Emerald of The Equator: An Indonesian TL

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22.7. The Great Urbanization: ABRI
Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia

General Try Sutrisno during a military parade, 1987

The Armed Forces of Indonesia has its roots as well as the rebellious forces against colonial tyranny. Birthed during the Indonesian Revolution, the armed force’s doctrine involved cooperating with the masses to ensure a cohesive defence capability without superior firepower. This principle evolved under a single abbreviation of Sishankamrata or Sistem Pertahanan dan Keamanan Rakyat Semesta.

The foundation for Sihankamrata came from the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia Article 30 Clause 1, which states that ‘every citizen has the right and obligation to defend the country’. This article evolved under the RIS Constitution in 1949, and then the 1964 Constitution as Article 32, before being re-edited as Article 35 of the 1973 Indonesian Constitution. Under the core Constitution, derived regulations expand the term on the methods, structure, and organization of the national defence. Still, national defense is not impenetrable to political debate, and even personal vendetta against military leaders. The first organization of the Indonesian Armed Forces is Badan Keamanan Rakyat (BKR). However, on the 5th of October 1945, the armed forces restructured as Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (TKR). This change was not enduring, because the early revolutionary government eventually changed names into Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), which will eventually become the modern name of Indonesia’s Armed Forces.

During the Indonesian Revolution (1945-1949), TNI succeeded in becoming the people’s revolutionary army marked by its successes in major operations, most notably the General Offensive of 1 March 1949. During the interwar period of 1950-1956, the Indonesian government had few rebellions, separatism, and general restructuring of the newly formed government, before eventually succumbing to another deadly Australian Aggression. It was only until the year 1966, after the final shots of the Aggression had been completed, that the TNI finally had a relatively peaceful period to restructure and redirect their defence focus. Nevertheless, the relative peace hasn’t stopped the TNI from being deployed abroad, especially during the short period of interventionism in Mozambique and Angola.

Power Evolution

In its infant years, TNI’s power was within the Army. Holding the most personnel in the armed forces, the Army defended Indonesia in its infant years, especially acclaimed in the early revolutionary years of Indonesia. Marked with the guerilla doctrine in both the Dutch and Australian Aggression, Indonesia’s Army became the backbone of defence of those islands. With the Army’s closeness to the local population, the Army remained a strong political force in Indonesian politics, an obvious example being the rapid rise of Parindra, which later influenced the PNI to become the modern PNI-R and PRD.

However, after the end of the Australian Aggression, the sacrifices of both the Navy and the Air Force during the bombardment years of the war reinforced Nasution’s direction for a stronger Navy and Air Force. After the settlement of peace, Nasution’s Revolusi Biru policy adopted a significant increase in Navy and Air Force funds, while the Army owned its financial balance within its staff. Although Nasution’s administration has minimal focus on the expansion of the Army, Nasution established the permanent creation of Komando Cadangan Strategis Angkatan Darat (Kostrad) and Komandan Pasukan Khusus (Kopassus), both commands have involved themselves in notable military operations, such as the Kismayo Crisis and Interventions in the Mozambique and Angola in several offences.

Indonesian adventurism in the Mozambique, 1984

Although it seems the government focuses on the Air Force, the Navy (and eventually the Coast Guard), the Army maintained dominance because of its resilience to the national budget, which was well campaigned in local politics. The Army Generals, instead of accusing the Nasution government of undermining the strength of the Army, used this policy for their political benefit. Their highly efficient spending (learned from the disordered organization during both Dutch and Australian Aggression) has improved the Army’s capabilities even with limited government funding. These Generals negotiated with the Nasution government, to trade business rights for lesser funds. After General Suharto’s lucrative business in Papua, more Army Generals stepped in to enjoy the profits. However, the dominance of the Army is slowly waning, not because of the Army’s importance in the Indonesian government, but of the Army’s slow decadence in defending the nation and owning a business interest that might contradict the government’s focus. The Labour Crisis of 1986 shows that the Army Generals intended to not conform with the government’s decision not rising since increasing the minimum wage in Nusantara has helped Papua and Madagaskar as business havens.
Suharto on a business trip, 1979

The focus of the Army in more areas rather than defence, shifted the defence capabilities of the Indonesian government to entrust the Air Force, the Navy, and the Coast Guard. The Navy has been the largest of the three branches of the Armed Forces, purchasing any ships and marine power affordable enough as directed by the Federal government. However, that hasn’t stopped the Air Forces, the most expensive of the branches, from developing a significant defence in aerial warfare. Indonesia’s warm relationship with the United States has given the Air Force decent aerial improvements, such as new fighters, better technologies, and aerial warfare training. The Coast Guard, established under Nasution’s concerns of piracy, was expanded under the Subandrio Administration for its strategic role in Indonesian maritime trade. Although the bureaucrats have mentioned the redundant role of the Coast Guard (from the existence of the Navy), Nasution and Subandrio have stated that the Coast Guard is necessary for its branch for Indonesia’s vast maritime territories, which is extremely prone to maritime law violations. From this principle, the Coast Guard is slowly gaining more personnel, popularity, and power as the role has become “the Sea Police”.
The Army (Angkatan Darat Republik Indonesia)
army flag.png

The modern Army, after a series of expansions of the organization, has its main purpose of reinforcing land defence in the Federal Republic of Indonesia. The main operational commands of the Army are Kostrad, Kopassus and Kodam (Komando Daerah Militer). There are also nonoperational commands of the Army consisting of Akmi (Akademi MIliter), Secapaad (Sekolah Calon Perwira Angkatan Darat), Seskoad (Sekolah Staf dan Komando Angkatan Darat) and Kodiklatad (Komando Pembina Doktrin, Pendidikan dan Latihan Angkatan Darat).

The Army, for its land capabilities, has decreased its operation after the end of the Australian Aggression. This active operation in Indonesia has been either border patrol on the Thailand-Indonesian border, or the insurgency risks caused by the ongoing intelligence of active separatism movements (most notably Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, Organisasi Papua Merdeka and Fretilin). However, the Army’s largest achievement was the formation of Ikatan Bisnis Angkatan Darat Indonesia (IBADI), an influential business group that is partly responsible for the high economic growth of Indonesia. The Army’s popularity came from both Kostrad and Kopassus, as both have a significant presence in local livelihood, especially the infrastructure programs of Nasution, the interventions of Subandrio, and the IBADI’s strength in several regions of Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Army has its main products mostly from the US and Germany, although major of the equipment is from the Comecon nations. As Indonesia’s trade with Germany remained relatively great, the German government gave their most advanced main battle tank, Leopard 2, into Indonesian inventory, to which the Americans (hearing the news) responded the gift by granting dozens of Sherridan-class tanks to Indonesia. On the other spectrum, Indonesia has newly received BTR-70 from the Soviet Union along with S-75 and BM-21 (which was refit as Pindad R-Han 21), which was part of Subandrio’s defence purchase. However, many of the smaller purchases, such as firearms, rocket salvos and rifles, have been gradually shifting to Indonesian-made products since 1980.

Leopard 2 in training, 1986

Army politics have been the murkiest, because of the division between army generals. Under modern circumstances, the Army has been divided into three equal factions, the Nusantara Faction, IBADI Faction, and the Green Faction. The Nusantara Faction is the purist faction which intends to restore the Army’s sole purpose to defend the nation, not as political and economic players from the IBADI Faction. Led by current General Alex Evert Kawilarang, Marshall Yosaphat Soedarso, General Benny Moerdani and Colonel Hendropriyono. Other factions have called the Nusantara Faction the Blue Faction because most members have come from the Air Force and the Navy [such as Lieutenant Colonel Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono], although there are some prominent members in Kostrad and Kopassus such as General Wismoyo Arisumunandar and Colonel Agum Gumelar. The IBADI Faction consists of the PRD-clique that revolves around Suharto-ism, those being retired General Untung, retired General Umar Wirahadikusumah, retired General Try Sutrisno and Lieutenant General Edi Sudradjat. The faction is mostly the highest staff of the Army, with less penetration to lower personnel from the IBADI’s faction exclusivity on generals that participate in the liberation of Papua. However, that might change considering the IBADI Faction attracts young officials to “follow their seniors”. The Green Faction is a new wing from the religious-sympathetic army personnel, which was expanded to involve pro-Kesejahteraan Rakyat policies that adopt a more modernist approach against social and economic issues of Indonesia pioneered by Mahathir Mohammad. General Susilo Sudarman, Lieutenant General Raden Hartono and General Mohd Ghazali have been under increasing influence especially since Susilo Sudarman won the election in 1988.
The Navy (Angkatan Laut Republik Indonesia)
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The modern Navy has its main purpose of performing military duties to enforce national jurisdiction against foreign violations, perform diplomatic duties in support of foreign policies, and support defence capabilities in sea defence areas assisted by the Coast Guard. The main operation of the Navy is the Koarmada (Komando Armada), Kodiklatal (Komando Pembina Doktrin, Pendidikan dan Latihan Angkatan Darat), Korps Marinir, and Kolanal (Komando Pangkalan Angkatan Laut).

Special for the Navy, the Koarmada is a specific armada command which designates a specific area of responsibility under a single fleet. This command, approved by the Nasution Administration, is divided into 4 commands, those being Armada Command I (for the Western portion of Nusantara State Republic, Armada Command II (for the Eastern portion of Nusantara State Republic), Armada Command III (for Papua State Republic and portions of Maluku), and finally the Armada Command IV (for the Indian Ocean Territories, such as Madagaskar and Chagas Archipelago). Each of the Armada consists of a formidable fleet, with the largest of it currently in Armada Command I, although Armada Command IV has been increasing in size.

Although the Navy has less quantifiable mentions in comparison to the Army, many of their victories marked significant tide changes in war, especially in Australian Aggression. For the nation’s maritime vastness in territory, Indonesia’s Navy has also been increased, both in capabilities and technologies, to accommodate the increasing demands of security in trade, fishing industry and territorial sovereignty. Their one-sided attacks against Britain around the 1960s, which sometimes blocked invasions to Java Island, have marked adequate mentions to the Indonesian public, as well as a definite reminder to improve the naval force of the nation.

Different from the Army which has a rather pragmatic purchase, the Navy has purchased almost entirely from the United States, except the submarines. The Farragut Class and the Leahy Class have been Indonesia’s top purchases, with the Oliver Hazar Perry frigate class as Indonesia’s screen frigates. In submarine warfare, the Tango class was often purchased from the Soviet Union, although the Germans also created the Cakra class.

Cakra Class, 1986

Since politics were nearly unappealing in the Navy (even though a slight PKI scare in the 1960s), the Navy remained a professional force in the Armed Forces, avoiding the muddy politics already done by the Army. Still, for its insistence on meritocratic ideals, the Navy has become a supporter of the Nusantara Faction, which its created only to oppose the growing IBADI Faction and Green Faction of the Armed Forces. Nevertheless, should the Navy pick a stand, it is certainly within the Nusantara Faction.​

The Air Force (Angkatan Udara Republik Indonesia)
airforce flag.png

The modern Air Force's main purpose is to perform military duties to enforce the aerial sovereignty of the Indonesian Republic. The main operation of the Air Force is the Koopsudnas (Komandan Operasional Udara Nasional), Kodiklatau (Komando Pembinaan Doktron, Pendidikan dan Latihan Angkatan Udara), Koharmatau (Komando Pemeliharaan Materiil Angkatan Udara), Kopasgat (Komando Pasukan Gerak Cepat) and Kolanau (Komando Pangkalan Angkatan Udara).

Similar to the Navy structure, the Airforce has the same 4 regional commandos that will eventually form air fleets as their defence. However, current limitations from the lack of military planes force the Air Force to be spread thin, thus only affording aerial fleets in Jakarta, Papua and Madagascar. F-14 has been Indonesia’s most advanced aircraft, while many of the fighters, transport carriers and helicopters came from the Nicaraguan War era owned by the United States. Except for Air Marshall Suryadi Suryadarma, the Air Force has little power across the armed forces, and thus the political government. However, their political affiliation is highly pro-Nusantara and pro-PNIR as the Air Marshall has been the co-creator of the party.

Rockwell Bronco aircraft in display, 1980

The Coast Guard (Angkatan Penjaga Laut dan Pantai Republik Indonesia)
indonesian coast guard flag.png

The modern Coast Guard is a new entity formed since the Nasution administration has its only purpose to perform security duties to enforce the sovereignty of the Indonesian inner maritime territories, as well as the sole objective to protect Indonesian locals from foreign abuse, especially piracy, territorial violations, and smuggling of goods. The separation of duties from the Navy had helped the Navy to focus more on conventional threats, rather than the unconventional threats in this growing Indonesia. The main operation of the Coast Guard is the Koarpela (Komando Armada Penjaga Laut), Kodiklataplp (Komando Pembina Doktrin, Pendidikan dan Latihan Angkatan Penjaga Laut dan Pantai), and Pushidrosab (Pusat Hidro-Oseanografi Angkatan Bersenjata).

The Coast Guard’s command centre is rather different, unlike the main division in the Navy. They have one command centre, yet their base of operations remained sporadic across Indonesian coasts with at least a reasonable patrol force on a coast of around 100km. However, there has been an emergence of Coast Guard “fleets”, called Daerah Operasi Penjaga, which two have been notable. The first is DOP III and DOP VII. DOP III is located at the Straits of Malacca, which holds the global trade bottleneck of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as DOP VII located at the Northern coasts of Kalimantan, which also holds a significant role in the global trade region. The young branch of the Armed Forces, the Coast Guard has little popularity other than among the fishermen, but still relatively relevant due to a gradual increase of piracy within the Indonesian region.​

Last part of this chapter, I just need one more description regarding the players for the 1988 government formation. In this scenario, the Armed Forces of Indonesia has powers still lagging behind a nation that big, but fastly catching up from the nation's rising wealth and budget (thus more money to spend on defence capabilities).

I hope this long hiatus hasn't been upsetting to all of you, last semester was the hardest so far in terms of motivation. Hopefully 2024 will be different. Also, happy new year for everyone!
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23.1. The Fragile Coalition: Prologue
Tempo: Partai Kepala Dua di Koalisi Rentan, 21 April 1988

The Teruskan Coalition of 1988 has the required majority to hold the Parliament (DPR and DPD). Although the percentage is far slimmer than the usual pro-government coalition of the precursors, the Teruskan Coalition has high optimism to continue working with the ‘heir’ of Subandrio, General Susilo Sudarman. However, should the internal disputes have shown for the last few years, the Teruskan Coalition is very disunited. By early April, pollsters have confirmed Susilo Sudarman as the presidential winner of the 1988 election. By then, the internal leadership of the Barisan Progresif had given an ultimatum, that any Teruskan Coalition with Kesejahteraan Rakyat as its leader, especially Mahathir Mohammad, would mark the end of the faction’s cooperation in the coalition. This was stated even months before the general election, which Emil Salim briefed to the then-presidential candidate Susilo Sudarman. The faction’s disdain of Premier Mahathir Mohammad came from the insistence of the premier in pushing for Bumiputera policies during his early transitional government, along with various deemed discriminative policies that endangered the Chinese-Indonesian voters, which is the core of the Barisan Progresif base. The liberal elements of the party also opposed Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s deviation into a more populist policy, which currently jeopardises business owners from their erratic support for Labour Law policies. Madagascar politicians, such as Tsiranana, also expressed apprehension with Kesejahteraan Rakyat, not because of its Bumiputera policies, but the increasing use of Islam as their core sentiment, also a problem to Madagascar’s Christian majority.

The Crumbling Party

As the victor of the 1988 election, the dominance of the PPP proceeded under uncertain times, with its parties having struggled to unite ever since the social unrest of the post-LKY government. The party of intellectuals, scholars, and middle-class workers that hoped for the end of the Nasution Javanization policy, in addition to the successful economic focus on Subandrio, has gradually lost its cohesion and began splintering regarding their vision of the future. The nation has been acclaimed as the “fastest growing nation in the world”, yet the party that made that successful is heading into a possible dissolution.

The 1986 Labour Law divided the party into populist and non-populist emblems, the Kudatuli incidents ignited the old controversy of the role of Islam in government, dividing the populist into Islam and nationalist characteristics as Kesejahteraan Rakyat expanded their base by campaigning the message of Islam and Bumiputera. Mahathir’s rapid ascension from its supporter’s intimidation across the social upheaval also upset the remaining factions of the PPP from relegating their leadership to the young faction.

The dynamics that the PPP has shown begs another question. The youths of the Barisan Progresif have commented on why the Barisan Progresif should maintain unity by cooperating with a faction that intends to undermine the other. Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s increase in popularity indeed came from criticizing the government’s ‘elitist’ attitude, then proceeding to conquer the government (as a coup) and attempting to immediately adopt the policies more people may have supported. The most notable example, the 1986 Labour Law, has been the “textbook” example of how future policies will be proposed for their benefit. Still, the simple reason for Barisan Progresif’s stubbornness to stay at the party came in two reasons.

The first reason is the fear of Barisan Progresif’s populace. The LKY Administration has iconized Barisan Progresif as the party of industrialization, growth, and economic boom. But it also labelled the faction as the party of business, elitism, and materialism. Understanding more of the liberal support, especially on ethnic Chinese minorities, the eventual dissolution will mark the end of any influence towards the government, thus eventually using these marginalized groups as “scapegoats” for all failures. Despite forming a new party might form coalitions outside the PPP, the current popularity and charisma of Kesejahteraan Rakyat have made Barisan Progresif think this will only bolster the populist support, and the detriment of Barisan Progresif’s control. Within the average Barisan Progresif voter mindset, the Kesejahteraan Rakyat can boldly do heinous acts against Barisan Progresif voters in their party (shown in Kudatuli, June Riots, and many more), what will it be if both factions eventually have nothing to do with each other? The second reason came from the leadership, is the insult it would make if Barisan Progresif, the party that started the PPP’s movement, should relinquish its influence by leaving its creation. Indeed, the fall of Hatta’s intellectual faction emboldened the leadership’s insistence on remaining a formidable force in the PPP, even with the continuing attacks, slander, and accusations from Kesejahteraan Rakyat.

Beyond the two conflicting factions, Hatta and Madagaskar factions had difficult choices but slightly leaned towards Barisan Progresif. Both factions have explained that Kesejahteraan Rakyat's views have nothing in common with the foundations on which PPP has been built (a party of intellectuals and socialist policies), which they claimed using religion and race as tools for equality is not compatible. However, further talks of incorporating Madagaskar tribes as part of the Bumiputera policy, as well as a few Malay scholars argued a compelling case for Bumiputera policies, these factions have small groups that support Barisan Progresif.

The entrance of Kesejahteraan Rakyat as the main force of the PPP allows new fresh groups to expand the advocates of PPP. Firstly, Mahathir Mohammad attracts previously disenfranchised Muslim Indonesians that has more emphasis on faith within the role of government. This brand of populism, the “Islam populism” gained significant supporters that were not apparent in the previous elections. Mahathir has called them ‘silent majority’, and proclaimed that Indonesia will lead by the people, not for the people. Partai Umat Islam, a party splintered after the PNI-R’s direction against the Islamic traditionalists, has supported this new Islamic movement to reaffirm the presence of Islam as the guiding wisdom of the Indonesian government. Nevertheless, PUI leadership has maintained scepticism about whether Bumiputera and Islamist policies are the end goal of their principal beliefs, as Gus Dur has mentioned.
“Indonesia is Islam-majority; therefore, the majority of the people have adhered to Islam as their guiding wisdom. Yet, Indonesia has millions of ethnic and religious minorities that we should consider as well. That is why, in Garuda, despite Pancasila has “Believe in God” as the first preamble, the only written text there is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, different yet one.”

Abdurrahman Wahid, 1987​

PPP’s new direction, in surprise, also attracted voters from opposition parties. Partai Rakyat Demokratik, despite its leadership consisting of elite business military officials, has advocated a populist approach as a means of increasing popularity. Most of their profitable ventures exploit the economic resources of Papua, which has little effect on the Nusantara State Republic voters. Furthermore, the IBADI faction of the army, although uncomfortable with adopting a braver method, may use identity politics as a means of opportunism. All things considered, PRD has kept its distance from the Kesejahteraan Rakyat for further cooperation, as there have been fundamental disputes regarding the role of the military, with PPP’s Kesejahteraan Rakyat being staunchly anti-military from Nasution’s policies.

The 2nd party that has an interest in joining the Kesejahteraan Rakyat, albeit ironically, is Partai Pekerja Indonesia. The opposing party of the 1988 election, one said to be the de facto winner of the election, has sympathizers that combine socialist policies into an Islamic outlook. This notably began as the Turkish “Islamo-communism”, has grown inside the PPI. The Islamic principle of zakat is essentially, a sort of communist ideology. Still, as the communist purpose is to eradicate old thoughts and traditions (that is religion), this synthesis has been a contradicting phenomenon, in which only scholars use the term “Islamo-socialism” to make more sense. On the other hand, Guntur remained strong within the PPI. His personal preference, unfortunate for the Kesejahteraan Rakyat, continued an antagonistic view on Bumiputera or Islamist policies. However, his family might be able to be persuaded.

Common Ground

As the 1970s have proven in Indonesian history, the main guidance of the PPP establishment was the outcry of Malayans against the discrimination of the Javanization policies, which continued with the intellectual’s strong opposition towards the Nasution government. Including a series of crises within the presidency, as well as distrust within the coalition, the PPP assembled a coalition of disenfranchised Malayans, Singaporeans and intellectuals that shaped Indonesia under a more equal economy, better improvement in all sectors, and the rapid industrialization of the nation. Subandrio’s choice of LKY as premier marked the start of the decade-long growth that pushed Indonesia from destitute, a feat that imitated the Korean and Japanese miracles. Still, as the nation improves, opinions shift, and that marks the end of the PPP’s unity.

As the latter half of the 80s has shown, the PPP is very fractured. However, there is notable common ground that exists between conflicting factions. Firstly, they had firm beliefs of an economic focus towards the people, a need for drastic welfare benefits and a pragmatic foreign emphasising economic growth. Kesejahteraan Rakyat and Barisan Progresif may have conflicting foreign policies, but their main purpose is one: to achieve the economic well-being of the people. Kesejahteraan Rakyat and Barisan Progresif may also have a drastically different economic model, but their main purpose eventually is to achieve a better economic status for all Indonesians.

The economic viewpoint of the PPP is similar, that this sector should be managed carefully within the consideration of the experts, not a messy mix of laissez-faire and command economy proposed by Nasution (mostly involves nepotism), nor the strong central authority proposed by Guntur’s early proposals. Economic equality, enhanced by both Subandrio’s doctrine and LKY’s implementation, also is a unifying factor of the PPP, which exclaims the need for economic improvement not in specific areas of Indonesia, but throughout all corners of the nation, with their specific specialities. This is why, despite the criticism constructed by Kesejahteraan Rakyat, most of LKY’s economic expansion proposals were agreed upon by the DPR. The second unifying factor of the PPP is education, and all factions agreed that the best Indonesia should be a highly educated Indonesia. Subandrio’s education programs have been the staple of PPP’s general support, much towards the youth and the parents who voted in 1988.

So, will this party remain united in 1988? Or will this fragile coalition crumble within its feet? These answers can only be identified shortly, as the negotiations for the Premier will begin.

Prologue has been written, and now (finally) we can move ahead...
23.2. The Fragile Coalition: Premier Candidates

Susilo Sudarman after winning the close presidential race, Solo

The Teruskan Coalition achieved the majority of the Parliament and the winner of the presidency. However, the slim majority of both bodies of the government had invoked severe reflection on the inner party leadership, Indonesia was predicted to be the highest growing nation in the world. Expected a better economy, drastic welfare upgrade, and much better standing, Indoensia’s incumbent should have achieved modest triumphs in all chambers, yet disappointment has shown in the walls. Usep Ranawidjaja, the chairman of Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, expressed the clearest sentiment of the PPP’s main disappointment. The brazen use of violence, intimidation, and manipulation from the acts of Kesejahteraan Rakyat, especially coming the eve of the election, caused many reluctant voters for the incumbency, some even shifted towards Partai Pekerja Indonesia. When Musa resigned from his post, his replacement achieved damage that the PPP’s cohesion had shaken until Susilo Sudarman tried to negotiate. Currently, the party leadership has to decide the leader of the coalition in the government, meaning the Premier of Indonesia.

Policies Clashed

In the PPP Headquarters, days after the election was decided to be a narrow Susilo win, Usep Ranawidjaja declared the party a “party of Malaise”. In his speech, he said that despite the progress and challenges the PPP had pushed forward, the shaky majority has signalled the party to be unified for survival. Joining the common cause of prosperity and justice for all, Usep Ranawidjaja urged, especially the two conflicting factions, for unity in strength, exhibiting Partai Persatuan Pembangunan may persist with a new face for the nation. The speech garnered a good reception from the audience, but none of the impact because both factions lacked cohesion on the speech’s connotation. Mahathir Mohammad, with its loyal Kesejahteraan Rakyat supporters, stressed the PPP’s intention for a fresh outlook of the government, promising economic growth under a better, fairer, prosperous administration. Simultaneously, Emil Salim proclaimed a social restructuring of the nation, encompassing a continuation to focus on Subandrio’s education plan. Furthermore, Emil Salim also championed all of LKY’s economic policies, which continue to alienate Mahathir supporters.

Despite the schism made after the Kudatuli incident, both factions of the party, especially the elites, supported compromise policies of Bumiputera if the label had not been stated as “redistribution of wealth with discrimination”. For example, Singaporean locals, as well as ethnic Chinese Indonesians, have supported the conservation of all cultures, which was also Bumiputera’s main policy, which said embracing local tradition is vital for Indonesian integrity. Early policies of it (without the Bumiputera label), have been proven by Subandrio’s local education policy, then official language policies, before implementing a slight improvement of the bureaucratic system proposed by the Mahathir Administration. Also, the idea of “racial interests” proposed by Mahathir’s Bumiputera policy, has piqued minority interests, which strong identities such as Chinese Indonesian, Indian Indonesian, and many more may have a united voice in the democratic process. However, if Kesejahteraan Rakyat continues its goals of using religion and racial superiority, many of these potential supporters eventually support the other side of multiculturalism and secularism, noting the significant rise of Guntur Sukarnoputra during the last election. Affirmative action, another integral key of Bumiputera, is heavily loathed by all spectrums of the political spectrum, from communists to nationalists and liberals, but Najib Razak has stated that if there has been no emphasis on this, Kesejahteraan Rakyat will falter.

The idea of adopting Bumiputera into a moderate policy has gained traction, especially during the last days of the election process. This is shown because from the April elections until October, the PPP has failed to nominate a Premier to lead the nation. The junior partner of the Teruskan Coalition, PUI, has criticized the PPP for the leadership issues that will continue to plague Indonesian stability, as the last years have presented a challenging one. However, the Bumiputera moderation, if Kesejahteraan Rakyat wishes to adopt it, will present a challenge to attractiveness. Moreover, Kesejahteraan Rakyat's base has been so radicalized that another compromise would kill their unity and force them to find better alternatives, something the PUI's Amien Rais is slowly getting traction.

Mahathir Mohammad

The incumbent Premier is the most likely candidate to continue the PPP’s rule in the Parliament, but Mahathir Mohammad has little support for the Barisan Progresif. Championing Bumiputera policies after Musa’s sudden withdrawal, he had burned any cooperation with Emil Salim and his factions, confirming a split of the party should that happen. For Mahathir, a split would be devastating for a few reasons, one his faction and the other his premiership. His faction, Kesejahteraan Rakyat, propelled a wave of right-wing populism. However, this movement remained fringe on most groups outside their core supporters: Melayu and Islam-nationalists. In Java, Kesejahteraan Rakyat has little base except fringe groups in Depok and Banten, however many of the island has loyal supporters of PNI-R, PUI and most importantly PPP’s Barisan Progresif. Should his faction separate from the other pillar of the PPP, his base certainly alienates the entire Java.

Secondly, his faction’s demise will directly cause his Premiership to falter. Abdurrahman Wahid, the PUI’s current chairman as well as an alternative to Mahathir’s Islamic views, has eyed the Premiership as Mahathir’s position continues to tumble. Then, there is also the Sukarno clique, in which the PPI has the second largest majority. Handily, PPI can unite with Barisan Progresif for a joint government. After August showed no nomination for October, Mahathir relented that for Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s policies to continue, the party must remain intact. The idea of Mahathir as a “compromise candidate” is as bizarre as finding fish in the desert, but many of the party have argued PPP must not change leadership in a slim majority. Nevertheless, the PPP elites have dumped this possibility for good measure.

Emil Salim

As the leader of the LKY’s Barisan Progresif, Emil Salim’s popularity has been only because of fate, not of his charm. As the ministry of the economy, Emil Salim joined the cabinet during the highest economic growth of Indonesia in decades, something Emil has taken credit for. Moreover, his economic deals with Asia-Pacific and Europe have garnered positive sentiment in all of Indonesia for his work, but nothing else much resonates with Emil’s figure. Outside economics, Emil Salim is unknown to the public and sometimes felt “aloof” for discussing too much about economics.

Emil Salim’s views are extremely meritocratic and pro-LKY that many of Barisan Progresif saw him as the next LKY. However, as he has burned bridges of cooperation against Mahathir during the riots, Emil Salim as Premier will cause Kesejahteraan Rakyat to split from the party, as proclaimed by Mahathir and his friends. Secondly, they also fear Mahathir’s political strategy, unlike his inexperience, which would make the faction also irrelevant and, most frighteningly, prone to riots as Kudatuli has shown. Moreover, Barisan Progresif has achieved larger swaths of voters beyond their main base, which now involves all urban voters, religious or not, and educated ones. In hindsight, Barisan Progresif has challenges that the Old Guard (Malayan-minority interests like Singaporeans and Indians) may have shifted allegiance with the new movement, that is more interested in Westernization, as well as modernization of the society.

The Silent “Subandrio-ist” Faction

Currently, the party is radicalized between Mahathir’s Kesejahteraan Rakyat and Emil’s Barisan Progresif. However, there is a significant moderate voter that, while remaining supportive of either faction, may go for other parties if the PPP does not control itself. This, as surprising for the party elites, belongs to the vast supporters of Subandrio, or Javan population spanning from the kingdoms of Jogja, West Java, to the cities of Jakarta. Still holding the monarchy vote, the PPP remained well accustomed to regents that controlled their local territories, much so that they campaigned for the PPP’s benefit. During the 1980s, President Subandrio campaigned for his supporters to start getting accustomed to “like-minded” politicians through their policy, instead of sleeping beneath Subandrio’s popularity. This gained traction when 1983 saw many of his base vote for the Malaya Faction before their split. However, the late presidency showed that these voters were upset with Mahathir’s radicalism and Barisan Progresif's response regarding it. The sultanates of Jogja and Solo both have issued a protest against the PPP. They have argued that Kesejahteraan Rakyat adopted a contradictory stance against “traditional Javanism”, while Barisan Progresif’s liberal attitude gained criticism from the conservative strongholds of the kingdom. Much to the detriment of Usep and his team, Sultan Hamengkubuwono have initiated an “informal” meeting with Reformasi Faction leader Habibie. That alone has rung alarms on how to maintain this significant voting bloc. President-elect Susilo Sudarman, despite defending Subandrio’s supporters from defecting, still lacks the charisma to continue its dominance – much to the horror of the party officials – if another crisis had happened. Because of this, the premiership is agreed to be a moderate compromise; the search began.

PPP Voter Base in 1988, visualized

During the LKY premiership, the Subandrio-ist faction never came to fruition because of the premier’s cooperative stance in most of Subandrio’s policies. Before Mahathir had led Subandrio to Kesejahteraan Rakyat, Subandrio’s policies were complementary to LKY’s industrialization policies. For example, the education reform initiated by Subandrio is used for improving LKY’s employment policy which involved putting abled-minded Indonesians to work as skilled labour. Subandrio’s hands-off stance on regional autonomy still aligned with LKY’s general policy, which supported multiculturalism. The Premier’s only resistance was economic policies, which Subandrio had criticized as being too “authoritarian”. Still, the economic boom of Indonesia has put those criticisms to bed, as most Indonesians do enjoy the improvement of livelihoods. After the assassination of LKY, as well as the events which made Mahathir Premier, the Subandiro-ist faction started to shift into the Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s umbrella. The faction’s impatient manoeuvres that elbowed the Barisan Progresif, however, made the majority of these silent voters more disaffected and moved to other parties, most notably PNI-R, PUI and sometimes PPI.

By August, the ruling PPP had nominated both Emil Salim and Mahathir Mohammad as the contenders for Premier, but the PPP elites had no interest in putting their names on the nomination as doing so would inevitably be the end of the party. The spokesperson of the PPP, Arief Budiman, mentioned that for all the factions involved, adopting their ideologies for their benefit will rupture the party’s unity, and a compromise candidate must be nominated if the PPP’s unity is maintained. Names for this “compromise candidate” have begun sprouting when October is close. Of these candidates, each has performed their manoeuvres to try to win the nomination.

Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar during talks with Mahathir

Anwar Ibrahim is currently the youngest foreign minister for Indonesia, yet his reputable status garnered significant support as both the Barisan Progresif and Kesejahteraan Rakyat in terms of moderation. Although most of his cabinet meetings involve supporting LKY in all matters, Anwar Ibrahim has softened up on many of Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s policies, most infamously supporting several clauses of the Bumiputera program that Mahathir has planned. Even so, his youth remained a problem in the PPP as many have considered him too young for leadership, especially after barely reaching 40 in 1988.

Moreover, Anwar Ibrahim is losing support on his initial base, Front Muda, with the youth groups increasingly disinterested in any cultural appropriation as planned within the Bumiputera policies, the youth has been shifting their cause on the economic spectrum, which Barisan Progresif is winning. Moreover, Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s voter base, mostly ethnic Melayu, has abstained from voting for Anwar because they simply prefer Mahathir.

During his ministerial career, supporting Subandrio’s foreign policy was his first step to coalescing with the Kesejahteraan Rakyat, even though initially he refused any proposals that contradicted the late-Premier. However, after his assassination, his attitude gradually shifted when the tide of Kesejahteraan Rakyat was sweeping the PPP. In early July, Anwar met Mahathir on an official visit regarding cabinet talks, but his true plan was to persuade the outgoing Premier for endorsement. However, Mahathir remained silent on this issue, diverting to other issues such as the US’s outsourcing industry and Indonesia’s opportunity. The President, on the other hand, is opposed to Anwar’s premiership for his youth, stating that Indonesia’s leaders should have “more experience and wisdom “. President-elect Susilo Sudarman also agreed with Subandrio’s analysis, which posed a significant challenge to the PPP.

Anwar Ibrahim's first moves to win the support of the president and the conflicting factions came at a meeting after the victory of Susilo Sudarman for policy measures. With outgoing President Subandrio, the three men discussed the increasing tensions between the United States and Japan as the latter is surpassing the United States in economic growth. However, in the interview with the press after the meeting, the President has been asked a question regarding Anwar’s potential as Premier. The President, a critical blow for Anwar's campaign, had stated that he would rather see Anwar “5-10 years later than now”. As such, Anwar persisted in campaigning for his ambition, trying his best to court Susilo Sudarman.

Two Minorities

Sabam Sirait

Sabam Sirait, a popular politician from North Sumatra, led the historically dominant Hatta Faction of the PPP. He was the early proponents of regional autonomy, which manifested in the ‘73 Constitution. Although Sirait’s power in the party is small, his strength in his regional constituency must not be underestimated. He managed to flip the region into PPP and give a significant vote to the party, after decades of Nasution’s PNI-R dominance for the last decade. Sirait’s moderate view of improving the welfare state has increased support in both factions, garnering them as a potential compromise candidate. Sirait’s first weakness is he’s a Christian, already a big turn-off for many of Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s supporters. Moreover, before he changed allegiance to the PPP, he had ties with the PNI-R elite, which is the de-facto party of religious minorities (Christians notably). Secondly, Sabam Sirait has little to gain in electoral advantage, with little incentive to secure the losing electorate of pro-PPP “Subandrio-ist” supporters.

Sudomo Hendarto, the District Secretary of Jakarta, is also a hot contender for a compromise candidate, for its success in reforming the capital. Under his relatively short management, Jakarta has transformed into a decent metropolis, a massive upgrade from the destruction caused by Australian Aggression. From the Kesejahteraan Rakyat, Hendarto has been less vocal in voicing against their proposal, unlike other local leaders in Singapore, Malacca, and other states. Hendarto, for Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s glee, is a Muslim convert, which shows his intention to join the majority faith. Still, Hendarto is a Chinese Indonesian, who suffers discrimination from Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s faction, especially since they propose to undermine Chinese-Indonesian influence (as they envy the Singaporeans). Fortunately, despite the disadvantages, Hendarto’s calm and sociable manner has enticed the “Subandrio-ist” voting bloc rather than Sabam.

Dukuh Atas Public Space, one of Hendarto's great achievements

Sabam and Sudomo’s policies have striking similarities in social views, which have stressed multiculturalism as a front point, in contrast to Kesejahteraan Rakyat's assimilation into Ketuanan Melayu. Belonging both to their racial minorities, Sabam has advocated for Batak rights (not a problem because of Nasution’s presidency) as well as Sudomo’s advocacy for Chinese Indonesians (also under massive improvement after LKY’s ascension). Still, both have conflicting views on economic policy, which Sudomo has adopted into classic Barisan Progresif liberalization and then welfare redistribution. At the same time, Sabam has adhered to welfare distribution first and has voted for the Labour Law of 1986. Still, neither has advocated any of the Bumiputera policies, which Kesejahteraan Rakyat has been trying to promote.

Their chances of the premiership turned slim as the momentum of their campaigns stagnated beyond their achievements. Sudomo had no appeal on promises beyond the urban and suburban communities, while Sabam has difficulty reaching outside the island of Sumatra (although Sumatra is the PPP’s strong base too, but not that many in population). Barisan Progresif gave the two candidates a good reception, stating their achievements were enough as proof of their “like-mindedness” to the liberal progressive policies of the faction. The difficult task is to harness Kesejahteraan Rakyat's vote. Surprising for the Indonesian public, Hendarto received a warm welcome from Mahathir, but no endorsement due to fears of the populist base cracking after nominating Hendarto. For Sabam, his voter’s unity will be better, but Sabam has been rather uncooperative to Kesejahteraan Rakyat’s demands, probably because he intends to squeeze more on this deal. Moreover, due to past disputes during an interview, both Sabam and Hendarto have cold ties with the President, as they both have ridiculed the president for being “less energetic” than Guntur during the election campaign.

Benny Moerdani

Retired General Benny Moerdani is the junior of President Susilo Sudarman and a close aide to his efforts as Defense Secretary. He commanded the ABRI shortly during Subandrio’s tenure and has reserved the future Defense Secretary position as Sudarman’s successor. He was an exceptional commander of the ABRI during a tumultuous time, especially with the fiasco in Angola and Mozambique. Moreover, Moerdani was also involved in the Malayan campaign, earning heroic acts during the defence against British forces stationed in the region. Benny Moerdani, in policy, also has a significant friendship with Susilo Sudarman, who can be an asset as another ‘compromise candidate’. Also, even though Benny Moerdani is a Catholic adherer, his Javan roots may compensate for the potential to improve PPP’s standings in Javanese voters.

Again, due to Moerdani’s religious adherence, Kesejahteraan Rakyat was reluctant to vote for him and pursued other candidates. Also, Barisan Progresif has little affection with Benny Moerdani, especially because his military status reminds the voters of the previous PNI-R administration. As a result, comparing Sabam or Hendarto, Benny Moerdani remained irrelevant. Benny is also part of the military, which both Kesejahteraan Rakyat and Barisan Progresif have noticeable pushback. For them, Susilo Sudarman is already a military general, adding one more and cries of “military dictatorship” will form within PPP. Fortunately, should endorsement from both factions have been proclaimed, Benny Moerdani will certainly have the support of the President, as Subandrio has sought Benny as a “close ally of the government”, citing Benny’s loyalty and support on all Subandrio’s policies, despite the turning attitudes after the interventions in Africa.

Musa Hitam

Ironically, the dark horse of the compromise candidate is a former Premier. After Musa’s resignation as Premier, the PPP was slapped with a cold hard reality that Mahathir’s policies were too radical for Indonesia, and the survival of the party. Because of that, the election season has been impacted by the loss of PPP votes, as well as the needing a coalition partner for a majority, something no other party has done since 1950. Fortunately for the former Premier, many of the PPP have campaigned for his return, stating that his moderate policies have been unifying in contrast to Mahathir’s alienating faction. Barisan Progresif has proclaimed its support if Musa entered the race, while Kesejahteraan Rakyat also saw Musa Hitam as the better candidate. The President is also supportive of another Musa’s leadership, because of Musa’s strong leadership after the assassination of LKY.

PPP’s prospect for another Musa Premiership is possible if considering the internal perspective. Outside the party, the return of Musa Hitam will be ridiculed by all spectrums of Indonesian politics. PPI, PNI-R and PRD itself have mentioned that Musa’s return will dignify the PPP’s decline of “good candidates”, while PUI’s spokesperson Amien Rais has stated that the party’s position in the coalition will “be under reconsideration”. Musa’s candidacy would not resolve the issue of appealing to the Subandrio-ist silent majority.

Yang Tertarik, Tidak Cocok, Yang Cocok, Tidak Tertarik

Neither of the candidates – Anwar Ibrahim, Sabam Sirait, Sudomo Hendarto, Musa Hitam and Benny Moerdani – shows the great image that the insider wanted. Most of them even might not unite the party, let alone appeal to the silent majority. As these gentlemen fought through ministerial work disguised as political rallies, the party elites paid less attention to them. Instead, Usep has been courting one person into the premiership, that is the Ministry of Agriculture, Achmad Affandi.

Achmad Affandi, a humble bureaucrat from Karawang, was noticed by President Subandrio for his outstanding work in establishing the farming faculty of Institut Pertanian Bogor. Achmad and his farmers established a farmer's education program in Karawang named Bimbingan Masyarakat. That involves teaching farmers about modern ploughing and harvesting as proposed during Nasution’s reconstruction. Before Achmad’s ascension to the Ministry of Agriculture Bimas had been established in 619 locations across Indonesia.

Achmad Affandi, 1988

Achmad Affandi also propelled Indonesia’s modernization in agriculture, as the core policymaker of LKY’s modernization in the farming sector. Under four policies, Achmad Affandi reformed the agricultural sector which had significant issues after the Nasution Administration. Firstly, the agricultural ministry conducts a whole survey on all land use in Indonesia, as a means to collect basic data. From this survey, Achmad Affandi – under the consideration of LKY – determined the proper use of the lands for maximum economic benefit while maintaining self-sufficiency (that means pushing for high-demand crops such as rice, corn, wheat, and soybeans or luxurious crops like coffee, tea and cinnamon). Bank Tani¸ Labour Law’s implementation, is partly the idea of Achmad Affandi which helps farmers with stable and profitable prices for farmers. Third, Achmad Affandi has initiated establishing dams not only for energy production but irrigation and aqua farming. Lastly, Achmad Affandi with the assistance of Trihandoko, cooperates with farmers in local enterprises that control manufacturing, which may process raw crops into refined goods, like tobacco or starch. Most famous was the dairy industry that quintupled in size in barely 4 years of Affandi’s reform. Politically, Affandi as a Sundanese origin is widely respected in West Java and Jakarta for his applaudable legacy. As co-founder of IPB, Affandi holds significant influence on intellectuals studying in IPB, many of whom have made him an inspiration to vote for the PPP. Also, the Pasundan vote is what made the PPP hold its majority, while Susilo Sudarman struggled to maintain the Javanese vote.

Affandi, while, has no experience in leadership and had on numerous occasions refused to accept his nomination as the candidate for the premiership. The PPP’s top leadership has urged him almost every day, but Affandi remained stubborn. Even though both Subandrio and Susilo Sudarman have agreed with Affandi as the “most suitable” candidate, Affandi’s opinions remained solid.

Election season, Jakarta floods and some stuff. Phew, what a month.

I intend to put everything in one post, including the next Premier. But it's already 3k-ish and I haven't reached the events surrounding their political schemes. I think it deserves a two-parter. In this occasion, I developed a nuance effort, trying to dissect the PPP's voters in data, and try to establish a common theme that it wishes to proceed.

Who do you think will be Premier, based on the explanations above?
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