Sejarah Indonesia

Orde Baru--The Suharto Years: 1965 to 1998

1966

 
January Roundups continue of PKI supporters, degenerate into random, unplanned violence in many areas.

Sukarno holds a meeting of economic advisors in Cipanas to discuss the nationalization of U.S. oil company properties by presidential decree. Suharto arrives by helicopter, walks into the meeting and states that the nationalization will not happen.

January 15 Sukarno holds a cabinet meeting in Bogor, and invites members of student organizations to attend. Anti-communist students demonstrate outside.

February 13 "Mahmillub" tribunals begin of persons accused of involvment in the September 30th coup. (Almost 900 are tried in these special tribunals through 1978.)

February 21 Sukarno names new cabinet, including Omar Dhani and Subandrio, who are wanted for arrest.

February 24 Student demonstrations stop traffic in Jakarta. Sukarno uses helicopters to fly his new cabinet to swearing-in ceremonies. Presidential guards fire on students, killing two.

February 25 Sukarno and Suharto meet. Student organizations are declared dissolved and demonstrations are banned.

February 28 Subandrio declares that "terror will be met with terror". Students hang Subandrio in effigy.

March Major Nurtanio Pringgoadisurjo, a pioneer of Indonesian aviation, is killed in a test flight.

March 6 Suharto warns Sukarno of dissatisfaction among the officer corps in ABRI.

March 8 Students attack and enter the Foreign Office headquarters in Jakarta, including Subandrio's offices. They claim to find documents showing a clandestine relationship between Subandrio and officials in Beijing.

March 9 Students attack the Chinese embassy in Jakarta.

Sukarno issues orders to ABRI reminding them that he is still president.

March 11 Sukarno tries to hold cabinet meeting while students demonstrate outside. Suharto does not attend. Troops loyal to Suharto, commanded by Col. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, surround the building. Sukarno flees to Bogor by helicopter with Subandrio and Chaerul Saleh. Three major generals follow Sukarno to Bogor, and discuss the situation with him for several hours. Sukarno signs a document giving broad powers to Suharto, the "Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret" or "Supersemar" letter.

March 12 Suharto, using the new "Supersemar" powers, officially bans the PKI.

March 16 Sukarno issues an announcement that he still has full authority as chief executive, to no effect.

March 18 Subandrio and most of Sukarno's cabinet are arrested.

March 27 New cabinet is announced which includes Suharto, Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya, who helps coordinate economic policy, and Adam Malik as the new foreign minister.

April Purge of Sukarno supporters in the PNI, in the Diponegoro Division, and the National Assembly (MPR/DPR).

Ali Sadikin becomes governor of Jakarta.

SOBSI labor organization is banned.

Adam Malik travels to New York, announces that Indonesia will rejoin the United Nations.

April 12 Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya issues a frank statement on the poor state of the economy.

May Adam Malik meets with Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia in Bangkok, and announces that "konfrontasi" with Malaysia has ended.

Japanese government gives Indonesia emergency aid.

June 21 A smaller Assembly (MPR-S), now purged of PKI members and many other Sukarno supporters, approves the "Supersemar" transfer of powers to Suharto, and the ban on the PKI. Nasution is elected chair.

July Indonesia begins rescheduling debt payments. IMF is brought back in.

July Members of Nahdlatul Ulama and other parties in the Assembly attempt to have the "Jakarta Charter" of 1945 recognized officially.

August 11 Indonesia normalizes relations with Malaysia.

September Indonesia rejoins the United Nations.

September 19 Conference meets in Tokyo to discuss Indonesia's foreign debt. Sultan of Yogya represents Indonesia. Western trade powers and the IMF attend; the Soviet Union is not invited. Indonesia gains an 18-month moratorium on debt payments.

October Subandrio is given the death sentence, but not executed.

October 3 Suharto announces broad, liberal economic reforms.

November Plot to take Sukarno and restore him to power fails; Sukarno would not cooperate.

Draft of a proposed bill regarding public organizations is leaked; the bill would require all organizations to accept Pancasila as their guiding doctrine.

December Omar Dhani is given the death sentence, but not executed.

Bulog (Badan Urusan Logistik) is founded to manage rice procurements for the government.

Former Republik Maluku Selatan leader Soumokil is executed; Moluccans in the Netherlands burn the Indonesian embassy there.

All Chinese-language schools are closed.

New Press Law tightens the existing censorship process.

Assembly (MPR-S) declares that the preamble to the 1945 constitution, including Pancasila, is inalterable (referring by implication to the "Jakarta charter" language giving a special position for Islam).

Help the People of Aceh
Palang Merah Indonesia

 





"Supersemar": Sukarno and Suharto in 1966. The abbreviation "Supersemar" is also a reference to the character Semar from traditional wayang kulit stories. Officially, Sukarno gave emergency powers to Suharto, which were then approved by the Assembly--but Sukarno was under pressure from military powers and street demonstrations, and by then, the Assembly had been purged of many of Sukarno's supporters.

Under the powers of "Supersemar", Suharto founded Kopkamtib, a special forces detail originally assigned to tracking down PKI members. It was later used for general political purposes, including for enforcing restrictions on the press. Suharto also expanded the role of the special forces group called "Opsus" using these special powers. Opsus was used for covert operations and was headed by Gen. Ali Murtopo.


Subandrio on trial, 1966. Subandrio was given a death sentence, but was never executed.

Aside from those who died in the 1965-66 violence following the G30S incident, there were many hundreds of thousands who were arrested. These people were called "Tahanan Politik" for "political resisters", often shortened to TAPOL. They were classed in three categories. Category A were people considered dangerous PKI leaders or associates who were put on trial. Category B were a larger group of people who were held on suspicion but without trial; many were sent to internal exile on Buru. Category C were people who were only detained briefly, maybe as many as 500,000. No matter what category, all these people were required to have a mark on their personal ID card indicating that they were TAPOL for many years afterward.

At the beginning, Suharto shared many policy decisions with Adam Malik as foreign minister and the Sultan of Yogya regarding domestic affairs. During the 1960s, Suharto's government repaired the economy with the help of foreign-trained "technocrat" economists, many of whom worked in the Bappenas planning group.


Suharto and Adam Malik, 1966. Adam Malik was a young student radical during the independence struggle, and was originally a member of the socialist Murba Party. After a brief assignment as ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1963, he became disenchanted with the political left.

1967

 

January Sukarno says he had no foreknowledge of the coup attempt.

Economic reforms are passed, including a government guarantee that no further properties will be nationalized, a three-year tax holiday, and a guarantee that profits earned can be sent overseas.

February British and USA properties are returned to owners.

February 20 Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia convenes in Jakarta to promote and plan for Islamic evangelism (da'wa), and to counter a perceived growth in "kristenisasi" (Christianization). Former Masyumi leaders, including Natsir and Mohammed Roem, attend.

The IGGI (Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia), a consortium of 14 donor countries and 5 international organizations, holds its first meeting. The U.S. and Japan each pledge $65 million in aid.

March 12 Assembly (MPR), chaired by Gen. Nasution, receives a committee report on Sukarno's role in the September 30, 1965 events. The Assembly takes all power away from Sukarno, and names Suharto acting president.

April Christian churches are attacked in Aceh. Several days of anti-Chinese demonstrations break out in Jakarta.

Indonesia breaks diplomatic relations with China.

Most Chinese-language newspapers closed by government.

Freeport-McMoran signs first contract with the Indonesian government to mine for copper in Irian Jaya. The company receives a three year tax holiday.

July Nahdlatul Ulama holds congress in Bandung. The congress demands quick elections, and an end to the ban on civil servants holding membership in political parties (which prevented civil servants from being members of NU).

July 27 Compromise announced in the Assembly after long debate on how parties and constituencies should be represented. Government gets to appoint up to one-third of members.

August Suharto places all armed forces under his control.

August 8 ASEAN is founded. Original members are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Bengkulu is made a province.

October Anti-Christian riots in Makassar; Suharto speaks out against religious violence.

Series of bank failures involving deposits by Bulog raise questions of corruption.


Suharto
Suharto was President of Indonesia from 1967 until 1998. Most of his long presidency was marked by economic growth and enforced consensus.

The parliamentary compromise of July 1967 began a long period where the legislative branch of government was mostly controlled by Suharto himself. Some ABRI generals, including Nasution and recent Suharto allies Kemal Idris and Gen. Dharsono, commander of the Siliwangi division, were opposed to the plan. Dharsono was soon sent away as ambassador to Thailand to reduce his influence.

1968

 

Foreign Minister Adam Malik says that Indonesia will make an independent foreign policy, but one friendly with the USA.

February 20 Parmusi party founded, including some former Masyumi supporters.

March 21 Suharto wins Presidential election in the Assembly (MPR). Muslim members of the Assembly try to bring up the issue of the Jakarta Charter and measures against "religious conversions", but Armed Forces members of the Assembly cut off debate.

April 8 Suharto calls together the leaders of the four Islamic parties, and tells them to come to an agreement on the meaning of the Jakarta Charter.

May Delegation led by the Sultan of Yogya visits Irian Jaya to investigate conditions there.

August Army-run oil companies, including Permina, are merged into Pertamina, headed by Ibnu Sutowo. Pertamina now has a monopoly on the oil industry in Indonesia, but work is contracted out to foreign firms as well.

September First World Bank loans to Indonesia.

Monopoly on clove imports is granted to Suharto's half-brother Probosutejo and Liem Sioe Liong.

December Bulog loses significant funds in another bank failure, damaging its ability to buy rice in 1969.

In the aftermath of the 1965 events, many people who had not professed a religion before signed up as a member of one of Indonesia's five recognized religions: Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, or Kristen (Protestant). A person without a religion was seen as a possible Communist. As a result, the number of Catholics and Christians/Protestants grew rapidly in the late 1960s, although Muslims remained 90% or so of the total population.

In the late 1960s, and again in the late 1970s, there were suggestions within the government, possibly from Suharto himself, to have "kebatinan" or "Islam-abangan" added as an official religion that citizens could register under. By "kebatinan" was meant the traditions of Javanese mysticism, much of which had survived for centuries and had little to do with standard Islam. The effect would have been to reduce the number of registered Muslims in the census, and so to reduce the political power of Islamic parties and politicians across the board.

The Parmusi party was supposed to be a replacement for the Masyumi party, which had been banned due to the 1958 rebellions. Parmusi was never able to win support of most former Masyumi supporters, though.


50 Rupiah note, 1968, with portrait of Soedirman.

1969

 

April Repelita I, the first five-year development plan, begins. Its goal is to restore the economy, build infrastructure, and make Indonesia self-sufficient in rice cultivation.

Indonesia repudiates earlier citizenship treaties with China. 80,000 ethnic Chinese lose their Indonesian citizenship.

July Prison camp is opened on Buru in Maluku for former PKI members.

U.S. President Nixon visits Jakarta.

July 15-August 2 Village councils in Irian Jaya, under pressure from Opsus special forces in the region, vote in favor of joining Indonesia. The number of votes cast was 1022.

September 17 Irian Jaya is formally made a province.

Freeport-McMoran builds a 63-mile road from the coast of Irian Jaya to its copper mining area in the interior.

November Assembly finally passes bills to approve the July 1967 compromises. A certain proportion of seats will be appointed as representatives of "Functional Groups": Golkar.

November 22 Mochtar Lubis publishes newspaper articles detailing corruption in Pertamina.

December 4 Members of "functional groups" on local councils are prohibited from belonging to political parties, with the exception of Golkar.

Mrs. Tien Suharto and businessman Liem Sioe Liong found PT Bogasari flour mills. The Bogasari mills are granted a state monopoly on the import, milling and distribution of wheat and flour.

Starting in 1969, Suharto's government decreed a number of restrictions on political activities, parties and organizations. However, the government claimed that Golkar was not actually a political organization, and therefore was not covered by the restrictions. The result was that Golkar was able to be the only political party without restrictions, or more to the point, was able to act as a political party when it was advantageous to act as a party, and was able to claim not to be a political party when it was advantageous not to be a party.

Also in 1969, the government under Suharto elevated Sukarno's 1963 presidential censorship decree to the status of law.

Under Repelita I, the first five-year plan of Suharto's government, 60% of the government's budget was funded by foreign aid through IGGI, the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia.

1970

 
Suharto visits Washington.

January 22 Student protests are banned after series of demonstrations against corruption.

January 31 Suharto appoints a commission to investigate corruption in government.

February Government employees are told to be loyal to the government and to support Golkar. Civil servants are told to avoid political activities and organizations.

June 21 Sukarno dies at Bogor.

July Results of anti-corruption commission's investigation-- that corruption is widespread throughout government--are leaked to the press.

August Pro-PKI remnant is purged near Blitar, East Java.

August 16 Suharto announces that only two corruption cases will be brought to court. Anti-corruption commission is closed.

Liem Sioe Liong and Probosutedjo (Suharto's brother) gain a monopoly on the import of cloves.

Around 1970, the New Order government started heavy promotion of family planning programs.

1971

 

The government, following Suharto's lead, refuses to remove the ban on the Masyumi party.

July 3 Golkar wins 2/3 of seats in Assembly in elections. PNI and Nahdlatul Ulama trail far behind. Elections are marred by violence between Golkar and NU supporters.

New Assembly (DPR) consists of 360 elected members, 75 appointed ABRI officers, and 25 appointed members from other groups. New MPR now has 920 members: the 460 total members of the DPR, 207 members chosen directly by Suharto, 123 chosen by the political parties, and 130 chosen to represent the provinces.

Liquefied natural gas exports begin from Aceh and East Kalimantan.

Bulog takes over the pricing and distribution of sugar.

December KORPRI (Korps Karyawan Pegawai Republik Indonesia) is founded by the government to replace all other organizations of civil servants and government employees. Dharma Wanita is founded for the wives of civil servants.

Makassar is officially renamed Ujung Pandang.

Candidates for the elections of 1971 were screened by military security; many PNI, NU and Parmusi members were disqualified by the military to stand for election. Political parties--except for Golkar--were restricted from campaigning in rural areas. Golkar enjoyed an advantage from its support from the military, and the compelled support from civil servants and government employees. Golkar also received substantial financial support from various sources. The Opsus special forces group influenced political activity as well.


Voting in Irian Jaya, 1971.

1972

 

March IMF obtains an agreement from the Indonesian government to limit its borrowing, and keep borrowing by Pertamina and other agencies under government control.

June Dry weather and government inaction lead to rice shortages on Java. International prices for rice increase as the Indonesian government is forced to start importing. Beginning of "rice crisis".

October Suharto, under IMF pressure, issues decree that all international loans to state enterprises must be approved by Bank Indonesia and the Minister of Finance.

 

1973

 

January 5 Smaller political parties are merged into two organizations by the government. Nahdatul Ulama, Parmusi and other Islamic groups are merged into the PPP (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, or United Development Party).

Murba, PNI, and smaller Christian and Catholic parties are merged into the PDI.

Many labor unions merged into umbrella organization.

March Assembly (MPR) elects Suharto to second term as President. Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX is Vice-President.

U.S. and Japan cut back on rice aid to Indonesia. Rice prices remain high.

May Suharto promises IMF that future borrowings by Pertamina will be limited to short-term loans.

August 5 Dispute over a traffic accident leads to widespread anti-Chinese violence in Bandung. One person is killed, property damage is substantial.

September 27 Islamic students demonstrate and take over the Assembly in protest of proposed secular marriage laws.

War in the Middle East leads to increase in international oil prices.

November Student protests against foreign influences, poor economic conditions, and corruption in government spread. Gen. Sumitro speaks to student groups.

November 30 Several prominent persons, including former Vice-President Hatta, sign a statement critical of the power of foreign investments in Indonesia.

The "rice crisis" of 1972 and 1973 pushed many Indonesians back into hard economic times, and led to political instability, espressed mostly by student demonstrations.

After 1973 until the end of Suharto's presidency, there were only three political parties in Indonesia: Golkar, which had special status and the backing of the government, the PPP, which was to represent Islamic interests, and the PDI, which combined the remnants of Sukarno's PNI party and smaller Christian-oriented parties. Only Golkar was allowed to campaign outside the cities, only Golkar was allowed to conduct activities outside of a strictly controlled campaign season, and government employees, including teachers and minor local officials, were compelled to vote for Golkar.

The protest by Muslims against the marriage laws not so much because of the laws themselves. Islamic advocates thought that a secular government should not be making decisions on behalf of the Muslim community, even though they agreed with the intention of the laws.

In December 1973, Ibnu Sutowo met with B. J. Habibie in Düsseldorf, West Germany to discuss the possibilities of establishing an aircraft manufacturing industry in Indonesia, building on earlier efforts in the 1960s. Habibie had been working for MBB, a German manufacturer, and Sutowo as head of Pertamina was able to bring heavy resources to the idea. Early efforts were done in cooperation with Pertamina; after the fall of Sutowo in 1976, IPTN was established with Habibie as director to lead the efforts.

1974

 

January 2 Secular marriage laws are enacted, despite Muslim opposition.

Repelita II (beginning of second five-year development plan). Its goal is to raise living standards, concentrating especially on food, clothing and housing.

January 12 Suharto meets with student protesters.

January 14-17 Japanese P.M. Tanaka visits Jakarta. "Malari" riots ("Malari" standing for "January 15th Disaster") break out during the visit: student demonstrations involving tens of thousands lead to violence, looting and fires. Eleven demonstrators are killed. Gen. Sumitro, as head of Kopkamtib, does not act to stop the protests.

Widespread arrests follow the "Malari" riots. Most public meetings are banned, many newspapers and magazines are shut down, including Indonesia Raya, headed by Mochtar Lubis. Gen. Sumitro is demoted.

Intelligence agencies are consolidated under the command of Gen. Benny Murdani. Opsus is disbanded.

April Coup in Portugal supports decolonization; political parties form in East Timor: UDT (centrist), Fretilin (communist), Apodeti (integrationist)

Liem Sioe Liong gives a 14% stake in Bank Central Asia to Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana (or "Tutut"), Suharto's daughter.

The government's response to the "Malari" riots was to increase suppression of free expression and restrictions on foreign investment. Some questioned the military's handling of the riots, suggesting that individual commanders or factions might have delayed action against either protesters or rioters, possibly due to sympathy with the students, but possibly also to allow violence to break out and so discredit the protesters.

After 1974, economic policies were more restrictive and nationalist, a change from the relative liberalism of the early Suharto years. As of 1973, restrictions were already in place regarding the import of fully assembled automobiles, which led to the construction of auto assembly plants in Indonesia. The factories were still owned by Japanese companies, however, and only put together components that had been manufactured elsewhere.

The global oil crisis of 1974 led to much higher prices for Indonesian oil, but it also created an economic recession in America and Europe, so sales of the higher-priced oil actually fell.


Masjid Istiqlal is one of the largest mosques in the world-- another project dreamed of by Sukarno, but finished by Suharto.

1975

 

Suharto dedicates MONAS, completed now after 14 years.

Taman Mini Indonesia opens in Jakarta.

February 18 Pertamina, the state oil company, defaults on a $40 million short-term loan from a consortium of U.S. banks.

March 10 Pertamina defaults on a $60 million Canadian loan.

March 14 Bank Indonesia tells Pertamina's creditors that it will pay Pertamina's debts up to $650 million, and that Pertamina would not be borrowing on the international market.

April Bank Indonesia stops publishing financial statistics.

May 20 Report to the Assembly states that Pertamina's total debt is more than $10 billion, much of it in enterprises that have nothing to do with oil. Major General Harjono is appointed to oversee Pertamina's finances.

June Commission on Timor meets in Macao. Representatives of Apodeti and UDT attend, Fretilin does not.

July 26 Majelis Ulama Indonesia is organized in Jakarta to coordinate the rulings of Islamic religious scholars, including members of Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama.

August 26 UDT takes control in Timor by coup; Portuguese simply leave.

September Fretilin declares rebellion, drives UDT out of Dili into Indonesian territory, begins killing enemies.

September 16 Papua New Guinea gains independence from Australia.

October Indonesian commando units start limited operations in East Timor.

November Fretilin declares independence, demands withdrawal of Indonesian units.

December Indonesia launches a full invasion of East Timor at Dili and Baucau, installs a new government at Dili with UDT and Apodeti members.

December 12 United Nations General Assembly calls on Indonesia to withdraw from East Timor.

Suharto finally orders reforms in Pertamina's corporate structure.

It was widely known before 1975 that corruption was a problem within Pertamina, but it was only when the company began to default on its debts that the remarkable size of the problem became clear. Pertamina's total debts may have been as high as $10 billion at their peak. In 1974 Pertamina had a larger fleet than the Indonesian Navy. Fixing the mess left by Ibnu Sutowo and Pertamina was very expensive for the Indonesian government-- foreign debt literally doubled due to the affair.

Many people died after Indonesian troops entered East Timor, mostly from the side-effects of war: disease and famine due to dislocation. The government of Indonesia has said that 30,000 died, a number which is too low; foreign leftists often say 200,000, a number which is probably too high. The Indonesian military suffered casualties that have never been reported, but may have been over 10,000 killed and wounded. Heavy operations seem to have lasted for three or four years.

The architects of the takeover were Ali Murtopo, head of the Opsus covert operations force, and Gen. Benny Murdani, who had gained control of all intelligence agencies. Suharto himself is said to have been uncomfortable with the way events in East Timor finally proceeded.

In 1975 and 1977, some refugees from Maluku who had fought against the Republic of Indonesia as "Republik Maluku Selatan" took hostages in terrorist incidents in the Netherlands. In spite of the heavy media coverage of these events, the actions drew little support inside Indonesia, partly because so many RMS supporters had fled to the Netherlands in the early 1950s.

1976

 

February ASEAN leaders meet on Bali.

March 3 Ibnu Sutowo is removed as head of Pertamina.

March Indonesia receives over $2 billion in financing and credits from governments in America, Europe and Japan to meet the Pertamina crisis.

April 22 United Nations Security Council condemns Indonesia's presence in East Timor.

April 26 Industri Pesawat Terbang Nurtanio (IPTN, in 1985 renamed IPT Nusantara) is founded with the goal of establishing an aircraft manufacturing industry in Indonesia. Dr. B. J. Habibie is President Director.

May Government begins to cut back on Pertamina's non-oil projects, cancelling some, transferring other projects to other state enterprises. Several top officials of Pertamina are fired.

May 31 "People's Assembly" in East Timor declares for integration with Indonesia.

July 17 East Timor officially becomes a province.

August 17 Palapa A, the first Indonesian communications satellite, is launched.

Ibnu Sutowo, an old friend of Suharto, finally fell from power when Suharto hosted a meeting of ASEAN heads of state on Bali. Ibnu Sutowo appeared in a helicopter, and took President Marcos of the Philippines away on a golfing trip, leaving Suharto behind. Suharto never forgave him, and Ibnu Sutowo was out of Pertamina within days. (Note: in a later interview, Ibnu Sutowo said he was fired after refusing to skim US$0.10 per barrel from a new oil shipping company and route the skimmed funds to Suharto.)


Palapa A was the first communications satellite for Indonesia, launched in 1976.

1977

 

Adm. Sudomo announces that a plot against the government by an Islamic group called "Komando Jihad" has been stopped.

May Golkar wins 2/3 of vote in elections; PPP party wins majority in Jakarta. PPP alleges fraud in Central Java, East Java and South Sulawesi.

Adam Malik becomes Vice-President.

Ali Sadikin retires as governor of Jakarta.

Indonesia lands paratroopers in Baliem Valley, Irian Jaya, to stop OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka) raids.

September ABRI begins heavy operations against Fretilin on East Timor--operations continue for 18 months.

November 10 Student protests are held around the country on Hari Pahlawan (anniversary of the Battle of Surabaya, 1945).

December Release of many remaining prisoners from 1965 events begins.

December 12 Nasution speaks against the government at a public rally of Muslims in Jakarta.

The leader of the "Komando Jihad" was later shown to have ties with ABRI intelligence. Some said that the whole affair might have been manufactured to discredit the Islamic PPP party before the elections.


Rhoma Irama

In the late 1970s, two new waves of popular music swept Indonesia. From Bandung, a new and sensual sound called Jaipongan arrived about 1976. Another new development was the explosion of Dangdut, popular music from singers such as Rhoma Irama, that showed both Arabic and rock influences, and expressed the disaffection of Muslim youths.

1978

 

January 18 Student council at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) issues Buku Putih or "White Book", an extensive paper criticizing the government, and calling for Suharto to be replaced. Dharsono gives speech in Bandung saying that the military should be more responsive to the people's desires.

February Government troops occupy ITB campus. Student leaders are arrested in Bandung, Yogya, Surabaya, Jakarta, and Medan. The "White Book" is banned. Many newspapers are shut down for a week.

Sultan of Yogya announces that he will not run for vice-president again.

March 22 Suharto elected by Assembly (MPR) to third term. Adam Malik is vice-president. PPP members walk out over the use of the word "beliefs" rather than "religion" (a perceived motion in favor of "kebatinan" and against orthodox Islam).

"P4" courses in Pancasila are introduced into schools, companies, goverment offices.

March 28 Group of retired ABRI officers, led by Dharsono, complains to army chief of staff about excessive military presence in Jakarta during the Assembly session.

B. J. Habibie becomes Minister for Technology.

July Attorney General's office announces that investigations into the Pertamina affair are over. Ibnu Sutowo is not charged.

October 17 Meeting of top ABRI officers publish paper on dwifungsi doctrine, stating that the military should probably reduce its presence in civilian life.

Majlis Dakwah Islamiyah is founded as a Muslim organization associated with Golkar.

Use of Chinese characters in almost all printed materials is banned, including labels on imported goods.

Department of Religion forbids members of the five official religions to seek converts from among the other official religions.

See also Notes on Pancasila.

1979

 

Repelita III calls for shift toward manufacturing in the economy, creating more jobs, and closing the gap in income between rich and poor.

May Former Gen. Sumitro publishes article saying that the succession to the presidency should be conducted fairly and openly.

June 1 Vice-President Adam Malik gives a speech saying that the government has make mistakes and violated the spirit of the 1945 constitution, but that dissatisfaction should not lead to violence.

Government allows some foreign aid workers to enter East Timor.

October Legislation is introduced into the Assembly to reform the election laws. Government critics try to increase the number of elected seats in government.

Oil prices jump up again following the Iranian revolution.

December Government issues a series of weekly magazines for distribution in small villages.

Unlike the 1973-1974 oil crisis, the 1979-1980 rise in oil prices led to a huge influx of cash for the Indonesian government.

Repelita III had a goal to bridge the income gap between classes in society, but it did not succeed in this.

1980

 

January Pramoedya Ananta Toer is released from prison, but remains under house arrest.

February "ABRI Masuk Desa" program, involving military involvement in local development, begins.

February 20 A group of 26 politicians and military figures issues a petition for fair elections.

March 27 Suharto tells a meeting of regional ABRI commanders that they should defend their appointed seats in the Assembly, even with force, and that Pancasila should be their most important guiding principles (an idea not well liked by many Muslims).

April Suharto publicly denies charges of corruption and immorality.

May 13 Petisi Limapuluh/Petition of Fifty criticizes Suharto's role in government. The many notable signers include Nasution, Prawiranegara, former governor of Jakarta Ali Sadikin and former Prime Ministers Natsir and Harahap. The petition is not reported in the Indonesian media.

June 3 Government announces discovery of a plot against the government. No charges are filed, but restrictions are placed on the business activities and foreign travel of "Petition of 50" signers.

Procedures for ethnic Chinese to apply for citizenship are reformed.

July Members of PPP and PDI in assembly ask Suharto to respond to the issues in the "Petition of 50".

August Suharto responds to critics in Assembly that existing committees in the Assembly could investigate any issues regarding his speeches or positions. No action is taken.

November 19 Three days of anti-Chinese rioting break out in Surakarta. Violence spreads to Semarang, Pekalongan, and Kudus. Military is brought in to restore order.

The "Petition of Fifty" urged that Indonesia hold free elections without coercion or special privileges. It criticized Suharto for redefining "Pancasila" to mean "loyalty to the president". It asked members of ABRI to put their loyalty to the nation above loyalty to any person or faction.

In March and April of 1980, Suharto gave speeches stating or implying that he was the "embodiment of Pancasila". Some saw his statements as irreligious, others as anti-democratic. These speeches were an important factor that brought together many prominent figures to sign the "Petition of 50".

1981

 

Nusamba corporation (PT Nusantara Ampera Bhakti) is founded with money from Bob Hasan, Suharto's son Sigit Harjoyudanto, and money from Suharto family "Yayasan" or foundations.

Bimantara Group is founded by Suharto's son Bambang Trihatmodjo.

March 11 Radical Muslims attack a police station at Cicendo, Jawa Barat.

March 28 Radical Muslims hijack a Garuda airliner bound from Palembang to Medan. The plane is stormed by Indonesian troops in Bangkok; seven are killed.

World Bank report criticizes the spending of oil money on large-scale industrial projects that create few jobs.

Xanana Gusmao becomes leader of Fretilin.

Even as oil money flowed into Indonesia in the late 1970s and early 1980s (60% of government revenues in 1981 were from oil), foreign investment was falling due to heavy restrictions, and due to the high subsidies for state-owned companies which made private competition difficult.

Within a few years, companies under Bob Hasan would control all of Indonesia's exports of plywood and other forest materials.

1982

 

Forest fires in East Kalimantan.

March 17 New government regulations ban the wearing of jilbab (scarf for Muslim women) in high schools. (Ban is eventually lifted.)

April Nearly one million turn out for PPP rally in Jakarta. Competing Golkar rally is attacked by PPP supporters, who are then fired on by security forces. Seven are killed. Tempo Magazine is closed for two months for reporting on the incident.

May Dwifungsi doctrine for the armed forces becomes law.

May 4 Golkar wins a reported 2/3 of vote in elections. PPP party wins majority of votes in Jakarta. Golkar does not win a majority in Aceh.

September Publication Licenses are replaced by a new Surat Ijin Usaha Penerbitan Pers (SIUPP: Permit to Operate a Media Organization).

November Import controls are instituted for a wide range of agricultural and industrial goods.

Gen. Benny Murdani is appointed head of ABRI.

In 1982, the Indonesian government began expanding existing transmigrasi (resettlement) programs of people from Java and other central islands to include settlement targets in Irian Jaya.

The SIUPP licensing was more harsh than previous censorship. Before, a newspaper which published an article that the government did not like would be shut down. The SIUPP license covered all publications belonging to a corporation, so if one magazine published an article which was banned, the government could use that to stop publication of every newspaper and magazine belonging to that company.

1983

 

March 23 Cease-fire agreement signed between Indonesian government and representatives of Fretilin (East Timor guerillas).

March Suharto elected by Assembly (MPR) to fourth term as President. Umar Wirahadikusumah is Vice-President.

"Petrus" anti-crime initiative begins in large cities.

May Government announces that it will scale back plans for heavy industry development.

Rupiah devalued due to falling oil prices.

August 31 ABRI resumes attacks on Fretilin in East Timor.

Gen. Murdani becomes head of ABRI.

Sudharmono becomes Golkar chair.

October Golkar membership, originally intended for "functional groups", is opened to the general public. An aggressive membership campaign is started.

Abdurrahman Wahid becomes administrative chair of Nahdlatul Ulama.

By 1983, the economic boost from high oil prices in 1979-1980 had gone away, as the rest of the world fell into recession.

Several thousand people were killed without trial in the "penembakan misterius" or "petrus" events of 1983. Most of those killed were known criminals, taken at night and summarily shot or otherwise disposed of. Often the corpse was left in a public place to serve as an example. While the campaign did lead to a drop in crime rates, some Indonesians were quietly shocked at the brutality and absence of the rule of law in the events--and again in 1989 when Suharto freely stated that it was a "shock therapy" campaign to rid society of "repeat offenders". Rumors said that the real motive behind the campaign was a war between factions in the intelligence services, who had become accustomed to using petty criminals for small jobs. Around 5000 may have been killed as a part of "petrus" from 1983 through 1986.


Xanana Gusmao and an ABRI commander during the brief cease-fire in East Timor in 1983. Gusmao led a low-level guerilla action (Fretilin) against Indonesian forces in East Timor throughout the 1980s. By 1989, the Indonesian government felt comfortable enough to reopen East Timor to foreign travelers. Gusmao was captured in 1992.

1984

 
Repelita IV begins.

Suharto states that all organizations must adopt Pancasila.

May 30 Bill introduced into Assembly that organizations must adopt Pancasila as their doctrine.

Unrest around Jayapura in Irian Jaya; some rebels retreat from Indonesia to Papua New Guinea.

August Radical Islamic speakers give anti-Chinese, anti-Christian and anti-government sermons in poor areas of Jakarta, including Tanjung Priok.

August 20-22 PPP congress accepts Pancasila as guiding doctrine.

September 8-10 Disputes between a local mosque in the Tanjung Priok district of Jakarta and security officers sent to investigate anti-government leafleting turn to violence and arrests. (Mosque leaders accuse soldiers of defiling the mosque by entering with their boots on, and using dirty water to loosen and remove posters from the walls.)

September 12 A demonstration in Tanjung Priok demanding the release of arrested activists is fired on by troops; 63 are killed. General rioting breaks out in the area. Hundreds of arrests are made.

September 18 Group of government critics, including Dharsono, issues paper (Lembaran Putih or "White Report") describing the Tanjung Priok incident.

October 4 Bombing attacks kill two in Jakarta; targets are Bank Central Asia and a shopping center in Glodok, the Chinese quarter.

October 29 Explosions rock an ABRI munitions dump near Jakarta, 15 are killed.

November 8 Dharsono is arrested for subversion.

December Muhammadiyah accepts Pancasila as doctrine.

December 8 Nahdlaturl Ulama, under Abdurrahman Wahid, accepts Pancasila as doctrine.

December 22 Assembly passes law requiring all political parties to adopt Pancasila as doctrine.

December 24 Church bombings in East Java.

The Tanjung Priok incident remains a sore point to this day. The head of ABRI at that time was Gen. Benny Moerdani, a Christian. The response of moderate Islamic politicians was to call for a freer and more equitable society, while a minority of radical Muslims used the incident to justify the scapegoating of Christians and Chinese that had helped spark the tragedy in the first place. The exact details of the events leading up to the shootings are difficult to determine (the "Lembaran Putih" and the statements of Gen. Moerdani agree on the broad facts, but disagree on hundreds of small details), but that unarmed civilians died after being fired on by troops cannot be disputed.

In October and November, a series of spectacular fires occurred in and around Jakarta, causing expensive, but scattered, property damage. No cause was ever reported.

In 1984, the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta was completed. It was later reported that Sigit Harjoyudanto, a son of President Suharto, had pocketed over US$78 million in cost overruns from the project.

1985

 

January 10 Trials begin for those arrested during and after the Tanjung Priok incident.

January 21 Radical Muslims explode bombs at Borobudur, damaging the monument.

All labor unions are merged into SPSI.

Nahdatul Ulama votes to leave the PPP party and withdraw from politics.

April 1 VAT (value added tax) is introduced.

May 1 Customs service is contracted out to Société Générale de Surveillance, a private Swiss firm, in an attempt to stop corruption.

May Government issues first public financial report on Pertamina in ten years.

Assembly passes law requiring all organizations to adopt Pancasila.

June Trials against Islamic activists occur across Java.

July Mysterious fires destroy several buildings in Jakarta, including the state radio and TV stations.

August Hundreds of alleged PKI supporters are removed from government jobs. Many PKI prisoners from the 1965 events are executed.

Ginanjar Kartasasmita is named to head Capital Investment Coordinating Agency, which permits or restricts foreign investments.

 

1986

 

March 24 Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam meets at Medan and accepts Pancasila as doctrine, under pressure from the government; organization splits over the issue.

April 10 Sydney Morning Herald publishes article on corruption by Suharto and his family.

April 30 U.S. President Reagan visits Indonesia; two reporters in the entourage are denied entry.

May Relations between Indonesia and Australia deteriorate due to the Sydney Morning Herald article. Plane of Australian tourists is turned back at Denpasar, Bali.

May 6 Fiscal and monetary reforms are instituted.

September Rupiah devalued again; oil prices hit bottom; exports begin growing.

October Friendship treaty between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

October World Bank issues report critical of the government's transmigrasi campaigns.

October 9 Sinar Harapan newspaper is banned.

Jakarta authorities order becaks off of city streets; 20,000 becaks are dumped in the sea.

 

1987

 

April 23 Golkar receives 3/4 of vote in elections.

Number of seats in Assembly (DPR) is increased. Of 500 members, 100 are appointed ABRI officers.

Gold rush in East Kalimantan province.

Citra Lamtoro Gung Group, a business consortium headed by Suharto's daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana (or "Tutut"), is granted a concession to build a toll road in Jakarta, beating out two more competitive bids.

December 10 Pelajar Islam Indonesia organization is banned due to its opposition to taking Pancasila as a guiding doctrine.

December 25 Government announces that most regulations on exports will be dropped, many other economic reforms.

 

1988

 

January 5 Government budget reveals that 36% of projected income for the year will go to service the national debt.

March 10 Suharto is elected by the Assembly (MPR) to a fifth term as President. Sudharmono is Vice-President.

March Ali Alatas is foreign minister.

May Gunung Api on Banda erupts.

Freeport-McMoran, after a period of lesser returns from its copper mining in Irian Jaya, begins to step up activities again after the discovery of new copper, silver and gold fields.

August The RCTI television service, owned by Suharto's son Bambang Trihatmojo, begins broadcasting in Jakarta.

September 5 Kopkamtib security force, established during events of 1965, headed by Gen. Murdani, is replaced by Bakorstanas, headed by Gen. Try Sutrisno. Unlike Kopkamtib, Bakorstanas is answerable directly to President Suharto.

October 27 Banking deregulation is instituted; banks are allowed to open branches outside the cities. Capital markets and foreign investment are partially deregulated. Economic liberalization takes hold.

November 21 Import controls are loosened; shipping and trade are partially deregulated. Economy starts rapid growth.

November 28 Government announces restrictions on the activities of foreign missionaries.

Sudharmono is replaced as Golkar chair under army pressure, but is chosen by Suharto to be Vice-President.

Gen. Benny Murdani is removed as head of ABRI, but is made defense minister. Try Sutrisno becomes head of ABRI.

 

1989

 

February 6-8 Army suppresses clash over land rights in Lampung; as many as 100 are killed.

March Clandestine operations against rebels in Irian Jaya begin; continue through August.

March 7 Hamengkubuwono X becomes Sultan of Yogyakarta.

March 10 Riots in Lhokseumawe, Aceh.

April Ten Batak women are sentenced to six months in prison for cutting down trees belonging to Indorayon in the Tapanuli area of North Sumatra. The trees had been planted on traditional grazing lands.

June Government audit shows that two-thirds of state-run businesses are financially unsound.

July 4 The International Coffee Organization eliminates its quota system for exports. The change leads to much higher coffee exports from Indonesia, but also to lower prices due to oversupply.

East Timor reopened to foreign tourists; restrictions on internal travel are lifted.

August A theatrical retelling of the trial of Syekh Sitti Jenar from 500 years earlier, to be performed in Yogyakarta, is cancelled by the police.

Clash between Islamic activists and ABRI troops at Bima.

Repelita V begins.

September Suharto visits Moscow.

October Censorship board is founded to make recommendations to the Attorney General regarding bans on books and publications. Members include the ABRI and intelligence officers.

October 12 Pope visits East Timor. Riots in Dili.


Economic growth started to speed up in 1989, with a variety of moves toward economic liberalization. Some government figures called for free markets and globalization, while others called for subsidizing development in the national interest.

In 1989, clashes between the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM), supporting independence for Aceh, and ABRI troops became more frequent. Aceh was declared a "daerah operasi militer" under martial law.

1990

 

January SCTV private television station begins broadcasting in Surabaya.

Indonesia and China restore diplomatic ties.

March Suharto gathers 30 of the top businessmen in Indonesia to his ranch in West Java, and tells them publicly that they should sell up to 25% of their businesses to "cooperatives".

April Indonesia and Papua New Guinea sign security agreement.

April Inflation fears lead the central bank to tighten the money supply. Interest rates rise sharply; the stock market in Jakarta begins a steep fall.

June Indonesian forces pursue Irian Jaya rebels into Papua New Guinea territory.

July 14 RCTI television, owned by Suharto's son Bambang Trihatmojo, is given permission to broadcast as a normal television service without requiring a decoder.

August Military command in North Sumatra bans a Batak Protestant legal aid foundation and cancels a regional church conference.

September Clashes between Indonesian forces and OPM guerillas around Skouw, east of Jayapura.

Bank Duta announces losses of US$420 million from foreign exchange trading. At the time, Bank Duta was 70% owned by charities or "yayasan" connected with President Suharto. Chinese-Indonesian businessmen Liem Sioe Liong and Prajogo Pangestu put up US$490 million to cover the losses.

October Indonesia and Papua New Guinea ratify the April security agreement.

October 17 Police in Jakarta cancel the theater license for the comedy "Suksesi", about a king who is unable to choose a successor.

October 22 Demonstrations in Yogya against the conviction of a Universitas Gadjah Madah student for distributing works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

October 23 Publication license for the entertainment tabloid Monitor is revoked without the usual prior warnings, for publishing a popularity poll that ranked several celebrities and political figures over the prophet Muhammad, following several days of street protests in Jakarta by Muslim organizations against the Catholic editor and owners of Monitor.

October Indonesia threatens to boycott goods from European countries that follow a European Parliament resolution to ban timber imports from Sarawak in Malaysia due to deforestation.

November 11 President Suharto leaves on a two-week trip to Japan, China and Vietnam.

November 14 70 Indonesian soldiers are killed in a battle with Fretilin guerillas near Ainaro, East Timor. Army lands several thousand reinforcements later in the month.

November 15 Earthquake near Medan.

November 20 The International Herald Tribune and Asian Wall Street Journal are pulled from distribution in Indonesia due to articles on the business enterprises of the Suharto family.

November 28 A run of the play "Opera Kecoa" is closed just before opening day by police in Jakarta.

November 29 Bajaj drivers in Jakarta protest government attempts to ban them from central thoroughfares.

December Bank Umum Majapahit Jaya collapses, leaving unpaid obligations to several other commercial banks in Jakarta. Small runs on several banks follow.

December 7 B.J. Habibie founds ICMI at a conference at Universitas Brawijaya in Malang.

December 13 Japan pledges a US$1.2 billion aid package for Indonesia.

December 29 Government decree requires cigarette manufacturers to buy all cloves from a new Clove Support and Trading Board at set prices starting January 1. The Board is primarily controlled by a company owned by Tommy Suharto, thus giving him an effective monopoly on the clove trade.

ICMI (the Indonesian Association of Muslim Intellectuals) received encouragement from Suharto as a competitor to Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, organizations that were beyond the government's control.

Unrest in Aceh continued in 1990, with hundreds of officially unexplained killings and disappearances. Some cases involved military pressure on GAM forces and supporting villages; others involved GAM members intimidating transmigrants of Javanese descent and persons with suspected military ties.

1991

 

January 7 Lampung forestry office reports that 35% of protected forest areas in the province have been occupied by squatters.

January 23 Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana (or "Tutut"), daughter of Suharto, founds the TPI television network. TPI is allowed to use state-run TVRI facilities without charge.

Indonesia begins hosting talks on Spratly Islands dispute.

Protests by Muslims over a proposed government lottery.

April Democracy Forum founded, led by Abdurrahman Wahid of NU.

October 30 Bank Mualamat Indonesia is founded for observant Muslims, with significant support from Suharto and B.J. Habibie.

November 12 Unrest in East Timor; soldiers fire on demonstrators in Dili, resulting in over 200 dead.

 

1992

 

March 200,000 attend mass NU rally in Jakarta.

March PT Manajeman Musyarakah Indonesia is founded by Sri Bintang Pamungkas of ICMI as an organization to help link Muslim small businessmen with sources of capital.

Indonesia and Papua New Guinea officials meet to discuss the disposition of more than 6000 refugees that had fled Irian Jaya to Papua New Guinea after fighting between Indonesian forces and rebels.

April Suharto abolishes IGGI consortium of foreign-aid organizations; tells Dutch in particular to "go to hell" with aid.

May 8 Informal meeting at Depok among university and private telecommunications experts leads to plans for connecting Indonesia to the Internet. (The attendees would later be known as the "Paguyuban" group.)

Bob Hasan acquires 80% of Nusamba corporation, with interests in finance, energy paper mills, and the Freeport mining operations in Irian Jaya, with no clear indication of how the transaction was financed.

June Golkar wins 70% of vote in elections. PPP gains 17%.

Bank Summa collapses.

September Indonesia takes chairmanship of Non-Aligned Movement for three years.

November 20 Xanana Gusmao is captured in East Timor and sentenced to life in prison. Fretilin rebellion weakens.

December 12 Severe earthquake hits Flores; 2200 are killed.

The Dutch and other western countries had been pressuring the Indonesian government on human rights issues. Suharto's "go to hell" remark was a reminder of the aggressive (and popular) stance against foreign influence that Sukarno took in the 1950s.

1993

 
January Pressure from rank and file in PDI not to renominate Suharto for president is deflected by PDI head Suryadi.

Natsir passes away.

March Suharto elected by Assembly to sixth term; shuffles cabinet, B.J. Habibie and Ginanjar Kartasasmita gain prestige. Try Sutrisno is Vice-President.

March 4 The .id Internet domain for Indonesia is established.

President Suharto ends the state monopoly on telecommunications by PT Telkom. Licenses for international direct-dial and mobile phone services are awarded to Satelindo, a company controlled by Suharto's son Bambang Trihatmodjo. Satelindo is not asked to make any payment for the licenses.

The Indonesian Film Festival is cancelled, due to a lack of domestic films to show.

Feisal Tanjung becomes head of ABRI.

May Leader of OPM (Irian Jaya rebels, Organisasi Papua Merdeka) Marthen Luther Prawar is killed in a clash with Indonesian forces.

October Harmoko becomes Golkar chairman.

December Megawati Sukarnoputri is chosen as the new chair of the PDI party.


In 1993, Suharto's government issued 50000 Rupiah banknotes with Suharto's own portrait on them, describing him as "Bapak Pembangunan Indonesia", or the "father of Indonesian development". The notes were withdrawn from circulation after his resignation a few years later.

1994

 

April Tommy Suharto founds the Goro supermarket chain, and the Central Village Cooperative, a government-run organization for farmers, with US$100 million in loans from Bank Bumi Daya. (The loans are never repaid.)

June State-run IPTEKnet for science and technology becomes the first Internet service provider in Indonesia.

Government cancels the publishing license for "Tempo", the largest magazine in Indonesia; the magazine continued to be published on the Internet.

November Indonesia is APEC chair for 1994, hosting a summit conference at Bogor. Bogor Declaration calls for free trade and investment throughout the APEC nations by 2020.

Repelita VI begins.

In late 1994 and early 1995, there were reports that Indonesian forces had killed as many as 37 people who were protesting the activities of the Freeport copper mine in Irian Jaya.

1995

 

February Sri Bintang Pamungkas is expelled from the PPP party for criticizing the government.

August 16 Subandrio and former Air Force head Omar Dhani are released from prison.

Toll road concessions belonging to companies under Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana (or "Tutut"), a daughter of President Suharto, are extended through the year 2024.

September Christian mobs burn down homes and shops belonging to Muslims in Dili and other cities in East Timor.

October OPM rebels burn the Indonesian consulate in Vanimo, Papua New Guinea. Raids along the border continue through November.

December East Timorese protesters invade several foreign embassies in Jakarta.

 

1996

 

February Hotel and restaurant owners on Bali refuse to buy beer after a company owned by Suharto's grandson Ari Sigit Suharto receives a license to collect taxes on each bottle of beer sold. The tax is revoked.

April 28 First lady Ibu Tien Suharto passes away.

May Wealthy businessman Eddy Tansil, in jail for corruption, disappears from jail under mysterious circumstances.

May 8 Sri Bintang Pamungkas, an opposition politician, is sentenced to 34 months in jail for "insulting the president" in a speech given in Berlin.

June Split in the PDI party: a pro-Suharto faction meets in rump convention in Medan and chooses Suryadi as leader; a Megawati faction regroups in Jakarta.

July 27 Offices of the pro-Megawati PDI faction in Jakarta are raided by police and troops, sparking riots in Jakarta. Several dozen are killed or disappear in the chaos.

October Anti-Christian violence in Situbondo, East Java.

November Bishop Belo of East Timor and Jose Ramos-Horta, a Fretilin overseas advocate, are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

December 26 Anti-Christian riots in Tasikmalaya, West Java.

During 1996, Suharto's son Sigit Harjoyudanto and daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana ("Tutut") competed for rights to develop the Busang gold field in Kalimantan Barat province. Both of them had foreign partners: Sigit's partner was Barrick Gold; Tutut's partner was the Bre-X Minerals. The reports of rich gold fields turned out to be fraudulent, and thousands of foreign investors lost money on the scheme, notably many Canadians.

1997

 

Forest fires on Sumatra and Kalimantan spread haze across the region.

Ethnic violence breaks out in West Kalimantan between Dayaks and Madurese settlers; as many as 1000 are killed.

March Sri Bintang Pamungkas, having been released pending appeal, is arrested again on subversion charges for founding a reformist political party.

May Golkar gets 74% of the vote in tightly-controlled elections.

July Financial crisis in Thailand begins period of economic troubles across Asia. The Indonesian rupiah begins to fall along with other regional currencies.

Suharto's grandson Ari Sigit Suharto starts planning his "national shoe project", which would require all Indonesian schoolchildren to buy school shoes from his company.

October Rupiah falls below Rp 4000 to US$1.

Indonesian government asks International Monetary Fund for aid.

November IMF approves loan package for Indonesia which requires Indonesia to reform its economy, end many state subsidies and reduce cronyism. Many Suharto family enterprises are affected by the requirements of the loan package, including Tommy Suharto's monopoly on the clove trade, which is required to be cancelled.

December Rumors persist that President Suharto is ill. Rupiah goes into free-fall against world currencies.

 

January 1998

January Suharto announces yearly budget with heavy subsidies for pet projects contrary to the conditions for receiving IMF aid. IMF director Camdessus goes to Jakarta to get Suharto to sign a fresh letter of intent to fulfill the IMF obligations.

Rupiah falls to Rp 17000 to US$1 on the news that B. J. Habibie, a longtime supporter and beneficiary of government subsidized industries, is likely to be the next Vice-President, then recovers back to 12000. Almost all Indonesian businesses that have borrowed from foreign banks are now technically bankrupt.

January 24 Riots begin to break out in East Java over rising food prices.

 

February 1998

February 2 Riots in Donggala, Sulawesi, and Pasuruan, East Java.

February 7 Riots on Sumbawa.

February 9 Riots on Flores.

February 12 Riots in several West Java cities.

February 14 Rioting on Lombok. Violence continues in West Java towns. Shops close in Bandung.

February 18 Thousands riot in Kendari, Sulawesi.

Suharto names General Wiranto to the be new head of ABRI.

Suharto considers a plan to form a "currency board" in order to stabilize the rupiah. Despite much skepticism, the rupiah rises almost to Rp 8000 to US$1. Suharto fires the governor of the central bank. IMF threatens to cut off funds if the currency board is implemented.

 

March 1998

March Suharto is elected by assembly to another five-year term. Habibie is the new Vice-President.

Large student protests take place across Java and in Ujung Pandang.


IPTN aircraft manufacturing plant in Bandung. IPTN was a pet project of B. J. Habibie.

April 1998

April Protests continue on university campuses across Indonesia.

Protests in Medan lead to rioting, looting and arson. Gen. Wiranto warns against anarchy.

Amien Rais says he is willing to lead a "People Power" movement for change.

 
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