Perhaps the only confusion that emerged in the aftermath of Suharto’s death on January 27 was the conflicting reports about how many names he had: whether he had one name, like most Javanese, or two, prefixed by ‘Muhammad’. The rest of the details about his life are clear.
That US President George W. Bush is disliked, both at home and abroad, is no secret; what is less well known is the depth of the antipathy to him. Indonesia, for instance, is presented as a moderate (read pro-US) Muslim state where people do not indulge in serious political activity and Bush is disliked less than he is in the Middle East. Yet Indonesians on most parts of the political spectrum were angered by Bush visiting their country after his participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hanoi last month.
Since the fall of Suharto Indonesia's journey to ‘democracy' has been marked by court trials involving its past rulers. Curiously, any trial in Indonesia attracts western attention to their disputed ‘credibility'...
When at a loss to explain anti-Western opinions and activities, American agencies routinely blame Usama bin Ladin. Since the Bali bombing on October 12, Indonesia has identified its own equivalent: the well-known alim Abu Bakar Basyir...
As Indonesians celebrated their independence from Holland in 1945 on August 17, western governments congratulated president Megawati Sukarnoputri.
B J Habibie, appointed president of Indonesia upon Suharto’s ouster from power in May is beginning to enjoy himself. The change of guard has led to claims in some circles that he reflects the Islamic sentiments of the nearly 200 million people scattered across the vast archipelago.
The deportation from Malaysia of ‘illegal immigrants’ turned violent on March 26 when a number of refugees were shot and killed in police firing at Semenyih camp in Selangor.
The process of selecting a president by the People’s Consultative Assembly in Indonesia lasting 11 days beginning on March 1, had already been decided last May. The 1,000-member assembly is a rubber-stamp body which simply confirms what the ruling Golkar Party wants.
Indonesia’s presidential elections are not due until next March but general Suharto is taking no chances. Not that his own position is threatened. He wants to make sure that even his running mate is chosen through consensus.
General Suharto, his ruling Golkar Party and the Indonesian armed forces have got it all wrapped up. The May 29 general election results in the largest Muslim country in the world have already been decided.
The problem with ‘strong’ leaders is that they do not leave behind an obvious successor. This is further complicated if the ‘strong’ leader also happens to be in power for a long time.