By Keith Morgan, 20 March 1999
Bank workers across Indonesia have begun protest action following the government's closure of 38 banks last Saturday. According to the newspaper Kompas, 17,000 workers found themselves redundant and their entitlements slashed when they turned up for work on Monday. In banks where they have been locked out, workers staged sit-ins and made up placards attacking bank owners for refusing to pay adequate redundancy packages.
Under conditions of social breakdown
By Peter Symonds, 17 March 1999
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced last Thursday that Portuguese and Indonesian representatives had agreed to a "direct" ballot for the people of East Timor to decide on an autonomy plan being drawn up by the Indonesian regime. If the autonomy proposals are rejected, Indonesian President Habibie has stated that Indonesia will withdraw from the former Portuguese colony, which it invaded in 1975 and annexed in 1976.
A conspiracy against the East Timorese
By Peter Symonds, 5 March 1999
The pace of diplomatic manoeuvres over the future of East Timor is accelerating. Over the last week, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has engaged in a frantic round of talks with his Indonesian counterpart Ali Alatas, as well as President Habibie; East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao, who is under house arrest in Jakarta; and Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama, whom he met just outside Lisbon. At the same time, senior Australian Foreign Affairs officials were sent to the US for talks with the UN Secretary General and the Clinton administration.
By Peter Symonds, 4 March 1999
Between 25,000 and 50,000 bank workers in Indonesia are facing retrenchment if the government proceeds with plans for the closure of an estimated 40 banks. The extensive restructuring of the banking system is one of the demands made by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank in return for loans and aid packages.
By Peter Symonds, 24 February 1999
Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri used a large rally in Jakarta, called to launch her party, the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) Struggle, as an opportunity to strongly oppose the granting of any form of independence to East Timor. About 120,000 supporters, decked out in the party's red colours, filled the capital's Senayan Main Stadium on February 15.
By Mike Head, 20 February 1999
After a year-long saga, the Habibie government in Indonesia has given the US mining company Freeport McMoRan approval to almost double production at the Grassberg copper, silver and copper operation in West Papua (Irian Jaya). With reserves valued at $40 billion, the Freeport project is the largest single gold deposit in the world and the third largest open-cut copper mine.
By Peter Symonds, 19 February 1999
Recent remarks by Indonesian President B.J. Habibie openly accusing the Singapore government of racism have sparked a regional furore and drawn sharp opposition from Malay politicians and newspapers in Singapore, Indonesian human rights groups, politicians and others.
By Keith Morgan, 17 February 1999
Just over a week after the cargo ship Artha Rimba (Health of the Forest) sank on February 6 in the South China Sea, hopes of finding any of the 305 missing passengers is remote. Only 20 people, including the captain, have been rescued, after floating at sea for up to four days. Most of the passengers were workers from West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) lured on board with the promise of jobs in Sumatra.
By Mike Head, 12 February 1999
The Indonesian government's transfer of jailed East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao to a form of house arrest this week is another indication of an unstable and unravelling political situation in Indonesia, as well as intense international manoeuvres over the future of East Timor itself. It also points to the trajectory of Fretilin, the Timorese secessionist movement.
A caricature of democracy:
By Peter Symonds, 4 February 1999
After months of debate and haggling, the Indonesian parliament last week passed a series of amended political laws, which establish the framework for national elections on June 7. The legislation sets out in detail the new composition of the parliamentary bodies, the rules governing the election and the functioning of political parties.
By Mike Head, 3 February 1999
Under economic and political pressure from the Western powers to reach a settlement with the East Timorese leadership, the Habibie regime in Indonesia last week announced an abrupt shift in policy on its 23-year occupation of the former Portuguese colony. Following a cabinet meeting on political and security issues, two key ministers long associated with the annexation of East Timor held a media conference at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta to announce that Indonesia might suddenly pull out of the territory.
By Gadis Mardai, 30 January 1999
Rioting by Christian and Muslim gangs on the Indonesian island of Ambon over the last week has left at least 100 people dead and 140 injured according to local aid groups. Thousands of riot police and troops have been deployed to the islands of Ambon, Sanana and Seram in the Maluku province of Indonesia, located about 2,300 kilometres east of Jakarta. Major General Amir Sembiring last Saturday ordered troops to shoot on sight anyone carrying weapons and refusing to surrender them.
By Mike Head, 23 January 1999
Rarely does a veteran diplomat reveal the real concerns driving the foreign policy manoeuvres of a government he has served for decades. Such is the case, however, with an article that appeared in the Australian Financial Review this week written by Richard Woolcott, a former Australian ambassador to Indonesia and then secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
By Gadis Mardai, 6 January 1999
Indonesian security forces fired into crowds of protesters in the northern Sumatran province of Aceh on Sunday, killing nine civilians and wounding many more. The troops moved to crush an outpouring of discontent against the regime in Jakarta, which saw an angry crowd of 3,000 burn down a police station and government buildings in the industrial town of Lhokseumawe, 1,000 miles northwest of the Indonesian capital.
As anti-government protests continue
By Peter Symonds, 19 December 1998
By Peter Symonds, 9 December 1998
Eye-witness account of West Papua massacre - "We saw terrible slum-like conditions and a very strong army presence"
By Mike Head, 1 December 1998
Eye-witness account of West Papua massacre
By Mike Head, 28 November 1998
By Peter Symonds, 25 November 1998
A first-hand account
By Mike Head, 20 November 1998
By Peter Symonds, 17 November 1998
The real face of the Habibie regime
By Peter Symonds, 14 November 1998
Surrounded by armed troops and police
By Peter Symonds, 12 November 1998
A few days in Surabaya:
By a correspondent, 3 November 1998
By Peter Symonds, 30 October 1998
By Peter Symonds, 29 October 1998
By our correspondent, 17 October 1998
By Mike Head, 16 October 1998
Thousands rally at Indonesian PDI congress
By Mike Head, 10 October 1998
Megawati Sukarnoputri, widely touted by the Western media as Indonesia's next president, pledged to uphold the
Portrait of a political operator
By Peter Symonds, 7 October 1998
By Peter Symonds, 17 September 1998
By Mike Head, 9 September 1998
By Mike Head, 8 September 1998
By Mike Head, 5 September 1998
ILO report predicts:
By Peter Symonds, 3 September 1998
By Peter Symonds, 30 August 1998
Thousands killed in Aceh
By Mike Head, 28 August 1998
By Carolyn Divjak, 26 August 1998
By Mike Head, 12 August 1998
By Peter Symonds, 8 August 1998
Three Indonesian generals are to be investigated by a military court over the abduction, detention and torture of political activists.
By Mike Head, 30 July 1998
Impoverished Indonesian workers and small farmers are looting shops, warehouses and plantations, and seizing landed estates despite warnings they will be shot by the military.
As poverty and unemployment grow
By Peter Symonds, 11 July 1998
By Peter Symonds, 26 June 1998
The Indonesian army deployed at least 25,000 troops in the capital Jakarta this week as members of the Indonesian Labour Welfare Union (SBSI) planned to hold a June 24 rally and march against the Habibie regime.
Former US Ambassador Marshall Green dead at 82
By Mike Head, 26 June 1998
A former US Ambassador to Indonesia and Australia, Marshall Green, one of the key participants in the 1965-66 military coup which brought General Suharto to power, died of a heart attack in Washington on June 6. He was 82.
By Mike Head, 13 June 1998
Some of the biggest American, European and Japanese transnational corporations have demanded--in no uncertain terms--that the regime headed by President B. J. Habibie protect their multi-billion-dollar investments in Indonesia that involve partnerships with Suharto family members.
Unrest grows in Indonesia
By Mike Head, 9 June 1998
Indonesia's current President, B.J. Habibie, has reiterated his determination to cling to office until at least the end of 1999 and to carry out the tough measures called for by the $US43 billion International Monetary Fund bailout package.
By Mike Head, 5 June 1998
In the face of growing demands for the seizure of the colossal fortunes amassed by officials of the Suharto regime, including the ex-president and his family, the government headed by Suharto's life-long protege, B. J. Habibie, this week announced a vague, internal probe.
By Mike Head, 5 June 1998
Through his wife, sons and daughters and other relatives, Suharto has built vast interlocking billion-dollar empires in property, banking, industry, telecommunications, media and transport.
Amidst deepening social crisis
By Peter Symonds, 4 June 1998
The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Asia Pacific Director Hubert Neiss has just completed a visit to Jakarta for talks with the Indonesian regime and opposition figures such as Islamic leader Amien Rais over the country's ongoing economic, political and social crisis.
2 June 1998
By Mike Head 2 June 1998
Protests re-emerge amid economic turmoil in Indonesia
By Mike Head, 30 May 1998
Opposition figures in Indonesia, including Islamic leader Amien Rais, have cleared the way for President Habibie to attempt to cling to office, heading a thinly veiled military dictatorship, for at least 18 months.
By Mike Head, 28 May 1998
Key bourgeois opposition figures are propping up Indonesian President Habibie while urging him to call elections within a year and refusing to join his government.
By Mike Head, 28 May 1998
An unknown number of political prisoners -- thousands at least -- languish in the Indonesian dictatorship's jails, including those in East Timor and Iran Jaya (West Papua). Whereas the regime and the corporate media speak of 200 political prisoners, even official legal aid spokesmen admit the numbers are far greater.
By Peter Symonds, 26 May 1998
Just four days after the resignation of Suharto and the installation of B.J. Habibie as president, the political situation in Indonesia is highly unstable. The real power behind the new regime remains the Indonesian military, and its forces continue to patrol the streets.
By Mike Head, 26 May 1998
Reports have begun to emerge detailing some of the business interests of the recently installed Indonesian President Jusuf Habibie. As an intimate protege of Suharto and a senior government minister for two decades, Habibie and his family have accumulated a fortune estimated at $US60 million through interests in chemicals, construction, real estate, transport and communications.
Leader of the bourgeois opposition
By Peter Symonds, 23 May 1998
The leader of the Muslim group Muhammadiyah is being groomed as a replacement for the Suharto regime that can be trusted to defend capitalist interests.
What are the social and political tasks facing the masses?
By Editorial Board, 23 May 1998
The formal resignation of Suharto has underscored the fact that the problems of political repression, unemployment, poverty, ethnic and religious discrimination and imperialist domination have far deeper roots than the avarice and corruption of an individual ruler.
26 March 1998
The Malaysian and Singapore governments are intensifying their persecution of impoverished workers fleeing from Indonesia in search of work.
By Peter Symonds, 28 February 1998
Indonesia is in political and social turmoil in the lead-up to next week’s meeting of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR).
By Peter Symonds, 20 February 1998
For three decades, since coming to power in one of the bloodiest military coups of the 20th century, the Suharto regime has ruthlessly maintained its grip over Indonesia.
By Peter Symonds, 17 February 1998
In what appears to be a closely coordinated operation, the US administration and the International Monetary Fund have warned the Suharto regime in Indonesia to drop plans to peg the rupiah to the American dollar.
By Peter Symonds, 14 February 1998
In recent weeks riots have erupted across Indonesia in response to a sharp rise in prices produced by the collapse of the national currency, the rupiah, and the country’s deepening economic crisis.
By Peter Symonds, 31 January 1998
Plans by the Suharto regime for a voluntary three-month freeze on repayments of more than US$65 billion in private debt received a cool reception at a meeting of international bankers in Singapore on January 27.
23 January 1998
The Suharto government has agreed to severe austerity measures after the International Monetary Fund threatened to withhold credits from its $33 billion package, sending the Indonesian rupiah and share prices plunging.
31 December 1969