Indonesia: Racial killings in Kalimantan fostered by government policy

By Peter Symonds, 6 April 1999

In response to the demands of ethnic leaders in West Kalimantan, Indonesian authorities are preparing to relocate thousands of Madurese settlers caught up in bitter racial clashes in the province. Fighting over the last month has left scores dead and many more homeless.

More than 200 dead and 30,000 homeless

Tensions high on Indonesian island of Ambon

By Peter Symonds, 23 March 1999

Tensions remain high on the Indonesian island of Ambon, after two months of clashes between armed Christian and Muslim gangs that have left at least 200 dead and many more injured, and devastated large sections of Ambon City and other areas.

Political observations from Bandung, Indonesia

By a WSWS reader

20 March 1999

The following personal observations were sent to the World Socialist Web Site from a reader in Bandung, Indonesia's third largest city, after Jakarta and Surabaya. With a population of more than two million, Bandung has a substantial working class and student population at the long-established Institute of Technology and other universities. The reports provide an insight into the conditions facing workers and the discussion taking place in the lead-up to national elections scheduled for June 7.

Indonesian bank workers protest closures and job losses

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

UN talks propose autonomy ballot for East Timor

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

UN intervention into East Timor being prepared

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.

Up to 50,000 bank workers face retrenchment in Indonesia

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.

Indonesian opposition leader Megawati opposes East Timor independence

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.

Freeport obtains Indonesian approval to expand world's largest gold mine

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.

Indonesian president lashes out at Singapore as 'racist'

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.

More than 300 dead in Indonesian shipping disaster

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.

Indonesia transfers East Timor leader to house arrest

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:

New political laws passed in Indonesia

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.

Indonesia issues an "independence" ultimatum on East Timor

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.

Ambon rioting leaves 100 dead in Indonesia

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.

East Timor and the politics of oil

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.

Nine civilians killed by Indonesian troops in Aceh

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

Indonesian regime resorts to brutal police measures

By Peter Symonds, 19 December 1998


A growing loss of confidence in the Habibie regime

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"

Part 2

By Mike Head, 1 December 1998

Eye-witness account of West Papua massacre

"People were shot, bleeding and lying on the ground"

Part 1

By Mike Head, 28 November 1998

Religious rioting leaves 14 dead in Jakarta

By Peter Symonds, 25 November 1998

Massacre in West Papua

A first-hand account

By Mike Head, 20 November 1998

Protests continue despite military crackdown in Indonesia

By Peter Symonds, 17 November 1998

The real face of the Habibie regime

Indonesian security forces kill students in Jakarta clashes

By Peter Symonds, 14 November 1998

Surrounded by armed troops and police

Indonesian assembly discusses national elections

By Peter Symonds, 12 November 1998

A few days in Surabaya:

The rich and poor of Indonesia

By a correspondent, 3 November 1998

Student protests call for Indonesian president to resign

By Peter Symonds, 30 October 1998

Huge military mobilisation to block Indonesian protests

By Peter Symonds, 29 October 1998

On-the-spot report:

Mega fever in Bali

By our correspondent, 17 October 1998

Indonesian generals and businessmen join Megawati's camp

By Mike Head, 16 October 1998

Thousands rally at Indonesian PDI congress

Megawati pledges an "open market"

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

Australian tour by Indonesian opposition leader Amien Rais

By Peter Symonds, 7 October 1998

IMF, Indonesia abolish food subsidies

By Peter Symonds, 17 September 1998

Indonesian students demand Habibie's resignation

By Mike Head, 9 September 1998

Australian military readied to intervene in Indonesia

By Mike Head, 8 September 1998

Tensions mount over oil-rich Timor

By Mike Head, 5 September 1998

ILO report predicts:

Two thirds of Indonesians to be in poverty by mid-1999

By Peter Symonds, 3 September 1998

Indonesian military dismisses Suharto's son-in-law

By Peter Symonds, 30 August 1998

Mass graves begin to reveal scale of atrocities in Indonesia

Thousands killed in Aceh

By Mike Head, 28 August 1998

Indonesian hospitals head toward breakdown

By Carolyn Divjak, 26 August 1998

Habibie unveils plan to maintain political restrictions in Indonesia

By Mike Head, 12 August 1998

Indonesian military puts generals on trial

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.

Looting and land seizures in Indonesia

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

Indonesian regime fires on workers and protesters

By Peter Symonds, 11 July 1998

Army crackdown halts Indonesian union protest

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

A key participant in Indonesian massacre

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.

Multinationals demand that Indonesian President Habibie protect their assets

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

Habibie pledges to implement IMF program

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.

Growing demands for the seizure of Suharto's empire

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.

The Suharto financial dynasty

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

IMF dictates terms to Indonesia

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.

Indonesian regime to retain ban on socialist parties

2 June 1998

By Mike Head 2 June 1998

Protests re-emerge amid economic turmoil in Indonesia

Opposition leaders try to shore up Habibie

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.


Opposition council offers Habibie advice

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.

Habibie's selective prison releases

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.

Military dominates Habibie's cabinet

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.

Habibie's business empire

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

The elevation of Amien Rais

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.

The struggle for democracy in Indonesia

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.

Thousands of fleeing Indonesian workers detained

26 March 1998

The Malaysian and Singapore governments are intensifying their persecution of impoverished workers fleeing from Indonesia in search of work.

Protests defy Suharto’s repression

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).

A political vacuum in Indonesia

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.

Blunt IMF warning to Suharto

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.

Behind Indonesia’s anti-Chinese riots

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.

Unrest in Indonesia

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.

Indonesia: Cracks in the Suharto regime 

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. 

Letter from a reader

31 December 1969