South East Asia

Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup

Chapter Three: 1965—Stalinism’s bloody legacy

By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009

The Indonesian military coup of October 1-2, 1965 was the outcome of a carefully-orchestrated and long-planned operation by the CIA and the US-trained and backed commanders of the Indonesian armed forces.

Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup

Chapter Four: Pabloite accomplices of counter-revolution

By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009

In the months following the bloody CIA-organised military coup of October 1-2, 1965, every known member and supporter of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and all working class parties, and hundreds of thousands of other Indonesian workers and peasants, were massacred or thrown into concentration camps for torture and interrogation.

Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup

Chapter Five: Pabloites cover up Stalinist treachery

By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009

The crisis of working class leadership was never posed so sharply as in Indonesia between 1963 and 1965. The fate of the Indonesian workers and peasants depended entirely on overcoming and defeating the counter-revolutionary line of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) which bound the working class hand and foot to the tottering bourgeois nationalist regime of Sukarno while the US-backed military prepared for a bloody coup.

Political turmoil wracks northern state in Malaysia

By Dante Pastrana, 15 May 2009

In a protracted power struggle in the northern Malaysian state of Perak, the former chief minister this week was reinstalled in power by a court, then removed within a day.

Thai government offers a small olive branch to opposition parties

By John Roberts, 29 April 2009

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva last Friday lifted the state of emergency imposed to suppress anti-government protests that shut down the ASEAN summit, and called for political reconciliation between his government and the opposition.

Summary executions mount in Philippine city

By Dante Pastrana, 21 April 2009

The number of extra-judicial killings of suspected criminals in Davao city has risen to 888 since 1998. The consensus of human rights organisations is that the murders are the work of a death squad acting in collusion with local government officials.

Indonesian election favours incumbent president

By John Roberts, 20 April 2009

While the outcome of Indonesia’s parliamentary elections on April 9 is yet to be finalised, the preliminary results have followed predictable lines. Three of the major parties secured half the vote and only nine of the 38 parties contesting the poll will be represented in parliament.

Anti-government protestors clash with soldiers in Thai capital

By Peter Symonds, 14 April 2009

Thailand’s protracted political standoff within the ruling elite between supporters and opponents of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra took on a new dimension yesterday as sections of the urban poor joined the protests against the current regime.

Thai government besieged by pro-Thaksin protestors

By Alex Lantier, 13 April 2009

Thailand's military-backed government is teetering on the brink of collapse after protests by supporters of exiled ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra culminated in Saturday's siege and evacuation of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Pattaya.

Indonesia’s elections: a stage-managed affair

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 7 April 2009

Indonesia’s 170 million voters are due to vote in national parliamentary elections on April 9. The poll is dominated by many of the same right-wing parties and political figures that operated under the Suharto dictatorship prior to 1998.

Rising unemployment and poverty in the Philippines

By Dante Pastrana, 6 April 2009

Under the impact of the global recession, Philippine growth rates slowed from 7.3 percent in 2007 to 4.6 percent in 2008 and a further steep decline is expected this year.

Najib Razak to take over as Malaysian prime minister

By Dante Pastrana, 2 April 2009

Najib Razak is due to be sworn in tomorrow as Malaysia’s new prime minister following his election as president of the ruling UMNO party. Despite his near unanimous approval, UMNO continues to be wracked by sharp internal tensions.

Indonesian dam collapse disaster leaves 100 dead

By Patrick O'Connor, 30 March 2009

A dam in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, burst last Friday, destroying hundreds of homes. The official death toll stands at 97; another 102 people are officially listed as missing. The number of missing persons could be higher, however, as many of the area’s residents are believed to be university students temporarily renting rooms.

Mass layoffs predicted as Indonesian economy slows

By a correspondent, 22 January 2009

Millions of Indonesian workers face being laid-off this year because of the impact of the global economic breakdown.

More than 60 dead in New Year’s Eve fire in Bangkok

By Dragan Stankovic, 6 January 2009

Up to 1,000 people were packed into the Santika nightclub in Bangkok on New Year’s Eve when a fire broke out. The building was a fire trap, which lacked adequate fire prevention and safety measures, including sufficient emergency exits.

New Thai prime minister takes office amid continuing protests

By John Roberts, 31 December 2008

Blocked by protestors from entering parliament, newly-installed Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva delivered his first policy speech yesterday at the foreign ministry building three kilometres away and a day later than intended.

East Timor: Political tensions mount over Greater Sunrise gas pipeline

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 December 2008

A long-standing dispute over the route of a proposed oil and gas pipeline and the location of a refinery has triggered further turmoil in the unstable coalition government in East Timor.

Third new Thai government installed in four months

By John Roberts, 18 December 2008

A special session of the Thai parliament on Monday voted in Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the third new prime minister in four months. While the former opposition leader has a parliamentary majority and the backing of Thailand’s traditional elites, including the military, his government is likely to be as unstable as its predecessors.

Thai military plays key role in forming new government

By John Roberts, 11 December 2008

After intense behind-the-scenes manoeuvring, Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party announced it had the numbers to form a new government. The push is the outcome of a protracted campaign by anti-government protesters, backed by the monarchy, the military, the state bureaucracy and the courts, to oust the elected government.

Sharp economic downturn in the Philippines

By Dante Pastrana, 9 December 2008

Three months after the eruption of the global financial crisis, the Philippines confronts a rapidly worsening economic outlook.

Thai court dismisses the government

By Peter Symonds, 3 December 2008

In a highly political decision, Thailand’s Constitutional Court effectively sacked the government yesterday by dissolving the ruling People Power Party and two of its coalition partners. Anti-government protests that paralysed Bangkok’s two main airports for a week have been called off, but the country’s protracted political crisis is far from over.

Airport occupations bring Thailand to political breaking point

By John Roberts, 1 December 2008

Political tensions in Thailand are reaching breaking point as anti-government protesters from the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) continue to occupy Bangkok’s two main airports—Suvarnabhumi international and Don Muang domestic.

Airport siege heightens Thailand’s political crisis

By John Roberts, 27 November 2008

The standoff between the Thai government and the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) intensified sharply on Tuesday after PAD protestors seized control of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Philippines: Employee association presses for quick electricity privatisation

By Dante Pastrana, 15 November 2008

Several articles published last month in the Philippine media confirm that the privatisation of the country’s electricity grid is proceeding with the complicity of the employee association MINTREA. The drawn-out process, which is now being finalised in the Senate, threatens the jobs and conditions of more than 3,600 workers currently employed by the government-owned National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO).

Widespread unease, opposition as Indonesian government executes Bali bombers

By Patrick O'Connor, 12 November 2008

News of Indonesia’s execution early last Sunday of three men convicted of the 2002 Bali bombings has been met around the world with widespread expressions of unease, concern, and open opposition, including from many family members of the 202 people killed.

Three men convicted over 2002 Bali bombings set to be executed

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 November 2008

The imposition of the death penalty by the Indonesian government and judicial system is an act of state-sponsored murder that serves to promote backwardness and confusion and to obscure the real political issues involved in the Bali bombings.

Thailand’s political crisis intensifies amid economic slowdown

By John Roberts, 5 November 2008

The political turmoil surrounding the Thai government is continuing unabated. Anti-government protesters remain entrenched at Government House in central Bangkok. Their leaders, backed by the country’s military chiefs and the monarchy, are demanding the resignation of the government.

East Timor: Political crisis deepens as divisions in police force re-emerge

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 October 2008

The apparent re-emergence of regional divisions within the East Timorese police force is one more sign of the crisis swirling around the country's unstable coalition government headed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

Malaysia’s prime minister to step down next year

By John Roberts, 20 October 2008

After weeks of political infighting, Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi announced on October 8 that he will not contest the presidency of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) at the party's rescheduled conference next March.

As share market plunges, political crisis in Thailand deepens

By John Roberts, 11 October 2008

Violent clashes this week in Bangkok between police and anti-government demonstrators point to a growing desperation in Thailand's ruling circles to end the months-long stand-off between the People Power Party (PPP)-led ruling coalition and the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

Political power struggle in Malaysia continues unabated

By John Roberts, 30 September 2008

The deadline set by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to force the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition from office—September 16—has come and gone. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is still in power and the government insists that it will continue to rule. Yet the power struggle shows no signs of ending.

New Thai prime minister installed amid continuing political turmoil

Anti-government protests

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 19 September 2008

After a week of sharp political twists and turns, Thailand’s parliament elected Somchai Wongsawat as new prime minister on Wednesday. Far from ending the protracted political crisis in Bangkok, the selection of Somchai, will only intensify the standoff with the Peoples Alliance for Democracy, which has vowed to continue its anti-government protests.

Indonesia: Senior intelligence official charged with murder

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 September 2008

The former deputy chief of Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency (BIN), Major-General Muchdi Purwoprandjono, was charged last month with the premeditated murder of prominent human rights activist Munir Said Thalib.

Philippine power grid privatisation threatens jobs and conditions

By Dante Pastrana, 9 September 2008

The Philippine House of Representatives has approved a bill granting the private National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) a franchise to run the country’s electricity transmission grid. The counterpart bill in the upper house is still pending but there is little doubt that the proposed franchise will be approved.

Malaysia proposes limited changes to ban on political activity at universities

By Wan Ali, 5 September 2008

The Malaysian government has proposed, but is yet to enact, its promise to allow political freedoms for university students through an amendment of the country’s notorious University and University College Act 1971 (AUKU). The amending legislation was sent to the Malaysian parliament in July.

Standoff intensifies between Thai government and protesters

By John Roberts, 1 September 2008

The political crisis in Thailand continued over the weekend as thousands of anti-government protesters remained in occupation of government buildings in Bangkok and forced the temporary closure of three regional airports. Rail workers have shut down sections of the country’s network and other unions are threatening to take industrial action.

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.

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.

Unions call off strike by plantation workers in Sri Lanka

By Wije Dias, 17 February 1998

All workers on tea, rubber, and coconut plantations throughout Sri Lanka launched an indefinite strike on February 5. They demanded a wage increase of 50 percent from the present daily wage of 83 rupees ($US1.40).