship. According to
Argaraharja, this decision was made to “avoid conflict and create tolerance.”
Komaruddin and the FSUCM followed this on September 5 with the release of a
flyer entitled “Stop Church Meetings in Houses!” The flyer declared that,
beginning on September 6, church meetings in private homes in the Rancaekek
housing project would no longer be permitted.
Rev. John Simon Timorason, head of the West Java Christian Communication Forum,
said the move was nothing new. “They tried something similar in 1995,” he told
Compass, “and again in 2000, when they tried to close the Tabernacle
“There was no problem between churches and local residents. All of this was
stirred up by Komaruddin and the FSUCM. He provoked our neighbors to take up
this issue against us. Before this we had no real complaints.”
The order to stop meeting in their homes left the Christians with a serious
dilemma: they had no other place to gather for worship.
Timorason and other church leaders began negotiations with the local
government. Finally on September 11, Argaraharja offered the use of an old,
vacant warehouse in the middle of a sea of rice paddies. However, as soon as
the Christians began cleaning the building, residents of the housing project
objected and permission to use the warehouse was withdrawn.
Left without a place of worship, the Christians met again in their former
venues on September 12. This move drew criticism from government officials who
said the church leaders had broken the law.
The 12 churches represent a growing problem in Indonesia. Muslim groups have
forced many other unlicensed churches in West Java to close. The problem stems
from the fact that local officials rarely grant permission for a church
building to be erected and they don’t allow congregations to meet in private
venues. Many Christians feel they have no option but to meet illegally.
They say this is an abuse of their basic right to religious freedom.
Church closures have occurred in several districts in West Java in recent
For example, the Gereja Sidang Kristus (GSK, Assembly of Christ) church in
Bekasi was closed following an attack during services on August 29. The
attacking mob, led by members of the Bekasi Islam Defender’s Front, caused
significant damage to church property, but no injuries were reported. Suhartono
said the relationship between GSK and its neighbors was good until the attack
happened. “There were only one or two people that seemed to dislike us,” he
Police arrested 20 people for their involvement in the Bekasi attack, but the
suspects were released soon afterward.
On August 23, another mob forced the closure of three churches — Caro Batak
Church, the Indonesian Protestant Church and Bethel Church — in the Cileungsi
sub-district of Bogor, West Java.
The Rev. Karel Silitonga, a senior church official in the district, said Muslim
clerics and the Bogor Islam Defender’s Front had provoked local residents to
attack the churches. The churches had been meeting without complaints from
their neighbors since 1997.
Timorason says West Java has always been a difficult area for Christians. “We
will try to settle this through proper legal channels,” he told Compass, “and I
hope the case will be resolved quickly.”
The twelve churches in Rancaekek, Bandung, that were ordered to cease services
in the first week of September, 2004. The names of the churches are:
Gereja Baptis Independen Indonesia (GBII – Baptist Church)
Gereja Batak Karo Protestan (GBKP – Caro Batak Church)
Gereja Katolik (Roman Catholic Church)
Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII – Christian and Missionary Alliance Church)
Gereja Kristen Indonesia (GKI – Church of Christ in Indonesia)
Gereja Kristen Jawa (GKJ – Java Christian Church)
Gereja Kristen Oikumene (GKO – Ecumenical Church)
Gereja Kristen Pasundan (GKP – Pasundan Church)
Gereja Pentakosta (Pentecostal Church)
Gereja Pentakosta di Indonesia (GPdI – Pentecostal Church in Indonesia)
Gereja Pentakosta Tabernakel (GPT – Tabernacle Pentecostal Church)
Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP – Batak Church)
Indonesian Official Comments on Oil Prices
10.15.2004, 10:51 AM
Indonesian President-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono vowed Friday to find a
solution to rising oil prices, which he said could hurt the global economy.
Crude oil futures eased slightly to US$54.58 at 1300 GMT on electronic after-
hours trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a day after a decline in the
U.S. inventory of heating oil roiled a market already on edge over tight
supplies, high demand and unrest among key producers.
Yudhoyono “complained that the current high oil prices in the world market
could harm either Indonesia’s or the global economy,” said presidential
spokesman Dino Patti Djalal, following a meeting between the incoming leader
and ambassadors of other Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC President Purnomo Yusgiantoro is also Indonesia’s energy minister, a post
some insiders say he is likely to retain in a Yudhoyono Cabinet.
Djalal said Yudhoyono pledged “to find a solution” to rising oil prices after
he takes office Oct. 20.
“The matter will be raised and discussed during the OPEC meeting in December in
order to find a solution,” Djalal said.
The comments were Yudhoyono’s first on oil prices since he won a landslide
victory over President Megawati Sukarnoputri last month. The rising price of
oil poses a threat to Indonesia’s economic recovery, which has largely stalled
amid investor concerns over legal certainty and widespread corruption.
San Francisco Chronicle
Ethnic Chinese from Indonesia wins appeal
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, October 15, 2004
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a Sacramento couple is eligible for
political asylum after finding that the woman faced likely persecution as an
ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. The ruling marks the first time a U.S. court has
found government-sanctioned discrimination against Indonesia’s Chinese
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco cited three reasons for finding that
the woman would be in danger if she were to be deported to Indonesia: a history
of anti-Chinese violence that dates back to 1740, laws still on the books that
prohibit Chinese schools and other institutions, and mob attacks and threats
against the woman before she fled with her husband. Her husband’s asylum claim
is based on her situation.
The case is the first of at least 30 pending before the court in which
Indonesians of Chinese ancestry are appealing denials of asylum by U.S.
immigration judges, said Robert G. Ryan, a lawyer for the couple.
“This is a very important human rights case for all ethnic Chinese and for all
Indonesian Christians,” a category to which many of Indonesia’s Chinese
belong, Ryan said. Indonesia’s “government is unwilling or unable to control
many native Indonesians who have a field day harassing and discriminating
against ethnic Chinese.”
The Indonesian Consulate in San Francisco did not respond to a request for
comment about Thursday’s ruling.
The woman, Taty Sael, testified that rock-throwing mobs attacked a boarding
house where she and another Chinese woman were staying in 1995, and a taxicab
in which she and her husband, Orville Wright Manariangkuba, were riding in
Jakarta in 1998.
Sael hid in her home for three weeks but eventually had to take her infant son
to the hospital and immediately had her car vandalized and was threatened by
neighbors, the court said. She and her husband entered the United States in
August 1998, overstayed their visas and applied for asylum. They now run their
own business in Sacramento, Ryan said.
An immigration appeals board rejected their claims that ethnic Chinese faced
persecution in Indonesia, citing the Indonesian government’s formal endorsement
of ethnic tolerance and a sharp decline in reported attacks on ethnic Chinese
The appeals court disagreed, citing the continued existence of anti- Chinese
laws and a history of periodic attacks from the 18th century onward, including
a series of riots in 1998 in which more than 1,000 people were killed and
dozens of women were raped.
— E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko at sfchronicle.com.
Baasyir Charged Over Marriott Bombing
October 16, 2004 01:08 AM
Laksamana.Net – Prosecutors have charged radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar
Baasyir with involvement in last year’s suicide car bombing at the JW Marriott
Hotel in South Jakarta.
The 65-page indictment and thousands of pages of evidence was filed at South
Jakarta District Court on Friday (15/10/04).
The trial is expected to begin within about two weeks. But Baasyir’s lawyers
have demanded the trial be delayed until the end of Ramadhan. The Muslim
fasting month started Friday and will conclude on November 15.
Baasyir could face the death penalty under Indonesia’s anti-terrorism law if
convicted of involvement in the August 2003 blast that killed 11 Indonesians
and a Dutch banker.
The 66-year-old cleric is accused of leading regional terrorism network Jemaah
Islamiyah, which has been blamed for the bombing of the US-franchised hotel and
a string of other attacks.
He is also accused of giving assistance to terrorists, involvement in a
conspiracy to hide explosives in Central Java, and withholding information
about terrorist acts.
South Jakarta District Court official Yunda Hasbi was quoted by Agence France-
Presse as saying Baasyir was “implicated in the Marriott bombing” as well as
other bombings, but not the October 2002 Bali nightclub attacks that killed 202
He said the indictment accuses the cleric of planning or inspiring others to
terrorism or helping them carry out an “explosion which endangered or cost the
lives of others”.
Due to security concerns and the large crowds expected, the trial will not be
held at South Jakarta District Court, but at a reception hall in the
Agriculture Ministry complex. The same venue was used for the abortive
corruption trial of former dictator Suharto in 2000. The case was dropped after
the ex-president’s lawyers and doctors argued he was suffering brain damage.
Achmad Michdan, one of Baasyir’s lawyers, said the trial should not be held
over Ramadhan because Muslims are required to rest during daylight hours of the
“We are now entering the fasting month. We should respect it … and postpone
the trial,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Baasyir, who was arrested shortly after the Bali bombings, has consistently
denied involvement in any terrorist acts. He has also denied the existence of
Jemaah Islamiyah, claiming it was invented by the US to discredit Islam.
Another of Baasyir’s lawyers, Achmad Wirawan Adnan, said he was not expecting
his client to get a fair trial. “We believe that the prosecutor does not have a
case. But this is a political matter. He’s going to be in jail no matter what.
At the time when the Marriott bombing took place, he has a strong alibi,
because he [was] detained,” he was quoted as saying by Voice of America News.
Landry Subianto of the Jakarta-based Center for Strategic and International
Studies said the prosecution must produce strong evidence to convince
Indonesians that Baasyir is involved in terrorism.
“Without very convincing evidence about the direct or indirect involvement of
Abu Bakar Baasyir, I think that would also create another credibility problem,
especially in front of the Islamic audience,” he was quoted as saying by VOA
Authorities have had to drop charges that Baasyir was allegedly involved in the
Bali bombings after the Constitutional Court in July ruled that Law No.16/2003
on Terrorism could not be used retroactively.
Instead, the cleric has been charged with violating articles 14, 15, 17 and 18
of Law No.15/2003 on Terrorism, which does not cover retroactive cases. He has
also been charged under the Criminal Code.
The five judges who will preside over Baasyir’s trial will be selected on
Baasyir was first arrested back in 1978 and sentenced to nine years in jail for
subversion for links to two outlawed Islamic militia groups. He was released
from prison in 1982 and fled to Malaysia in 1985 to escape further charges. It
was while in Malaysia that he allegedly co-founded Jemaah Islamiyah.
He returned to Indonesia following the May 1998 resignation of former president
Suharto and resumed his role as head of the Al-Mukmin Islamic Boarding School
in Ngruki, near Solo.
Police arrested Baasyir on October 19, 2002, in the aftermath of the Bali
bombings, but authorities at that time were unable to produce any hard evidence
linking him to the attacks.
Although an avowed supporter of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the cleric has
consistently denied any involvement in Jemaah Islamiyah and insists all of the
accusations against him are part of a US-led conspiracy to discredit Islam.
In September 2003, Central Jakarta District Court sentenced Baasyir to four
years in prison for treason, immigration violations and forging documents. But
the court said he was not guilty of leading Jemaah Islamiyah or masterminding a
plot to use religious violence to overthrow the government.
In December 2003, Jakarta High Court announced it had overturned the cleric’s
treason conviction and reduced his jail sentence to three years. In March 2004,
the Supreme Court further reduced the sentence to one and a half years.
The sentence reductions meant the cleric was released on April 30 – at which
point police immediately re-arrested him, citing new evidence to charge him
with leading Jemaah Islamiyah.
Bombs Seized After Explosion
Police on Friday said they have found two bombs at a house in West Java
province and suspect the explosives belonged to terrorist suspects who remain
National Police chief General Dai Bachtiar was quoted by German news agency DPA
as saying the bombs, placed into two backpacks, were found after a powerful
blast on Thursday night at the house in Cianjur city.
Four unidentified men were wounded in the explosion and quickly left the house,
telling neighbors the blast came from a kerosene stove.
The changing face of Jemaah Islamiah
by Sidney Jones 14.10.2004
— Sidney Jones, the South East Asia project director of the International
Crisis Group, talks about the current state of Jemmah Islamiah and the
challenges ahead for Indonesia’s new president.
The second anniversary of the Bali bombings, which killed more than 202 people,
was marked recently with memorial services in Bali.
While many of the perpetrators are in prison, fears have been raised their
sentences are in doubt after their original terrorism convictions were
overturned by Indonesia’s constitutional court.
Meanwhile some operatives believed to be involved in the attack are still free –
while others linked to subsequent attacks are also on the run.
As someone who analyses sources of conflict and violence in South East Asia,
Sidney Jones is deeply familiar with Jemmah Islamiah – the regional terror
group blamed for a string of attacks including the October 2002 Bali bombings.
Her team has produced a series of reports on the shadowy group and its
operations in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Ms Jones says although JI has been seriously destabilised since the Bali
attacks, it still poses a significant threat.
“I think since the Bali bombs the police – both the Australian police and the
Indonesian police – have done a superb job in rounding up the network,” she
“The problem is that the organisation was always much bigger than people had
originally thought, and there’s still some key people who haven’t been arrested
and this makes for problems.”
Questions of leadership
Sidney Jones believes Jemaah Islamiah may not be working under a central
command structure, which she says has an effect on its tactics and potential to
carry out further attacks.
“I think what it may mean is that different parts of JI may be able to take
some initiatives on their own to plan and mount attacks,” she says.
“It’s clear that the August 2003 Marriott Hotel bomb, for example, was planned
and executed by Noordin Mohammad Top and Azahari bin Husin, the two men that
are being sought in connection with the [September 2004 bombing at Australia’s
embassy in Jakarta].
“But at the last minute it seems to have been endorsed by what we think was
then the JI leadership,” she says.
“The problem is we don’t really know who the JI leadership is at the moment,
but it’s pretty clear that the Australian embassy bombing also may have been
planned and executed without endorsement or approval from the JI leadership.”
The Hambali faction
Ms Jones says the arrests of the two senior JI members would deal a blow to
the “Hambali faction” of the group.
Hambali is believed to be the operations manager of JI and has been named as a
key suspect in a string of attacks across South East Asia.
He was arrested in Thailand in August 2003 and is being held at an undisclosed
location by the US.
“[The arrests of Noordin Mohammad Top and Azahari bin Husin] would be another
blow to the Hambali faction of Jemaah Islamiah, and the Hambali faction is the
one that’s been responsible for all the most lethal bombing attacks,” Ms Jones
“So if they got these two there would be maybe four or five other top leaders
who are still at large,” she says.
“But even then I think it’s important to remember that there are these other
groups like the one in west Java that have the capacity and the expertise and
the determination to do the same kind of thing the Hambali group has been
Indonesians in denial
For some time now many people in Indonesia have been saying that JI doesn’t
exist or they’re not willing to admit it.
Ms Jones says there are a number of reasons why people in Indonesia are
refusing to admit the group’s existence.
“One reason is that the name Jemaah Islamiah, which means Islamic community, is
so generic that many Indonesians refuse to believe that it could apply to a
terrorist organization,” she says.
“Another factor is that even people who know JI exist don’t want to admit it
publicly for fear that somehow to acknowledge its existence might be to taint
Indonesian Islamic organisations more generally,” she says.
“I think this is a fear that the new president, Yudhoyono, could try to
Testing times for Yudhoyono
When it comes to Indonesia’s president-elect, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Ms
Jones says he has some serious tests ahead.
“I think he’ll do a major job in at least improving intelligence coordination
and improving inter-agency coordination,” Ms Jones says.
“The real test though is going to be whether he takes terrorism beyond security
and beyond law enforcement and looks at some of the social and political
underpinnings of it – which would mean that he would take a look at recruitment
procedures, he’d take a look at schools where there’s a disproportionate number
of bombers being produced and so on,” she says.
A new approach needed
Ms Jones says she thinks Mr Yudhoyono will do well on the security side, but
has doubts about how he will fare on these broader issues.
“The most important thing that has to happen now is for somebody or some
neutral group to do in-depth interviewing of the people who are already in
custody for involvement in Jemaah Islamiah and like-minded groups and actually
assess what it was that drew them to these organisations, who recruited them,
what the process was and so on,” she says.
“Once we have that information then it would be possible to craft a number of
different policies – in some ways that’s the first step even before we talk
about legal measures necessary.
“I think the other thing is to then do particular training of prosecutors even
more than lawyers and judges and educate them about how much leeway they
actually have in demanding additional evidence, if the evidence they have they
regard as insufficient, and so on.
“It’s a question of taking the laws that exist and making sure that the
prosecution makes the absolute maximum use out of them.”
— Interview by Asia Pacific’s Marion MacGregor.
The Jakarta Post.com
10/15/2004 5:09:18 PM
Eight suspected rebels, marine killed in restive Aceh
Jakarta (JP): Eight suspected separatists and a marine were killed in a fierce
gunbattle in Indonesia’s restive Aceh province, a military spokesman said on
Navy Sgt. Agus Wijaya was shot dead on Thursday when about 15 marines raided
the eastern Aceh village of Titi Bareuh, military spokesman Lt. Col. Ary Mulya
Asnawi said as reported by the Associated Press.
Eight rebels from the Free Aceh Movement were also killed in the firefight,
Asnawi said. Troops recovered five machine guns and several hundred bullets, he
A rebel spokesman could not be reached for comment. It is impossible to verify
the military’s claims, since it limits journalists’ movements in the province
and bars them from most rebel-held areas.
President-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is to be installed next Thursday,
has promised to settle the Aceh conflict.
The Jakarta Post.com
October 16, 2004
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador caught up in the tale of two cities
Ivy Susanti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The departing U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Ralph L. Boyce, used the words of
Charles Dickens, from his book A tale of Two Cities, to describe the course of
events that transformed Indonesia in recent years.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… It was the spring of
hope, it was the winter of despair… we had everything before us, we had
nothing before us…”, he quoted in the opening address of his “farewell”
speech, before a group of editors and business executives, here on Thursday.
When the U.S. Senate confirmed his assignment to Indonesia, just 15 days after
the terrorist attack in New York in 2001, Boyce knew that difficult times were
Indonesia was struggling, after being hit by political turmoil and the
subsequent economic crisis, while the fear of terror attacks gripped the world.
But, when he leaves Jakarta next week — after three years of service in
Indonesia — he will also bring with him the memories of having witnessed the
rebirth of an authoritarian nation into a democracy, and of his brief
musical “career” as a drummer in The Harmony, a celebrity-laden musical troop.
“There were a lot of problems, a lot of headaches, a lot of crises, and so it
was — you know — I had a little bit of a different impression at the
beginning of six years about Indonesia.
“And, I tell people sometimes that, for three years in Washington, I used to
wake up in the morning, and get out of bed and say, ‘Well, I wonder what
happened overnight in Indonesia? It’s gonna make my day a living nightmare.’
And often there was some terrible news.”
Prior to his Indonesian assignment, Boyce, 52, had been deputy assistant
secretary for East Asia and Pacific affairs since August 1998. His areas of
responsibility included Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific
Topping U.S. concern at that time was Indonesia’s commitment to fighting
terrorism. “Really, we were going into a new age of terrorism, which was very
scary. And it was very unclear whether Indonesia was gonna get it.”
But the progress the country has made, including the peaceful direct
presidential election, opens up a spring of hope.
“I realized, maybe in the last year, year-and-a-half, that I had stopped
worrying about Indonesia … I think the answer is because Indonesia got
everything going in the right direction. It’s kind of like turning an aircraft
carrier around, you know, it takes a long time to change direction.
“But, I have the feeling that this country, the people of this country, even
more than the elites, I think, have decided we’re going in the direction that
involves more decentralization, more democracy, the increased capability of our
leaders, more transparency. And we’re gonna to do it now.”
While he confessed to being greatly impressed by Indonesians’ hospitality and
warm character — and this country’s cultural creativity and artistic
expression — he also advised Indonesians to go easy on themselves.
“As a friend of Indonesia, I think you are the harshest critics of all, of
yourselves. You are very impatient with this whole reformasi; it’s gonna take
time, it’s a long way to go. But, you know what? From time to time, you should
take a deep breath, just reflect on how far you have come already.”
He also encouraged Indonesia to reduce its dependence on aid, while improving
its welfare through bilateral trade and foreign investment. To this end, he
said that Indonesia had to practice good governance by ensuring a corruption-
free administration, the presence of a legal framework, transparency and
“Perhaps, the greatest economic contribution to the Indonesian economy is our
open market. Trade is so much more important than aid. Bilateral trade is about
US$9 billion a year, and the surplus is very large in your favor. And our
market is one of the engines that drives your growth.”
He gave assurances that the U.S. would remain a strong supporter of Indonesia’s
transition process in the post-Soeharto era of 1998 and beyond. “I’m confident
that this policy will not change, no matter who wins our election next month.”
Boyce is known here as an avid drummer. The Harmony Band, set up in March this
year, was an ad hoc music group comprising ambassadors and Indonesian
government officials. Its first performance, that same month, was to raise
funds for dengue patients.
“We raised one billion rupiah. And we had so much fun that we just kept
playing,” he recalled, to the delight of the audience at the Jakarta Media
Center on Jl. Kebon Sirih, Central Jakarta.
Boyce, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, will assume the
ambassadorial post in Thailand, a country that he has served several times —
as a political counselor in 1988, and as deputy chief of mission, from Oct.
1994 to Aug. 1998.
Dickens wrote, “… we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going
direct the other way”. But, Ambassador Boyce is on his way to a new assignment,
to take the pulse of another nation.