Emerald of The Equator: An Indonesian TL

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22.2. The Great Urbanization: The Policies
  • The Great Urbanization
    Reinvent Nusantara: The Evolution of Concept

    The great urbanization of Indonesia’s core was propelled with unremarkable economic growth from decades of post-war boom. All Indonesians agreed on the belief that the nation will thrust itself into size substantially larger than it was. As it was the United States in the late 19th century, Indonesia will face significant challenges to reaffirm itself as a tropical giant. In order to do so, policymakers envisioned to transformed Indonesia’s cities entirely. This process was never named by the government(s) of that time, yet most socio-political scholars named as the invention of the Blue Belt.

    This long-term plan of urbanization did not occur after Nasution’s presidency. During the early days of the Federal Republic, Sukarno and his administration had little effort in city planning. More of their focus was to bring Indonesia’s agrarian output into self-sufficiency (which was intended as a war effort with the Australians seemingly hostile in the late 1950s). Even more so, in the Australian Aggression any urban construction was doomed to aerial assaults. Instead, Sukarno campaigned for citizens to move back to rural areas, to reduce casualties and improve food production on rice farms.

    Although no regulatory policies were created under the administration, Sukarno was nowhere humble on city-plan ambitions. A civil engineer, Sukarno had dreamed of Proyek Mercusuar, the construction of Jakarta to be noticed by foreigners. It was never named so, but the general construction of prestigious public places became the trend to appeal to Indonesia on the global stage. Initiated during the 1950s and continued until the 1970s, these constructions were lavish and costly. However, the war delayed much of that infrastructure, thus Sukarno’s plans remain an idea until Nasution’s post-war administration.

    Simpang Susun Semanggi, One of Sukarno's Proyek Mercusuar plans fulfilled during Nasution's administration

    During Nasution’s era, urbanization had become Nasution’s main concern from Jakarta’s desolation after the perpetual bombings caused by Australia and her allies. As people remained traumatic by the previous terror, Nasution’s government needed to form an effective plan to bring people back to cities and fast. This demand not only came from Indonesia’s infrastructure crumbling from the aggression but the leader’s haste on joining Asian Tiger Economics from the boom that most East Asian countries had been experiencing. Moreover, with the spoils of war given Indonesia British Malaya, along with decent war reparations, Indonesia had all the resources to emerge from its pariah state.

    The 1960s and 1970s marked Indonesia’s almost pro-foreign economic system. Despite the welfare issues Nasution tried to address, he wished to increase capital just from unrestrained access to globalization. The economic system had been sporadic, from the liberalization of Special Economic Zones, and nationalization of oil companies. With the militarist government, Nasution had given pressure on local governments, especially cities, to allow foreign capital to invest in any possible way. With the help of rare Dutch-Indonesian figures that stayed in Australian Aggression, pro-government Chinese-Indonesian elites, and moderate intellectuals, Indonesia’s urban revival had become the hub of economy, education, and salad-bowl culture.

    Indonesia’s great metropolis is located in the Western Region of Indonesia, which is in Java, Sumatra, and Malaya. After the war, cities in Java had reduced by nearly half its size, while Sumatra reduced by 25%. This, along with biases from the administration, gave Java the whole spotlight of Indonesia’s federal budget. Should big funding of 6 trillion rupiahs be given (nearly accurate value of 1971 Plenary Budget), 4 trillion of them had given to Java’s infrastructure, the remaining 2 splits on across the nation. Until Subandrio’s premiership in 1973, Indonesia’s budget had been burned on Java island, much to the dismay of other islands. After 1973 (especially under Subandrio and LKY premiership), Indonesia’s budget had balanced for further representation in Malaya, Papua, and Madagascar. Yet, these efforts were heavily pressed on urbanization. Consequently, Indonesia’s focus after the Australian Aggression had been to improve urbanization. In 1950, 15% of Indonesia’s population lived in urban areas. That number dropped to 9% by the peak of Australian Aggression. However, with the programs enacted by successive governments reversed that trend to 30% by 1988.

    Indonesia’s urbanization programs can be divided into two distinctive eras: The Nasution-Suharto Era and the Subandrio-LKY era, which transited during the tenure of former Premier Subandrio (1973-1978).

    Economic Growth and GDP Growth Chart of Indonesia until 1988 (projected)


    Debt to GDP Chart of Indonesia until 1988 (projected)

    Nasution-Suharto Era (Revolusi Biru)

    Urbanization under Nasution’s dominance came from the bigger concept of Revolusi Biru. This had been much of the PNI-R (mostly Parindra’s military wing) program on how to bring Indonesia into a regional power. Upset with the logistical nightmare during Australia's Aggression, Nasution and the armed forces hoped for an integrated network system of transportation. This, along with Jakarta’s vital capital standing, affirmed the armed force’s minds to rebuild cities by connecting them. Program Infrastruktur Trans-Jawa, Program Infrastruktur Trans-Sumatra, and Program Infrastruktur Trans-Papua[1], all had been Nasution’s brainchild. Approved by Hatta from Nasution’s moderation to PPP at that time, the program was nothing moderate. It mimicked America’s National Highway System passed by President Eisenhower (deliberately, as Nasution also agreed to this as one of his reasons). The programs did not end on big highway and railway systems, there had been few urban constructions – related to trains and tolls – which was discussed by Nasution’s administration. Notable urban infrastructure was approved, such as revamp of Jakarta Ring 1 System, Jakarta Outer Ring Road, Surabaya Tram Network, and Bandung Urban Transit System. Moreover, these infrastructure programs had long-term drafting envisioned by officers of Nasution’s clique. That ramification trickled into urban growth, thus giving influencing on city’s planning.


    Daan Mogot Interchange, connecting Jakarta Outer Ring Road with Daan Mogot Road, the main arterial connection to Tangerang.


    Gambir Underground Labyrinth
    After the war, the government focused on rebuilding the inner district which had been devastated by bombs. Many of them tried various solutions to avoid this incident ever happening. At that time, Brigadier General D.I. Panjaitan expressed concerns about the cul-de-sac networks of Harmoni and the surroundings, as he had logistical problems in reaching important locations when main arteries are damaged by bombings. Air Marshall Suryadarma mentioned vulnerabilities of vital networks from aerial bombings. Yet, concerning that a dispersed network is much more impervious to aerial attacks than a concentrated network, Suharto’s main position was not affirming for just bigger roads.

    These concerns passed the Ring 1 Bill of 1967, which was initially a full urban reconstruction of inner Jakarta. This bill mentioned that housing developments in inner cities must remove blind alleys, and drastically increase the connectivity of the road network. To reduce congestion on these alleys, neighbourhoods may install portals for restricted access at nighttime. All alleys should adhere to a minimum width of at least 6.5m (passable for tanks with parking on two sides). Second, this bill prioritized the electrical grid to go underground. That way, electricity remains on during any attack. Third, government buildings should have sparse distribution on Ring 1, to avoid damages from bombing runs. Finally, the most important aspect of urban planning, each subdistrict should have public places (parks or plazas) that form a refuge for civilians in targeted attacks at buildings. Although the Ring 1 Bill had direct effects on Jakarta, this concept had been used nationwide in major cities. It had become the de-facto blueprint for most of Java’s urban planning.


    Cideng Municipality Map, notice the semi-grid system
    Ring 1 Bill's first results came as Jakarta Ring 1 System. Jakarta Ring 1 System, essentially, is the integrated commuter system of the region encircled by Jakarta Inner Ring Road. A 22.4km highway covering the centre of the federal government, also infamous for the region’s Australians bombed. With a heavy emphasis on underground development, Underground Mass Rapid Transit had become Jakarta’s second train transportation. The MRTJ (MRT Jakarta), had all underground connections, existing or planning, in Ring 1. Total removal of electrical posts, hanging cables and transistors had been done to move under. Also, public places had been constructed. All these constructions, luckily, were easy as much sprawl was already gone to rubles.

    Electrical tunnel in Setiabudhi Grid

    Jakarta, Surabaya, and Jogjakarta, the three most bombed cities during the aggression, had gone through massive transformations. Jakarta established Taman Nasional (Peringatan 1958), which was the biggest park in Jakarta, competing with New York’s Central Park. In Surabaya, Alun-Alun Surabaya had become the greatest plaza on Java Island. These cities with others (Semarang, Bandung, Cirebon, Malang, Madiun, Surakarta), had moved electricity under. This was also the planner’s way to make the grid urban system mainstream, starting with Sudirman Grid as Indonesia’s financial centre.

    Taman Senayan

    Besides reducing those weaknesses, Indonesia needed to immortalize the victorious war as a morale boost for Indonesia. Although Indonesia received a pleasing reparation, public happiness, especially in urban places, had plummeted from constant terror. It caused the massive depopulation of cities during the war, and people were afraid of returning to cities. The Nasution Administration recognized these challenges and adopted the natural option for militaries to boost morale, constructing monuments. The proposal was agreed with Hatta’s intellectual wing, stating the necessity to honour the death and inspire the youth. That proposal had become its parody, with Nasution and Suharto relentlessly constructing lavish, sometimes excessive, monuments across Java that bring Indonesia’s debt exponentially. Still, the effects of these monuments may have been beneficial, proven by the increasing population's wishes to return to cities.

    Under Nasution’s government, Indonesia’s urban development was heavily influenced by American suburbia: single-family homes with spacious yards. Developed in the late stages of Kebayoran Baru (Jakarta), it expanded into many of Jakarta’s sprawl, with other cities copying Jakarta’s model. The distance between homes was compatible with the military concerns at that time, and as their wealth rose as public figures, they too establish profitable real estate enterprises that build similar models.

    1980s Housing in Pulomas

    Nasution’s ideal was adopting America’s suburbia into Indonesian housing. Yet, this radical concept had received backlash from Hatta’s intellectual wing and religious wing. With the obvious concerns of being too Western, Nasution received backlash from uncompromising views to design national monuments. Hatta promoted a more egalitarian concept of stacked housing (proto-thinking of what LKY would do a year later), citing concerns that single-family homes are too expensive for poor people. The clergy, however, criticized Nasution’s insistence on building only nationalistic monuments, not Islamic ones that may be suitable on their turf of dominance (they believed it still improves aesthetics and morals, as well as the spirituality of the towns). The compromise Nasution made for these people eventually came at the cost of building more towns in Java and Sumatra. He agreed to denser housing in a few parts when Hatta’s wing became agitated, and alienated the religious wing. Also, the schism in the military faction exacerbated Nasution’s effectiveness on urban development outside of the aforementioned policies, with factions bickering on the next step.

    Subandrio-LKY Era (Persatuan Pembangunan)

    As Subandrio led the Parliament after 1973, Indonesia’s future had been different comparing the one given by Nasution and Suharto. This time, Suharto’s political radicalism of authority and strong-man personality came with assault from PPP intellectuals. Nasution’s national budget had increased the debt exponentially, increasing the risk of default, despite economic growth has been catching up. Also, the military’s popularity had diminished from scandals and Nasution’s inability, albeit ironic, to accommodate urban settlers that had returned to cities. Jakarta, notably, had its first Housing Crisis in 1973. Nasution’s public spaces, lavish monuments, and Ring 1 Bill of 1967 had become the new ‘template’ of Indonesia’s urban planning. These contribute to cities' urban renewal, possibly the most extensive “make-up” in Asian history. Architecture, unrestricted during this era, had given cities faces of all architects from all backgrounds (educated or not).

    Subandrio’s government encountered new setbacks from Nasution’s urban policies (and lack thereof). The war trauma had made the PNI-R government irrational fear of increasing density (or simply building up). But that had given immense pressure on the housing supply, a drop since the 1970s. Nasution’s unrestricted urban planning had given to uncontrolled public planning, which in turn caused significant obstacles to public welfare. For example, single-family homes in the Cideng complex were built so wide for new families, but it has no public amenities (hospital, police station, education) that made locals need private vehicles. It caused the traffic jam in 1972, Jakarta’s first experience of 2 hour-standstill during rush hour. Moreover, as homes are being built, they used groundwater uncontrollably, causing a gradual drop in public homes, but the most horrible effects were the collapse of the Cikini tunnel that stopped trains for 3 months.

    Traffic in Grogol, 1982

    Subandrio’s premiership issued the Urban Declaration of 1975. It was not a forceful law like the newest 1987 Urban Law, but Subandrio’s declaration written concerns on urban development. The most famous transcript below is used almost as a citation to succeeding urban laws.
    Urban development, like all nature, is a delicate balance between demand and supply. Indonesia had a high population, yet limited land. For this reason, sparse development was never acceptable. We need to rise, not sideways (Tumbuh ke atas, bukan ke samping).​

    Apartment blocks in Petojo Barat, Jakarta

    With the power, balance shifted from the military towards intellectuals, urban planning had been shifted with the minds of the PPP. Accustomed to European terraced homes, intellectuals like Hatta’s faction had pushed for these types of housing in urban development. Subandrio formulate it as rumah susun, the popular social housing that was used as a political promise. It garnered much criticism from housing developers who mostly were ex-military officials, but the Housing Crisis silenced them by popular demand for higher-density housing. Because of this, non-road public transportation became more prevalent. By this era, urban public transportation was emphasized as the metropolitan’s top priority. MRT, LRT, Tram and Monorail had become basic conversations on the annual budget debate.

    Proposed 2000 Prediction of Mass Rail Transportation of Jakarta and the surroundings

    LKY’s premiership, after Subandrio’s ascension to the presidency, announced the radical version of Subandrio’s analysis. A native city inhabitant, LKY had seen Singapore’s urban demands, with all its setbacks in improving those. Impressed with how effective MRT was on highly concentrated developments, LKY implemented radical methods of urban railway expansion. However, the main principle of LKY came from Indonesia’s unwillingness to give any federal funds to Singapore during the Nasution administration. These cities in former British Malaya, had suffered bitter discrimination from Indonesia’s Java-centric focus. In addition to it, in efforts to circumvent Singapore’s already existing dominance in the Malacca Strait, Nasution had subsidized Batam, Singapore’s island neighbour, as the new Singapore of the Malacca Strait. From these intense adversities, Malay and Singaporean politicians adopted a highly efficient system that altered the regular life of citizens. Adopting the simple method of increasing land usage for agriculture and industry, these politicians were strong advocates of concentrating residential development into apartment blocks, reducing land use. Consequent with high concentration, they also promote Satellite Cities, second-class metropolis, functioning as lesser business centres so people wouldn’t need to commute far from their hometowns.

    There is also the money issue, as debt had risen uncontrollably for infrastructure growth. The PPP’s grand coalition had understood fiscal austerity as a priority. By this, the LKY administration opened doors for possible industrial investment, the best economic growth stimulant, towards Indonesia. Industrial zones had been opened on all sides of Indonesia with reasonable regulations on necessities. To withstand the pressure from employment demand, Indonesia must attract more population by creating housing excess as well as relaxing immigration. The wars in Southeast Asia had alleviated much of the demand, but the government should control this flow so as not to incite social tension.

    The results of urbanism under LKY’s governance were the explosive sprawl of clustered medium-density in city centres, a reduction of single-family homes boom, with targeted improvements that cost less money. Ironically, from Nasution’s push on underground construction, LKY’s government had pushed for a massive underground sewer system that costs less than it should have, mostly because the existing underground maze formed by Nasution for trains, service tunnels, and many others can be repurposed as sewers. Highway construction, besides the enormous plan from Nasution, had not been expanded. Instead, railway construction was expanded massively, forming alternatives for industrial and residential demands.

    [1] Mentioned previously as TJIP (Trans-Java Infrastructure Program), TSIP (Sumatra) and TPIP (Papua)
    [2] Since funding is limited, mostly resorted to green spaces instead of full concrete plazas, but later developments have pushed for the latter.

    First time giving graph charts custom made. I guess those are necessary for immersion.

    This chapter's example has been Jakarta-centric since this explains the general changes in each administration's headings on urbanization. The next post will focus more on the where places and more numbers.

    As always, criticism, comment and discussion are always welcome.

    Final note, Happy Idul Adha everyone :D
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    22.3. The Great Urbanization: Expansive City-Building
  • The Great Urbanization: The Blue Belt Cities

    During the transitional government, president Wilopo established a collection of blueprints and documents which had been established by the previous administration. The documents were old transcripts of the Djuanda Declaration, also the UNCLOS efforts. However, Wilopo’s archives contain a grand masterplan on Java’s northern cities, a group paper that coined the term “Sabuk Biru”. Inside the document, the infamous words were written, a sentence discussed for the upcoming decades.
    Upaya menghasilkan bangsa yang unggul merupakan usaha yang harus dilakukan saksama. Dengan dialog antara generasi sekarang, dengan generasi yang akan datang, kita perlu merancang dunia dari sekarang, memikirkan jangka yang panjang, mewujudkan Sabuk Biru sebagai mestinya.
    - [Translation] The efforts to achieve a superior nation should be a collective effort. With a dialog between our current and future generations, we should design the world from now, thinking long term, fulfilling Sabuk Biru
    as it should be.​

    Nasution’s administration interpreted Sabuk Biru as Indonesia’s population core of the nation, contributing to the political dominance of this region for centuries, probably eternity. However, as decades passed, Sabuk Biru evolved as the bulk of Indonesia’s core, coined from the region's dominance in population, technology, and politics. In Japan, Taiheiyō Belt can be its mirror example. Evolved beyond a concept, Sabuk Biru became a trans-regime term, a government’s focus throughout the second half of the 20th century.

    Sabuk Biru/Blue Belt's region

    The common description states the Blue Belt [1] is a gigantic 2,750 km strip from Penang to Bali. It stretches on the Western coast of Malaya, the Eastern coast of Sumatra, from Medan to Lampung, then the Northern coast of Java, from Jakarta to Surabaya. The region was so great that Western scholars prefer to split this belt into Malaya Belt and Java Belt for consistency. Yet, the government persisted in Blue Belt’s true etymology because of how delicate planning has been made on this region, even for decades to come. It holds nearly 77% of Indonesia’s population, 81% of Indonesia’s economy, and most importantly an enormous political dominance on the Federal Republic. Before the formation of Indonesia, these regions had been mere townlets with significant hubs like Singapore, Penang, Jakarta, and Semarang. However, with intentions of progress from ruling regimes, these “centres” increased dramatically, forming new population hotspots and secondary cities to the older, much larger, metropolitans. For intricate descriptions, the Blue Belt will be explained as cities from East to West, starting at the bay of Tanjung Perak.

    Kota Sepuluh November - City of 10th November

    Surabaya CBD, 1988

    Since the early 1900s, this estuary city of Surabaya has been one of the busiest trading city ports in Asia. Famous for sugar, tobacco, and coffee exports, its rich history is influenced by strong financial institutions and the invitation of foreign investors. Still, the city suffered extreme devastation from Dutch Aggression, and Australian Aggression, both who have invaded this city but endured heavy resistance from locals. Post-war era, Surabaya attracted foreign investors due to its high potential, as well as Majapahit State’s continuous attempts to put the city as the Islamic financial centre of Indonesia.

    Surabaya’s potential was noticed by the ulama of the NU (dominance in Jombang Region), as the proposed “Islamic” capital of traditional Islam belief (syncretizing Islam and local culture). As the economic capital of NU’s dominated Majapahit State (administrative capital is Mojokerto), Surabaya has been incentivized to grow business centres, financial districts, and trading hubs. Located near the Lombok Strait, the Federal Republic of Indonesia has made Surabaya (along with Makassar) a trading transit between the East and West of Indonesia proper. Moreover, with Australia’s increasing freight to East Asia, the Lombok Straits also had increased traffic flow from cargo from the state, and Indonesia has wished to capitalize on this. Surabaya is also part of Jalur Dalam Selatan Tol Laut, the government’s national logistic lane for the entire state of Indonesia. Surabaya’s growth also happened because of inland growth, neighbouring towns like Mojokerto, Madiun and Malang, Surabaya’s importance as a port city increased dramatically. Moreover, with more convenient transportation by Trans Jawa Toll Road, Surabaya’s urbanization had pushed into numbers greater than should have. The historical population projected a 41.5% increase from 1970 to 1980, which was the highest-ever growth in the city’s contemporary history.

    Surabaya also possesses significant industrial output, coming from raw materials provided by Majapahit and Banyuwangi State. Plantation outputs such as sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, chocolate, and tea, will be exported outside of Surabaya. Mineral resources like limestone, coal and oil have been extracted within Surabaya’s surroundings. From these minerals, factories regarding the processed value of these raw resources have been built close to their source. High-tech commodities, such as transistors, compressors, condensers, thermostats and heaters, have established their industries on Kawasan Industri Surabaya (government-invested industrial zone).

    Maspion (Surabaya's most powerful group) equipment factory in Gresik, 1988

    The city is not entirely Javanese, a good proportion of ethnic minorities (Madura, Chinese and Arabs) strived together as these groups have grown substantially with public prosperity increased. Politically, Surabaya was a PNI-R stronghold (before the split of NU and Parindra), yet the city is now a strong supporter of PPP’s intellectual wing, then the second and third position was fought closely between NU sympathizers and PNI nationalists. The remaining Indonesian parties hold small percentages of voters. By the year 1988, Surabaya’s municipality reached 2.56 million people (within city limits), with additional 8 million inhabitants in several cities spread over noncontiguous urban areas within Surabaya’s influence.

    Kota Pekerja Jawa - Java Workers' City

    Flour mill in Semarang, 1989

    Semarang has a similar role as Surabaya, a trading hub connecting the inner parts of Java to the outside world. The city is also famous for exporting crops (rice, clove, ginger, turmeric). But Semarang’s similarity to Surabaya ended there. First, located at the centre of Java, all of the goods from Banyumas, Demak, Surakarta and Jogjakarta State would be going here. Although Semarang is not part of Jalur Dalam Selatan Tol Laut, Semarang is located conveniently on the shoreline between Jakarta and Surabaya. These affected smaller vessels in transit, part of the strategic location of Semarang.

    Semarang is also the workers' capital of Indonesia. Since the early 1920s, Semarang’s intensive labour demand had never been satisfied by increasing factory demand around the city. From textile industries, the agriculture industry (flour, beans, rice, and coffee) and the newest food processing complex. Semarang has become the agricultural capital of Indonesia, contributing nearly 60% of agriculture logistics. By population, Semarang is nowhere near the population levels of Surabaya (1.647 million by 1988), yet its growth might catch up to that, an urban growth of nearly 55% every decade.

    Semarang’s position was weird administratively. Although it was part of the Demak State, Semarang is inseparable from Banyumas State, which has made the city their port of export (their city Tegal and Pekalongan remains too small for cargo). Semarang has also started to engulf the surrounding cities and improve connectivity to the nearest neighbour towns of Demak, Kendal and Salatiga. It is one of the most concentrated areas of Java, thus local governments have been constructing apartment blocks to increase density. Strategically, Semarang is very fortunate as it holds the train depot for the Trans Jawa railway connecting the whole stretch of Java. Semarang has become the choke point between Rel Jalur Utara linking Jakarta and Surabaya (through Demak), as well as the new shortcut connecting Semarang to Jogjakarta. (through Salatiga). Trans Tol Jawa also passed through Semarang, as well as a proposed branch to Demak that the Nasution administration had planned (prepare for Tuban, Bojonegoro and Kudus’s growth).

    Krapyak-Jatialeh Route, part of Trans Jawa Toll Road of Semarang Portion, 1988

    Semarang had a vast majority of workers that were involved in the agricultural sector, but a relatively weak religious presence. Because of this, Semarang has been the perfect communist voter bloc. Since the 60s, PKI (later PPI) has dominated this region with strong pro-farmers and pro-workers tendencies. Moreover, it has also been a fanatic Sukarno-clan supporter, voting to a staggering 75% for Guntur at the 1988 Election. Ethnically, Semarang is dominated by Javanese settlers, but it also has a large Chinese population that has been growing (15% by 1988).

    Jaya Raya - Greater Jaya [Nickname of Jakarta, derived from Jayakarta]

    The capital city of Jakarta had extensive care from the Federal Government, but its surrounding neighbours have been planned for agricultural, maritime, and industrial capabilities. As the nation’s capital, Jakarta and the surrounding region have become the new hub of innovative industries that aim to catch up with the developed world. From pharmaceuticals, chemicals and electronics, Jakarta has become central for all advanced industries the world has encountered, except Singapore usually competes. Jakarta has also become the liberal capital of Indonesia, contributing free-minded thinkers to Asian society. Being the centre also has its negatives, as its attention made Jakarta very susceptible for critics of the government to protest (sometimes riots) in the city.

    IBM Factory in Pulo Gadung, Jakarta

    Jakarta, unlike Semarang and Surabaya, comprised on a diverse ethnic group of Indonesia. It comprises of ethnic Javanese, Betawi, Sundanese, Chinese, Bataknese, Minang, and Melayu and a growing bule in its population. Since the wars in Indochina, Jakarta has also accepted Vietnamese immigrants seeking asylum. Due to its high minority population, Jakarta has been a strongly polarized city, with conservative Javanese or Sundanese defected to more Salafist ideologies (sometimes adhering to the jihad movement) and the remaining moving far liberal into the classic liberal ideologies from the United States. Strangely, moderate voters came from the ethnic minorities (Chinese, Minang, Melayu), who dispute with conservative’s anti-multiculturalist policy against too-Western attitudes of the liberal movement. Jakarta has a growing number of nonaffiliated groups that grew within universities, much to the anger of the religious groups. In religion, Jakarta was the first city to establish a Jewish community (protected by the liberal group, and disdained by the conservative group).

    Position as the centre of education, Jakarta has been the creative centre of architecture, urban planning, and various other studies beyond basic amenities. Scholars, researchers, and scientists in Jakarta have written papers, journals, and articles more than the entire Java combined. Many of Jakarta’s novel ideas (such as Jakarta-ism urban planning) have started to spread worldwide. Jakarta, unsurprisingly, is dominated by the PPP’s coalition of liberals, ethnic minorities, and intellectuals. Yet, Jakarta is home to growing Islamic fundamentalism (Depok particularly) and many anti-establishment politics that were dissatisfied with the city’s growing liberalism. Currently, Jakarta’s city limits have 8.573 million in population, with a high potential of competing with Tokyo as the largest metropolitan in Asia.

    Tol Becakayu (Bekasi-Cawang-Kampung Melayu), under construction, connecting Jakarta Inner Ring Road to Bekasi, a growing city near Jakarta, 1990

    Jakarta’s expansion, with intense long-term planning, has made the surrounding cities involved. Outside of the capital’s region, the government has announced Balaraja, Cirebon, Indramayu, Subang, Purwakarta and Karawang as points of interest. To withstand Jakarta’s demand for the advanced industry, these towns had begun improving their capabilities to distribute Jakarta’s weight. Cirebon, beside the heart of the sultanate, was made as the fishery town encompassing the northern section of Java by the LKY premiership (to alleviate Jakarta’s fishing industry slowly decline from Tanjung Priok vessels polluting the bay). Purwakarta and Subang will function as transit towns between Jakarta and Bandung, improving productivity by establishing factories near resources (for example the tire industry from rubber plantations in Subang). These ‘future’ industrial zones have been drafted in the early 80s, as the current growth of Jakarta had feared politicians of ‘overcrowding’ and forced a mass exodus of the industry to be necessary. For example, the storage facilities around Kampung Bandan have been relocated to Kapuk and Cilincing due to the high demand for residential neighbourhoods that the Tamansari municipality has failed to deliver. Another, sometimes insane, long-term plan drafted by the government, was the reconstruction of Karawang and Balaraja as Jakarta’s new industrial city when Tangerang and Bekasi had become uptowns of Jakarta (Prophecy was fulfilled in 2025 when Tangerang and Bekasi had been incorporated as an inseparable part of Jakarta’s growing megapolitan).

    Bandung Lautan Asap - Bandung Sea of Smoke

    Positioned at the edge of Sabuk Biru, Bandung’s potential as the centre of Pasundan State was noticed by the federal government. Located in the valleys of mountains, Bandung is fertile with possible mining sites (sulphur, limestone, metals). However, Bandung’s abundance of freshwater made the city’s residential appeal the highest. Walini City, the government foreign city planned during the early Wilopo Administration of the 1950s, had outlined the region’s suitable climate for residential homes. As Walini City began to expand faster than Bandung could, the Pasundan State government enacted serious reforms to make Bandung more appealing, increasing competitiveness to the Federal District of Kota Walini. Moreover, Bandung’s location near Purwakarta and Subang, part of Jakarta’s long-term program, might make Bandung much more integrated into Jakarta’s expansion, giving Pasundan State larger power as both industrial and residential power.

    Bandung downtown, 1986

    Bandung was not part of Trans Jawa Jalur Utara that connected Jakarta to Surabaya, but the city was given a branch of the toll road which was then named Tol Padaleunyi (Padalaran-Cileunyi). Still, Bandung was not neglected as Nasution’s government had made Trans Jawa Jalur Selatan, a second toll road connecting Jakarta and Surabaya that travels through the southern cities of the Java island, including Bogor, Cilacap, Jogjakarta and Malang. However, until Mahathir’s premiership, these plans remain unconstructed, possibly from the region’s lack of demand. Train-wise, Bandung’s railway capabilities were improved as it has the vital Southern route that links many cities in Southern Java. However, the hilly terrain made government plans expensive, and federal administrators were reluctant to invest in such a risk at that time.

    Bandung’s industrial might expanded when LKY’s administration opened multiple textile factories across the city. Impressed with the city’s cheap retail clothes, Musa Hitam subsidized clothing companies to open factories around Bandung, improving the workforce. Moreover, Kota Walini might aid Bandung in its growth, as advanced science companies involved in telecommunications and electronics have pulled many of Bandung’s inhabitants into workers. In 1988, Bandung reached 1.539 million in population, a weaker showing than other cities, even Walini City which almost reached 128 thousand from nothing in the 30 years.

    Bandung is the largest Sunda-dominated city, behind Bogor whose growth was aided primarily by Jakarta’s expansion. Their slight friction towards Walini City [2] made the city restless. Low-class workers criticized the industry’s reluctance to promote pro-labour policies pushed by Mahathir’s faction. But many of them were still satisfied that these industries in Kota Walini (from minimal regulation rules) made unemployment non-existent for these people, even improving their lives dramatically. Middle-class intellectuals in Bandung, however, showed their disagreement with LKY and the liberal policies, many because of the population shock that pushed Pasundan State with significant Javanese, Chinese, and most importantly, Bule minority. Bringing along their majorly non-Islam beliefs, many of those intellectuals and middle-class incomes became disillusioned with the LKY establishment and slowly drifted for Muhammadiyah (Amien Rais Wing) and PRD for the opposition.

    Tiga Kota Kehutanan - Three Forestry Cities

    On Sumatra Island, cities on this portion of the Blue Belt have only one industry that propelled them into prominence: forestry. Due to its sheer size, Sumatra owned the third-largest tropical rainforest in Indonesia (before Kalimantan and Papua). Because of this, the government has made increasing leases to forestry companies to establish related industries (logging, paper, furniture, and palm oil) which all of which were suitable for this island. These made three cities: Palembang, Jambi and Pekanbaru main government priorities.

    These cities have native populations but have received significant migration from Java to support the industrialization of these regions. Adding to the colonial history when Javanese were transported here as farmers by the Japanese, the Nasution and Subandrio administration continued the influx of Javanese as a means to fill the employment sector of the rapidly growing forestry blocs in eastern Sumatra. Moreover, with the Chinese population increasingly growing, it reached significant population percentages (10% in Pekanbaru while <6% in Palembang and Jambi).

    Palm oil plantation on Riau-Jami State, 1988

    From the influx of immigrants from Java, the political strength of surrounding Sumatra's great forestry region was not clear-cut in comparison to Java. For example, the high number of forestry regions in Jambi, unlike more diverse industries in Palembang, became PPI’s stronghold. In Pekanbaru, attacks against the incumbency that caused the pollution made Pekanbaru voters reluctant to vote for PPP, instead voting for either PNI-R or PRD. Either way, the politics remain fluid, ranging from opposition to an ardent supporter as local circumstances ensue.

    Besides forestry, these three cities also transported mining resources that came from the mountain ranges of the West. Mining minerals such as coal and natural gas have increased as many surveyors found profitable deposits. Newer developments have found significant oil deposits near Palembang and Jambi, but solvent mines like silver and coal have been found in the mountains. From this discovery, these cities evolved as transit hubs for families who accompany their loved ones working in the mines and forestry and accommodate storage for these valuable resources.

    Kota Tionghoa Sumatra - Chinese City of Sumatra [3]

    The biggest metropolitan in Sumatra, ironically, has a dominant Chinese-Indonesian population. Located as part of Jalur Dalam Selatan Tol Laut, Medan had noted the importance because of the city’s location on the Malacca Strait, along with Malacca, Singapore and Batam, as good transit locations. Unlike other government-planned zones, Medan’s focus has been trading and service sector, with the population comparatively more educated than the rest of Sumatran towns.

    Medan skyline under construction, 1988

    Medan has developed industries like paper, plan oil, rayon, and processed chemicals. LKY’s administration has focused on Medan as the Jakarta of Sumatra, granting innovative sectors funds to advance science and technology. Different from all cities that focused on industry and capital, Medan’s local government has made tourism part of the new objective, positioning it as the dwelling town for visitors who wish to see Toba Lake.

    The demographic composition of Medan has been a tie between ethnic Javanese and Chinese (each 30% and 32%), a town of immigrants as the native Bataknese only constitute of 18% of the city’s population. This voter bloc had been a strong PNI-R from Nasution’s candidacy but moved gradually to PPP from the party’s minority group coalition. Medan is also the city where Islam barely reached 50% of the population, with a significant 25% being Protestant and the other 13% of them Buddhism ethnic Chinese Indonesians. Currently, the population of Medan surpassed 2.187 million inhabitants, projecting to compete with Surabaya shortly.

    Raja Malaka - The King of Malacca

    Singapore Skyline, 1990

    With all the discrimination from the Nasution government, it has not stopped Singapore to become the champion of Asian trading city. Competing with Jakarta in terms of density, Singapore has become the richest city in Indonesia. Located at the tip of the Malayan Peninsula, Singapore attracts as the international trading hub, possibly the busiest port in the world. Overseeing all cargo between East Asia and Europe, Singapore’s income was the reason Indonesia’s perpetual growth continues.

    Singapore’s expansion involves the industrial creation of electronic, chemicals, refinery, biomedical and telecommunication equipment. Under LKY’s guidance, Singapore made itself a self-sufficient city with a net positive contribution to the Indonesian budget, all while reducing the cost of living in the nation. Later statistics have suggested that Singapore’s income alone has funded Malaya, Sumatra and Borneo combined. Because of this, the government has carefully pandered with Singapore’s local administration without alienating the remaining Indonesians.

    HDB (Housing Development Board) - or Rumah Susun flats of Singapore, 1989

    In the early 1970s, Nasution proposed a competing city of Batan located across the Strait, with intentions to reduce Singapore’s dominance on the international hub. Nasution opened expansive ports, a military air base (leased to the United States) and a significant chemical industry to move there. The president also opened a large resort for hotels and entertainment clubs to lease, envisioning the new Casablanca of the Orient. After LKY’s administration, this battle eventually ended with Singapore and Batam local governments joining forces to develop the Straits Megapolitan Area. By making Batam-Bintan and Riau Islands integrated, it released Singapore’s burden while also increasing Batam’s potential.

    Rumah Susun flats of Batam (designer of the HDB Singapore's program), 1990
    The island of Singapore had a population of 3.7254 million people, 78.3% are ethnic Chinese, with 14.4% ethnic Malays and 6.3% ethnic Indians. The Federal District of Batam Bintan had a population of 958.532 people, with a diverse composition of Malay, Javanese, Bataknese, Minang, Chinese and Vietnamese people intertwining. It could be the most diverse city in Indonesia at that time, should European diasporas in Papua be merged as one entity. The local Singaporean government, afraid of losing dominance to Jakarta and Javan cities, has opted for uncontrolled population growth so the population of Singapore and Batam can reach adequate levels of leverage. The highly diverse ethnic minorities did not stop Singapore and Batam as strongholds of the PPP’s coalition.

    Kuala Lumpur [3]

    Kuala Lumpur, 1990

    Kuala Lumpur is the second largest city in Malaya before Singapore. Located on the Klang River estuary, Kuala Lumpur served as the cultural, financial, and economic centre of Malaya State. Also suffering from no federal funding during the Nasution Administration, Kuala Lumpur adopted the Singaporean approach of efficiency and strived to be the State’s fastest-growing city. Becoming the centre of the Malay State, Kuala Lumpur became the industrial centre of rubber, oil, and petrochemicals. Competing with Jakarta and Singapore, Kuala Lumpur has been attracting foreign investors, especially within the semiconductors, automotive, and telecommunication sectors.

    Under LKY’s administration, Kuala Lumpur was part of the nation’s Program Infrastructure Trans Malaya, the newest expansion of the infrastructure program started by Nasution’s administration. Giving the attention it deserves, Kuala Lumpur industrialized quickly with great development from the local government. On the strategic location of the Malay Peninsula, Kuala Lumpur was an invaluable asset of the Indonesian Federal government, thus allowing significant military presence to defend the region in the land assault, mostly fearing Thailand's aggression.

    Kuala Lumpur, however, had a crisis of identity, possibly from the racial strife between ethnic Malay and ethnic Chinese. United during Nasution’s presidency, this racial friendship slowly deteriorated under LKY’s administration, which has presented relatively unfair treatment to ethnic Malays. In hindsight, ethnic Malays had worse education backgrounds, achieving less money, and gaining lower prestige than their Chinese counterparts. As envy turns into anger, these Malays demanded Chinese citizens to pay their share from Mahathir’s planned Bumiputera policy. The city divide was more apparent in Kuala Lumpur’s nearly equal split between ethnic Chinese and ethnic Malays, exacerbating the power struggle of the city. After the Labour Law political success in 1986, Kuala Lumpur Malays slowly inching out the ethnic Chinese, giving harsher regulations on Chinese businessmen rather than Malays counterparts.

    [1] Long story short, Sabuk Biru is the government's plan for how to capitalize on the strategic location of Malacca Strait, Karimata Strait and Java Sea to its utmost potential.
    [2] Walini City, despite being remarkably smaller in population and size than Bandung, was filthy rich from the government's low regulation that attracts capitalists and conglomerates all across the world. Its relatively "exotic" nature and temperate highland climate made it more suitable for temperate societies. Starting as a government-planned city, it became the centre of expatriates. The city contributed to 35% of Bule Indonesians alone (consisting of immigrants). It also had a significant Java population, conflicting with Sundanese people.
    [3] Both Kuala Lumpur and Medan were predominantly Chinese cities before the massive growth of urban natives (Malays and Javanese respectively) flocking to the city. ITTL as Bumiputera policies were not implemented in Malaya and no serious ethnic conflict was caused by G30SPKI (communist-labelled), the Chinese minority remained dominant longer than should be, until their birth rates were surpassed by the natives.

    Cyberpunk Indonesia might be not far-fetched after all.
    There's so much I want to discuss, like Papua, Madagascar, and then the immigration situation. But one by one I will post it.
    22.4. The Great Urbanization: The Big Three Ethnicities Preview
  • The Dominant Three of Indonesian Demographics

    Within the general theme of demographics. Indonesia’s population undergo significant strides as each culture attempts to outperform the other in numbers, influence, and dominance. However, the general proposal of the players, and the people involved, remain the same in Indonesian politics. Its heart was the reasonable question: should Indonesia become a melting pot nation, or a salad bowl nation? Even with the stress of urbanization, the society of Indonesia maintains a degree of separation between each people. Minor differences in customs, traditions, and historical biases, have made significant segregation among the ethnic groups involved. Yet, endeavours to infuse them as a single Indonesian civilisation have been going on since the early days of the Indonesian revival movement.

    Indonesia’s ethnic groups, in total, consist of more than 1500 groups, the most amount ever accumulated in any nation in modern history. From the baobab habitats of Madagascar to the little islands of Solomon Island, Indonesia’s government have massive pressure on uniting these groups into a single, unified, Indonesian identity. Naturally, the larger groups of Austronesian ethnicities have attempted to dominate the integration process as a single Indonesian identity, none of these famous lists are Javanese, Sundanese, and Malay. Here, it is explained the ethnicity's main values, supposed culture centres, regions of influence and relations with other ethnicities and religions.

    Indonesia Ethnicity Composition, 1990

    ꦗꦮ (Jawa), the Elder

    The infamous Aidit quote of “Jawa adalah Kunci” came from the general idea that whoever commands Java, commands the dominant group of Indonesian society, thus claiming as the true leader of the Federal Republic. Java ethnicity itself, is a beast of a culture group, claiming 33% of the total Indonesian population of nearly 250 million people. One of the oldest civilizations in Southeast Asia, Java’s early origins include native reverence for ancestral and natural spirits, a long history with different religious values, and to a lesser extent, a cordial to Western and modern philosophy. Javanese culture values harmony and social order and abhors direct conflicts and disagreements. However, traditional Javanese culture has started to be challenged by an egalitarian culture, especially by urban settlers which made a sort of Neo-Javanism, a mixture of Javanese and foreign ideas with significant cultural reforms.

    The Sultanate of Jogjakarta (Kasultanan Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat) and Sunanate of Surakarta (Kasunanan Surakarta Hadiningrat) are regents who self-proclaim as the bastion of “traditional Javanese values”. Born during Dutch imperialism and consolidated as a stable polity since the early days of Indonesian independence, these sultanates contribute a massive war chest to Indonesia’s effort for independence, thus granting rewards as they should be from the federal government. It was also part to make Indonesia a federation of sultanates, envisioned by most Indonesian nobles (with increasing support from Malaysian sultanates). However, the strong influence of republicanism from Sukarno, and Nasution, had made attempts particularly futile. Although politically, these sultanates had personal struggles, these figures had become the “elder” of Javanese society, so revered that they might be considered the cultural head of the ethnicity.

    40 Years of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX Reign, 18 March 1940, seen with Queen Juliana of Netherlands

    These sultanates, despite the ethnicity’s cultural stereotypes, have agreed on an aggressive migration program as means of assimilating other Austronesian cultures into the Javanese fold. With combined efforts of Nasution’s pro-Java administration, it pushed Javanese overpopulated citizens into Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua, and even Madagaskar, as part of the Javanization program. In the Subandrio administration, these efforts continued with a slightly different objective, as the Javanese workforce had been Indonesia’s most preferable option (skilled yet particularly cheap), for Indonesia’s rapid industrialization. This was apparent in major boomtowns, Pekanbaru and Palembang for that matter, with the native population slowly diminishing with the growing migrants from Java.

    Javanese culture was divided into two groups. The traditional Java culture adopted by the monarchs and clergy of the Javanese people, and the modern neo-Javanese culture. The traditional Java culture, with the self-acclaimed leaders from Sultans and Sunans, also a co-ally but not necessarily welcoming clergy of Nahdlatul Ulama (the syncretic Islam religious organization that fuses old Javanese norms) had tried to defend the old Javanese forms against modern changes (those being Islamic Salafism, Communism or Liberalism). These conservative people adopted the true sense of Javanese harmonious identity, forming a sort of slow integration of culture into Javanese. These groups formed into the conservative Partai Umat Islam of the NU Faction, and the significant follows of Partai Persatuan Pembangunan moderate balance. They promoted Islam as the dominant faith, increasing spiritualism in political life, and adopting a calmer multiculturalism method. In administrative affairs, the group is strictly divided into old and new Javanese traditions, the old approve of whatever compromise the political system had made, and a strong supporter of non-aligned foreign policy.

    Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX

    Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono XII with Sukarno, 1946

    Neo-Javanism, on the other hand, gave Indonesia the identity of fast-paced industrialization, as well as the extreme nationalism of the 1970s. Aggravated by the meteoric rise of Parindra in the 50s, Indonesia’s sense of “pride and legacy” infused in Neo-Javanism as the sense to make Indonesia great. These cultures, instead of the calm and collected traditionalists, prefer the fast-paced, progress-oriented, highly energetic culture of the modern world. Every moderate value had been turned for the extremes. But the core Javanese culture of tolerance, harmonious identity, and unity remained integral to this growing culture. Neo-Javanese people did not identify themselves as Javanese, instead the larger Indonesian identity. Because of this, many have preferred Neo-Javanese called Nusantara Culture, because of the member’s unwillingness to put “Java” in their name, despite the core being Javanese.

    Neo-Javanism culture, unlike the former traditional version, had experimented with different opinions on how this ideal can be fulfilled. With three core ideals of harmony, tolerance and unity, Javanese culture has settled into three modern ideologies (communist, liberal, and nationalist), each according to one ideal. The communist wing that pushed harmony to the extreme attracted many of Neo-Javanism working class under the appealing Partai Pekerja Indonesia (even with pulling themselves into more moderate socialist efforts). This wing even saw Guntur Sukarnoputra, the son of the first president, as their new Satria Piningit. The liberal wing pushed the extreme version of tolerance by acknowledging all ethnicity, proposed by PPP’s Barisan Progresif, and has been an ardent follower of LKY’s main policies. Finally, the nationalist wing, formed by the second President Nasution, had made pan-Indonesian the culture’s focus, which had been voting PNI-R for most of the time (die-hard patriots, one might say). This was the main source of Pan-Nusantara identity, the pan-nationalist identity promoted by Parindra at that time, which put Greater Indonesia as their territorial ambition. In geographical distribution, the Neo-Javanism population were on the northern coasts of Java, and the important diaspora of Javanese outside of Java island (particularly in Sumatra, Madagaskar, and Papua). The new culture had a strong unified indicator: a strong proponent of republicanism and proposed the ideal version of the Federal Republic, one without appointed monarchs as heads of provinces.

    Javanese control of influence had been centred around the central and eastern portions of Java, which had been the core of Javanese history. But Javanese is also a dominant group in Jakarta, Banten and parts of West Java. Javanese had thrived beyond the island through centuries of transmigration programs. Javanese are also present in the Malay Peninsula. They are also prevalent in Lampung, South Sumatra, Jambi, North Sumatra, and parts of Kalimantan to increase labourers and farmers for plantations and new opportunities. Even internationally, Javanese has also been partly significant in Suriname.

    Javanese settlers in Aceh, part of Nasution's transmigration program

    Javanese relations with other minorities had inconclusive returns throughout the independence period. For one time, Javanese had endured centuries of Dutch imperialism, much so as suffering for many of its people. However, the Australian Aggression made stories about Dutch-Indonesian patriots helping the common Indonesians change their minds, and more Western nations acclaiming Indonesia for its defence of liberty, democracy and pursuit of progress made the Javanese common proud of themselves. To most Javanese intellectuals, even with different skin tones, they were treated quite fairly. To most Javanese common folks, their humble attitude appeased factory leaders (sometimes Chinese or Western ethnicity) to be considerate with better benefits. And, with the success of Nasution’s administration having Indonesia to the biggest extent it has ever seen (spanning oceans), the Javanese cannot help themselves but feel pride in their work, partly because this Indonesian idea had been claimed by them from the start. Under LKY’s premiership, the standard of living had risen dramatically, thus easing the tensions between the Javanese and Chinese populations. This good reputation came from fortunate minority figures (Nasution [Batak], LKY [Chinese], Frans Kaisepo [Papua], had significantly improved the relations of the said groups). However, there are some portions of the Javanese people that endorsed ethnic-nationalism, particularly Malay’s Bumiputera sentiment, which had caused a strain in a few parts of Indonesia, especially regions with minority-majority populations of ethnic Chinese, Papuans, or foreigners. However, overall, the Javanese common sentiment has been rather civic nationalism, rather than ethnic nationalism, which was different from the culture of Malay and Sundanese.

    Javanese ethnicity, even though shows little discrimination against other groups, has not received the same treatment on the opposing side. In various ethnic groups, especially in Sumatra, Madagaskar and Papua, many have shown an unconvincing attitude toward Javanese’s kindness towards these ethnicities, instead accusing them of “out-numbering” the native culture it has dominated. Papuan tribes, for example, had increasing resentment of ethnic Javanese when their numbers exploded for the last decade, not to mention the creation of cities with mostly Javanese descendants. In Sumatra and Kalimantan, the same rhetoric echoed with native Dayak, Banjar, Palembang, and Riau. The least affected ethnic tensions were between Javanese and Batak (or Chinese) since both had decent appeasement during Nasution’s administration.

    Javanese relations with other religious outside Islam were also drastically better than most Austronesian ethnicities. Anthropologists have made astounding evidence of co-existing neighbourhoods with different religions that were perplexing to even the experienced. For example, the heart of Jogjakarta and Surakarta has had a significant Catholic Javanese population living amongst Islamic families. Moreover, the Javanese also own their religion, Kejawen, which dominated the mountainous regions near Bromo. Still, Javanese relation with Islam is also apparent in the creation of Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, two of the most important religious organization in Indonesian history, with significant moderate proposals that have been campaigned by these two bodies in contrast to extreme versions formed by other cultures.

    أورڠ ملايو (Malays), the Leader

    Javanese is the de-facto leader of Austronesian people, but the Austronesian culture stemmed from the Peninsular ethnicity of Malay which made Malay culture the natural leader. This also came on Bahasa Indonesia as the lingua franca. Malay ethnicity had been the leader of Indonesia, despite the population of 21 million people (barely 8.5% and third largest) of the total population. Unlike Javanese common folks that are both an inland and maritime community, Malay ethnicities are maritime-based, thus its cultural values are fluid and egalitarian. Also, many disputed that Malay ethnicity isn’t necessarily a Malay ethnicity as many Javanese descendants in Malaya and Singapore had identified themselves as Malay. Malay, moreover, consider themselves as the result of centuries of immigration and assimilation of various regional ethnicities and tribes within Maritime Southeast Asia. The main distinction of Malay ethnicity is that Malay is a major ethnoreligious group with Islam as the centre. This had made them, unlike Javanese culture, much more Islamist. Unlike Javanese culture that splits between traditional Javanese and the modern adaptation of it, Malay ethnicity conforms to a singular, Islamic, reformist culture.

    The supposed centre of this culture was the rules under the Federation of Malaya formed in 1948, as well as the Sultanate of Brunei. Supposedly ten rules (Kedah, Kelantan, Johor, Perlis, Pahang, Selangor, Terengganu, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Brunei) guides the culture of Malay. However, due to Indonesia’s forceful attempts to reduce monarchism across the Federal Republic, the sultan's powers diminished into three (Kedah, Johor, and Brunei) with other non-recognized regents remaining thirsty for power across Malaysia. Because of Malaya’s strong connection with the monarchy, the population in the Malaya region has been the least enthusiastic pro-republican citizen across Indonesia. Only the simplification of administrative affairs, the drastic changes under the LKY premiership, and the good governance of the State Republic of Nusantara Malaya have had amicable acceptance of the new status quo. Malay, comparing other ethnicities, had been the strongest monarchist ones in Indonesia, even with the strength slowly waning with Malayans more accustomed to the elected system in place of Malaya Province of Nusantara State Republic.​


    Council of Rulers, monarchs from Malaya, 2000 [1]

    Malay culture, coincidentally, is also the biggest ethno-nationalist group in Indonesia. Aspires to the racial concept of Ketuanan Melayu (which was campaigned as Bumiputera Policy for general attraction), Malay preeminence in the Malaya region gave the reason for Malay's special position and special rights as a polity. This came with different perceptions from Malays to other cultures, but mostly as Indonesian attempts at assimilation made Malay culture inclusive to other Austronesian cultures like Javanese, Sundanese, and many others. The key to reducing exclusivity was Malay’s strong Islamic tendency. Unlike other population groups, the Malays have been vocal about increasing Islam's influence on Indonesia’s government. This was apparent in UMNO’s (United Malays National Organization) broad coalition of pro-Bumiputera and pro-Islam politicians. This political body (under PPP’s Kesejahteraan Rakyat) became a strong source of alternative conventional Islamic movements beyond the PUI’s Nahdlatul Ulama or Muhammadiyah. Moreover, Malay Islam, unlike Javanese Islam, had a more reformist Salafist culture, thus advocating for stricter adherence to the revival of purism.

    Muhammad Taib Muhamad, Muhyiddin Yasin, Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir Mohammad and Najib Razak in a UMNO-PPP Rally, 1983

    Malay culture has dominated the Malaya Peninsula, but it is also prevalent in portions of Sumatra, Bangka Belitung Islands, and dan Riau Islands. Malay ethnic group also lives in coastal Borneo, with regions like Brunei, Sarawak, and Sabah under their dominance. Southern parts of Thailand (especially Pattani) had Malay-dominated regions with the intention of leaving Thailand to join part of Indonesia.

    Malay’s relations with other cultures, unlike the Javanese, are successful, especially with similar Austronesian subgroups. Balancing between ethnonationalism and Islamism, the Malay culture has successfully become the alternate leader of “soft” Javanese that proposed less Islamism. Abusing the sentiments other ethnicities have with Java’s increasing population, they treated Malay as the “big brother” of smaller cultures, uniting under the banner of Islamism and Malay nationalism. This attacked Indonesia’s government's status of civic nationalism.

    Malay as a voter bloc, simply put, has been strongly unified. They will choose candidates that promote more attempts to involve Islam in government affairs, reaffirming native status as the leading culture of Indonesia, and the strong advocate of Malay assimilation. Until Subandrio’s presidency, Malay voters unified with Chinese Malayans that endured Nasution’s regional discrimination, pushing as the unified coalition of Partai Persatuan Pembangunan. However, as the Federal Republic promote no more regional discrimination to Malaya, the inevitable clash between ethnic Malay and Chinese sparked once more, culminating during Mahathir’s struggle for the premiership as a member faction of Kesejahteraan Rakyat. Bumiputera policy, brushing off LKY’s legacy, and inciting tensions from multiple partisan riots, have made Malay relations with the Chinese specifically worse. Still, this proposal promoted the made Malay culture to the broader native Indonesian groups of their ethno-nationalist vision. Malay’s resentment of ethnic Chinese by their status had been apparent for a long, but newer cracks have opened on ethnic Papuans, Madagaskar, and foreigners, which made political pundits especially surprised at how long the PPP (a party that holds these people together) has held on.

    Malay relations with other religious other than Islam are also very poor, due to its strong Islamic tendency as an ethnoreligious group. Their attempts to subvert Pancasila’s first principle with a more Islamic clause gave religious minorities opposition to these attempts. That made regions such as Batak State, Timor State, Papua State Republic, Melanesia State Republic, and inner tribes of Kalimantan especially hostile to Malay attempts at Islamization. However, it gained bridges with pro-Islamic cultures, like Aceh and Sundanese for that matter.

    Sundanese, the Lucky

    Indigenous ethnic group on the western region of Java Island, the Sundanese ethnicity is the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia. This is more of an inland ethnicity that has a population of 33 million people (13.5%) of the total Indonesian population. Sundanese, in stereotypical essence, is the lively and more active version of Javanese. It is a more egalitarian tribe than commonly feudal Javanese, as well as demonstrative Islam culture in comparison to rather secular Javanese. This, beyond the location and people’s common occupation, made Sundanese a mirror image of ethnic Malays.

    A road sign with Sundanese Sanskrit, 1990

    Unlike the previous culture, the Sundanese centre of culture is the main metropolitans around Western Java. Fortunate to their proximity to Jakarta, the Sundanese culture had a more educated, advanced, and slightly pro-modern rather than traditional Javanese. The capital alone had improved their standard of living substantially, as well as the population boom higher than any ethnicities. the Sundanese cultural centre might be the universities of Bandung (ITB) and Bogor (IPB) themselves.

    However, Sundanese is the largest hardline Islamist in Indonesia. Putting a much higher emphasis on Islam compared to Malay counterparts, Sundanese had been the strongholds of Islamic teachings, sometimes radical Islamism, in Indonesia. This is also the heart of the Darul Islam rebellion in the 1950s, an Islamist rebellion challenging Pancasila ideology from leader Kartosuwiryo. Cities like Depok and Bandung formed small cults of Islamic fundamentalism, extreme Arab sentiment, as well as hardcore fanatics. However, contrary to popular belief, Sundanese ethnicity has progressed further than any other ethnicities in Indonesia (mainly to the benefit of Jakarta at their doorstep) but most Sundanese intellectuals have risen across the decade. Unlike ethnic Malays, Sundanese has also strong republican tendencies, but with an Islamist twist. Instead of a Federal Republic with elected and crowned heads of provinces, Sundanese’s common vision mostly was a democratic Islamic republic, similar to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    Sundanese ethnicity dominated the Western portion of Java Island, but the group has travelled to Sumatra and Kalimantan as the same transmigration Javanese had had for centuries. However, due to its smaller size, its region of influence mainly revolves only around Lampung and Bengkulu.

    Sundanese relations with other cultures had been fluctuating at best across the board. Although the myth of Javanese and Sundanese rivalry (dated since Majapahit times) is partly true, Sundanese had nowhere the hatred it has as people had believed. Instead, Sundanese may have the same sentiment as Malays had toward the Javanese, two smaller groups envied the dominant culture and wished to outperform it. Because of this, Sundanese commonly is a natural ally of Malay in an ethnic sense. Moreover, they have the same disdain for ethnic Chinese, contributing to many discriminatory incidents occurring across Jakarta. Sundanese is also ripe with Malay’s Bumiputera spirit, supported by a strong emphasis on Islamic culture.

    Sundanese as a voter bloc is extremely conservative, and much in opposition to the Nasution’s presidency and LKY’s premiership. The people will choose the most pro-Islam politicians of the bunch, with strong support for Bumiputera. Sundanese is also an opposer of civic nationalism, even sometimes ignoring Pancasila to exist. Sundanese has also been unfriendly to minority groups like Chinese and Papuans, but they mostly hated foreigners (because of Walini City) of European or American descent. In other cultures, Sundanese mostly had amicable relations (if Malay also approves of it, Sundanese most likely agree). Politically, Sundanese has opposed the Javanese due to the latter dominance in Indonesian politics.

    If Sundanese relations with other ethnic groups are fine, Sundanese relations with other religious groups are somewhat awful, sometimes more awful than Malays. Not only do they try to ignore Pancasila, but they have also been attempts to slowly erode Pancasila from the government and promote Indonesia as an Islamic Republic. Sundanese is also the strongest missionaries that went to Papua and Madagaskar, contributing significant religious tension to the natives there that was reluctant to convert.

    The Other

    The three ethnicities made up almost 55% of the Indonesian population. But there are so many smaller ethnicities that have not been taken into account. Reducing Madagaskar, Papua and Solomon Island native ethnicities, the remaining native ethnic groups constitute nearly 28% of the population. These smaller groups, although did not dominate federal politics, had contributed to their play on the balance of regimes throughout Indonesian independence.

    The division of remaining ethnic tribes may be divided into two simple categories, those who promoted Islam and those who advocate for Pancasila as the centre of politics. Ethnicities with a majority Islam (Aceh, Madura, Buginese, Minangkabau, Bantenese, Banjares, etc) supported pro-Islam policies and Bumiputera. While non-Islam or diverse religious ethnicities (Batak, Minahasan, Balinese, Flores, Ambon, etc) supported civic nationalism and Pancasila ideology.

    Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?

    Despite Indonesia’s diverse ethnicities, the question of unity remains a significant ordeal to the future of the Federal Republic. Each ethnicity, despite heterogeneous thought, had a common denominator that the ethnicity’s politicians have reverberated for all the group. This, is fundamentally, rooted in the main idea of what Indonesia should be. Differences in minor details may differ from one identity to another, but the big picture remains two contrasting views, a multiculturalist (salad bowl) or assimilationist (melting pot) group.

    The multiculturalist, currently holding dominance since the early days of Indonesia, holds dear that Indonesia has always been a nation of diversity, with people with nothing in common sharing one divine goal invented by the same ideal: a prosperous and just society. This was a direct response to centuries of colonialism; abuse and atrocities conducted by people deemed as superior. The result was an attempt to erase that superiority, claiming that all ethnicities have an equal status in Indonesia, no higher no lower. People should have an equal chance of opportunity, and that is self-evident for the natural good of the world.

    Salad Bowl supporters, surprisingly, have no definite ideology (left or right wing) that can cling to. It is because the communist, liberal, and nationalist groups have pushed multiculturalism as their main policy, which made the question of multiculturalism more religious than political. The nationalist sentiment had advocated for civic nationalism (putting the Indonesian nation as the unifying rally). The communists and liberals had put multiculturalism due to their ideology’s blindness to race, colour, and ethnicity (for all the different reasons). This pan-coalition, as fragile as it may seem, had put Bumiputera policy under significant backlash; nothing had been passed even with the deep divisions each group has among each other.

    The supporter of multiculturalism had no apparent location, rather than it is more from the government’s popularity. In Indonesia’s most thriving places, the inhabitants would have a more tolerant position of other races, in contrast to those that have “envy issues” or have less prosperity than the neighbour surrounding it. However, multiculturalism has a stronger presence in non-Islam populations.

    Assimilationists only became rather dominant when Malaya’s Kesejahteraan Rakyat wing soared from the Labour Law 1986 victory against the Federal government. But the idea had a history before PPP’s ascension. Early Parindra days had significant proposals to make Indonesia a super-Malayan nation. PNI-R's early days had pan-Malayan sentiment, the reason why Indonesia annexed Madagaskar. However, the assimilationist did not progress further because the group itself shifted from ethnic nationalism to ethnic and religious nationalism. Instead of just pan-Malay nationalism, melting pot supporters put Islam too as their common religion, which put more ethnicities against it. The apparent changes were seen during the PNI-R’s gradual chasm with the PUI wing (at that time still PNI-R). Nasution which did not accept assimilationists to include Islam, has moved its way into multiculturalism (showing with higher acceptance of foreign immigrants to Indonesia).

    Melting pot has become stagnant when the general sentiment of it has not become unifying Austronesian nation, but unifying Indonesia as one Islamic identity. It alienated regions with minority religions (Maluku, Batak, Bali, Flores, Dayak, and Papua), putting those coincidentally isolated regions at higher risk of regional insurgency. However, assimilationist has grown in Indonesia, even with hard-Islam identity, as Mahathir and his faction had created breakthroughs in making this idea mainstream from Bumiputera policy.

    The supporter of the melting pot theory, without a doubt, had cores in pro-Islam communities, specifically reformist ones like Salafism or modernist Islam. It also has significant inroads within Malay and Sundanese populations, with smaller ethnicities (Bugis, Gorontalo, Lombok, Madura, Banten, Cirebon and Bengkulu). Some of them (Minang and Acehnese) had a stronger emphasis on Islam, but still adhere to the melting pot enthusiasts.

    [1] As of 1988, the Council of Rulers is a ceremonial body as well as a political message to the Federal Government of Indonesia for their existence, possibly aiming for the reclamation of their rightful territories.

    Wow, I just talked about three ethnicities only. As you can see, I deliberately miss very prominent minority groups and regional areas, which will be the subsequent chapter (immigration and particular regions).
    22.5. The Great Urbanization: Papua and Madagascar
  • Is Indonesia a Nation State or a Colonial Empire? Joochem Boodt*, 2023

    The Final Frontier Chapter
    New Guinea


    Merauke, 1983

    The 20th century has seen colonialism and imperialism eroded with self-governance, public awareness of democratic ideas, as well as the decline of European dominance on the world stage. The struggles of a colony had slowly faded as a memory of the past, although not with vengeance. By the late century, Africa’s colonial holdings have slowly been granted independence or sufficient self-governance from its colonizers. Asia had no significant protectorate remaining, and the clusters of the Pacific had slow independence stage provided by the United States. Little places of colonial holdings, yet even colonial settlements, may have existed. That is if you assume so.

    All the cornerstones of the globe have been navigated, but the island of New Guinea was relatively untouched throughout the millennia. The reasons were simple: malaria and heat. However, the island was not isolated from international trade, it was claimed Majapahit had tributaries; sultans of Tidore claim sovereignty of the Western tip of New Guinea and many more colonial contacts before it became a Dutch, British and German colony. It had no motive to properly colonize the region with its intense heat and diseases.

    New Guinea is essentially an island of mountains and valleys covered in dense tropical rainforest, which holds tribal societies with vastly unintelligible languages. Societies were loosely organized, with little political cognizance, mere councils of elders for peace-making and dispute settlement. Much of the higher forms of civilization created by the colonizers, European or Indonesian, made inroads into coastal New Guinean tribes that slowly grow. Technology was primitive, dated as early as the stone era. Agriculture remained in the nomad state of slash-and-burn, and people had no civil attitudes, sometimes fully violent.

    In the 1870s, a small colonial economic activity sparked in the region. The first was the former German New Guinea which established plantations in Madang. Boundaries between colonised plantations and the tribes have been settled to reduce threats of plantation burns made by the natives. In 1888, the Dutch settled in Papua and have a serious check on the Tugeri tribe. Hostilities with powerful primitive clans between colonizers and natives continued until the present, with several foreign communities still may be under threat. However, with economic opportunity, the colonizers remained on those plantations, even expanding to minerals and foreign resources. Somewhat soon, gold was found in British New Guinea. Other forms of minerals (copper, nickel, silver, and cobalt) had been discovered at the latter stages of colonization.

    During World War II, the Japanese army invaded northern New Guinea for a while before being defeated by the Allies. After WW2, Australia returned the possessions of the Eastern portion of New Guinea, while the West was returned to the Dutch. Australian officials wanted a return to the prewar order, while some had empowered the local population for their sacrifices in the war. Cacao was slowly growing as New Guinea’s main economy. The Dutch portion, meanwhile, had a different history.

    Ecstatic with the joy of independence from the country Indonesia, Western Papua had the hopes of joining their Jakarta brothers should the situation be. Instantly, Indonesia’s appeal to the United Nations, despite rigorous resistance from the Netherlands, had given an ear to Papua’s referendum for the future of the region, which had voted overwhelmingly for joining. Still, this declaration of rejoining with Indonesia remained highly disputable, with diplomatic cables having cited Indonesia had rigged and tampered with the referendum process, threatening electors should they not vote for Indonesia. Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat, or Act of Free Choice, was the decision that admitted western New Guinea into Indonesia.

    Pepera Meeting, 1950

    The rapid annexation of Western Papua to Indonesia had alarmed Australia [1], much of it because they had little awareness of how Indonesia’s diplomatic apparatus successfully made the United Nations agree to this undemocratic proposal. Even so, the growing movement of Parindra, the ultra-nationalist party with Pan-Austronesia, had made Australia’s New Guinea under threat with separatist threats funded by Indonesia. The rumours of Indonesia attempting to unite New Guinea from this method had made Australia anxious. With significant diplomatic blunders and Australia’s continued underestimation of Indonesia’s strength, Australia proceeded with aggression on Indonesian soil. By 1960, Australia had thought the country will starve Indonesia into submission, releasing the Western portion of Papua, and a total dismemberment of the growing threat. Instead, what happened was Kennedy’s sudden visit to Indonesia, renouncing Australia’s growing brutalism on Indonesia’s civilian population, and the complete reversal of the Australia Aggression. Not only would Australia lose all New Guinea holdings, but the Solomon Islands had also been given to Indonesia as well.

    By 1966, united New Guinea was officially an integral Indonesian land. Uniting the East and West had reconciled separated tribes (which was rare from the island’s sparse population), but it had the intended effect of uniting New Guinea as the broader Pan-Austronesia movement of the Parindra. Under Nasution’s administration, New Guinea’s attention was third to Java-centrism and Sumatra. Gaining the island on the fold was a significant victory for Indonesia. In 1972, Nasution reorganized Papua as a State Republic, like a state within a federation. The defacto leadership, meanwhile, had nothing of the sort.

    The Indonesian Model

    The 1970s was the implementation of Indonesia’s rule within New Guinea to the remaining portion of the island. Eastern New Guinea was relatively new, but Western New Guinea received Indonesia treatment as early as the 50s before the Australians occupied the island for a while during the Australian Aggression. Unlike the Australian non-interference method, allowing the free reign of the tribes while keeping the economic benefits (i.e., plantations and mines) without the threat to these natives. Policymakers in Indonesia, as well as societal implementers, had a holistic approach to New Guinea. That is, the total revamp of New Guinean civilization, forming the Austronesian model for the world, equalising the development from Sumatra to New Guinea (Papua for Indonesian).

    The Indonesian model of government in New Guinea for the next 20 years had a simple approach. Jakarta had believed New Guinea’s deposits to be plentiful; that extracting them will be the fastest method of development for New Guinea. The end goal was to create New Guinea as the industrial powerhouse of the Indonesian world, claiming the new nation’s status as the next Asian Tiger, the Asian economic powerhouse, or even the empire of the equator. Plans from the interim Wilopo Administration had put New Guinea on the priority list of the government’s organization plan. However, Sukarno Administration had promised the tribes in New Guinea Highlands that they be granted autonomy and self-rule without interference. That’s the promise that made East New Guinea appeal to separatism against Australia, with the “anti-White” sentiment that depicted Australians as ruthless lords. At first, Nasution had planned to continue Sukarno’s no interference policy (which unexpectedly was adopted in Madagascar), much to the disappointment of Parindra. That changed when Suharto [3] visited the island.

    Before the reorganization of the State Republic of Papua, then-General Suharto was the interim commander of the island. He has visited the island, surprisingly remained untouched by the Australians. He was attracted to the significant gold and copper deposits on the island and had given reports that these minerals alone might revive the Indonesian war-torn economy as quickly as possible. Suharto has seen the abundance of mineral deposits in New Guinea, as his soldiers when patrolled on the small town of Merauke, have accidentally discovered gold in the streams of drinking water. This story echoed the military personnel of Indonesia, which hurriedly created the unofficial Gold Rush in Indonesia in the early 70s.

    Freeport Company mining site, 1969

    President Kennedy, in the early 60s, has a significant interest in New Guinea. As Indonesia’s solid presence as the United States’s ally in the Pacific (with Japan), the Kennedy Administration appealed to Sukarno. There had been significant 100-year-long agreements regarding lands granted from Indonesia to the United States government, most of whom were the gift and guarantee of American friendliness towards Indonesia. The real reason, for Kennedy, was the growing demand for ores for the rising electronic industry, in which cobalt, and nickel, had been high American interests. The Liberty Space Centre in New Guinea, near Jayapura, was not intended as important as it used to be. Nixon’s drama with NASA during the 70s made this location unexpectedly the launch site of the first Moon launch in the world. That renowned legacy made Liberty Space Center’s town, Tropicana, a significant population boost in the 70s, then growing too large before the NASA administration moves back to the US with this growth. [2]

    Nasution’s growing concern was he agreed with Suharto’s proposal of developing the island but attempts to do it by educating the natives had been futile, much because of the people’s willingness to violence that ravaged immigrants with skilled expertise that could educate them. Efforts to compromise between giving the locals autonomy and pushing forward the industrialization had ended with Nasution’s presidency advocating for the latter’s proposal, eventually relenting immigration restrictions as early as 1972 from Indonesia. Suharto’s influence continued in Papua from Governor Frans Kaisepo’s approved attitude towards him. Frans [3] was a staunch Indonesian nationalist, many of his contributions were to aid Papuan sentiments in Australian New Guinea, much to the creation of modern Papua history. Frans accepted Suharto’s modernization proposal, as he wished for ethnic Papuans to be equally developed as the remaining Indonesian brothers. Appointed as the governor of the Papua State Republic from 1973 until his death, Frans devoted his life to the rapid development of Indonesia.

    Kaisepo, 1980

    As early as 1967, three locations (Manokwari, Jayapura, and Merauke) had been the target of highly skilled labour to settle. This was Suharto’s initial proposal to educate Papuan tribes with adequate skills such as crafting, farming, or mining. However, these faced significant resistance with Papuan tribes endorsing this encroachment as the “newest form of imperialism and new method of life” which gained much annoyance to the federal government. Because of this, Nasution’s immigration policy of education has slowly shifted towards full-front colonialism. To make up for the skilled labour demands of the growing industry and mines of New Guinea, forming the true sense of colonialism in the modern world. Efforts of immigration to New Guinea, shockingly, were easy. Not only do Indonesians have successfully attracted their citizens to move here, but foreigners were enticed by the island. This was made by Nasution’s special regulation regarding the Papua State Republic, but much of this should be credited towards Suharto.

    In 1975, not long after the reorganization of the territory as the Papua State Republic, Frans Kaisepo announced the infamous Papuan Constitution of 1975. It was the state republic’s constitution drafted by New Guinean pro-Indonesian nationalists, and Suharto-faction militarists. These proposals have cited the importance of New Guinea for the abundance of minerals. Suharto’s intentions on the island, regardless of moralistic point-of-view, can be explained rather simply: money. Since his commando during the liberation of New Guinea with Air Marshall Suryadarma, he has bought significant swaths of land for three main industries: plantation, mining, and manufacturing. Cocoa has been New Guinea’s most profitable plantation crop, along with oil palm and coconut. The land was free since Nasution’s post-peace treaty granted military personnel that contribute to Indonesia’s victory lands that the government had acquired with the native treaties that had been going on since before the war. Those compensations were nothing profitable for the lower rankings (for the land was not big enough for profitable plantation, industry or mine). Thus, these lower-ranking military personnel joined together with their land contributions, forming what became the core foundation of Partai Rakyat Demokratik’s funding mechanism of Suharto-ism. Frans, and probably Suharto, advocated the method of rapid Westernization on the island, as a means to provide a profitable venture of his savings, as well as his ambitious pledge to succeed Nasution as his successor. This came as a success with Suharto’s growing business empire, from energy, and plantation to the retail sector, which much of his wealth came from New Guinea’s exploitation.

    Suharto looking at the profits of PT Humpuss, an energy sector company, 1979


    Didik Budiharto, or Didik Suharto, inherit the Energy sector of Suharto's company, in 1985. [4]

    However, his ambition might contribute to New Guinea’s advancement, because his growing empire enticed all the corporations entering New Guinea for potential success, thus exploding the island’s economic value. Freeport, the United States mining company leased by Sukarno during the early US-Indo friendship talks, have started to attract more migrants to escalate mining in Tembaga Pura, just because Suharto’s corporation and private Indonesian locals have encroached on the city with competing gains. As companies flooded the island with locals unwilling to cooperate as workers, the natural result was unrestricted, unprecedented, and wild immigration towards the island. From the early immigration entries dated from 1967, these towns have evolved into bustling cities. The place had been transformed into a new colony, competing with Indonesians with foreigners on the island. Fortunately, as New Guinea’s native population concentrated in the mountainous regions, the effects of culture shock had little impact than they should have been.

    The difference between Suharto and Nasution's approaches to developing New Guinea differentiated who should have been the actors involved. Nasution approved that the fastest method to build New Guinea was to attract as many skilled labours as possible without limits. Pouring all the necessary manpower will advance New Guinea much faster. He has stated that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. He had no qualms about Javanese migrants coming to New Guinea for the opportunity, nor the foreigners who strangely saw the place attractive. Suharto, on the other hand, prefer the restrictive approach of transforming New Guinea as “New Java”, since he felt the skilled labours in Indonesia proper is enough for New Guinea’s growth. Another personal reason was foreigners’ entry into New Guinea gave Suharto’s business empire more competition, stifling the monopoly he was trying to achieve on the island.

    The foreigner’s entry into New Guinea, how bizarre it was, had been a good number of lucky factors that ignite the constant flow of the white population to New Guinea. Firstly, the white population had been characters with skills in complicated labours such as machine maintenance, industrial planning, and especially senior consultants. Freeport, Copra Coconut and Barrick Gold, all US-Canada conglomerates, have invited thousand of skilled labours with their families to stay for their mines’ maintenance. NASA’s research scientists also contributed to the growth, with Tropicana as the immediate result of it.

    In the 80s, the LKY premiership has given New Guinea a new federal government, but nothing transformed the progress New Guinea has had. Instead, LKY advocated for the improvement of efficiency on the island, thus bringing up Suharto’s initial plan to the extreme. Not only do LKY continue immigration policies to the Papua State Republic, but LKY also boosted Nasution’s PITP (Program Infrastruktur Trans Papua), by accommodating all the necessary connections to help the island grow. It’s an impressive feature that after Indonesia had finished the construction of the Trans-Java toll network, LKY’s further initiative was to create the first toll road in New Guinea; a small stretch of line connecting Jayapura to the city of Tropicana.

    Tropicana Suburb, 1988

    LKY adopted a stern measure to subsidize local development more than foreign exploitation, since both immigrants from Java and the West had alienated native tribes from receiving the economic benefit besides infrastructure, LKY has commenced a conciliary method which, like Nasution’s early plan, again entire the locals to adopt the modern life rather than the traditional customs. Different from than response during the Nasution administration, with the changing island visible to every native New Guinean, locals have looked in awe of this progress, thus advocating a moderate position on industrialization. This contributes to the island’s growing participation in bureaucracy, politics, and social changes (which mostly immigrants or coastal Papuans with nationalist views have dominated throughout the years). LKY also involve natives on working hard labour, such as navigators, bricklayer, etc.

    LKY’s focus is the same as the government that preceded him. Noticing the abundance of ore resources and arable land, LKY had all attention to extracting the potential deposits New Guinea had for Indonesia’s growth. More gold, silver and cobalt deposits have been found in several locations on the island, many of whom became LKY’s immediate focus to establish a mine that may provide an economic boost to Indonesia’s booming export. He still tried to restrict foreign companies, and for his premiership attempted to reduce foreign exploitation for Indonesia’s core policy, similar to the nationalization programs LKY had done on oil and forestry companies. Nevertheless, the exponential rate of discovered deposits made foreign companies inevitably enter the business competition with LKY’s nationalization attempts, much so that these attempts only neutralize the arrival of private (and mostly foreign) mining firms to extract resources. LKY did not try to restrict these enterprises with regulation, though, because he believed it may inhibit New Guinea from this rapid advancement, which was what made Indonesia’s economy boom as high as 15% at one time.

    LKY’s premiership also saw a different flow of foreign immigration entering New Guinea. These newcomers mainly were ideologues with certain beliefs for a utopia that exists in a tropical paradise, along with the Cold War tension remaining high across Europe. This form of immigrants, disparaged by Indonesians as “white hippies” became a trend for these people to vacate themselves and settle in New Guinea for two things: belief and fear. Concerned with the growing tension across Europe, inhabitants of the remaining pro-West countries in the Germano-sphere have remained sceptical of their government’s inability to form a cohesive peace assurance for their people. These people, mostly left-leaning, have been estranged from the government’s anti-USSR and anti-French tendency on policy. The trigger for this immigration, however, was entirely unintentional, from a German band. In 1970, the German band Trio announced a hit song Paradies [5], which was a criticism of the fear of war in Europe that claimed there was a paradise. Incidentally, the heaven mentioned was New Guinea, where the band sang of “lush green paradise”, “endless beach” and “ecstatic happiness of the people” within. With the song becoming a hit, the trend of “moving to New Guinea” became a hit on young afraid European that saw war as inevitable, thus flocking there with hopes of creating a “utopia”. These numbers of foreign expatriates were nowhere near the number of Javanese immigrants to the island, but it gained significant influence as the “elite” class of the island’s population. In 1988, the number of white New Guineas has risen to a humble 350 thousand people, which was nothing for the Indonesian migrants of a total of 3 million, as well as the native Papua of barely 9 million people. Many of these immigrants lived on the Western (Dutch New Guinea) portion of the island, while the Eastern side had been much more native.

    German Band, Trio

    Frans Kaisepo, the first state president of Papua, remained a popular figure and Father of Papua until he died in 1987. The president’s policy of open economics has put the advancement of the New Guinean society, but the benefits to the native core population remained mixed. Some argued that the advancement of New Guinea had no benefit for the natives, and some argued the “trickle-down” effect it has, especially regarding the infrastructure it has built. Under LKY’s premiership, Kaisepo continued his liberal governance by allowing more companies to enter New Guinea.​

    The African Model [6]


    Antananarivo, 1988

    The events unfold in the continent of Africa, with French’s new communist approach and consolidation from the Nixon Administration, the bargain of Malagasy Island as a sovereign territory of Indonesia had been most controversial to the Western world, the USSR and probably the continent of Africa itself. The insatiable thirst of previous Pan-Nusantara Parindra that may have gone out of control, along with the seemingly “imperialist” attitude during the early republic of Indonesia, may contribute to this bargain. The Malagasy annexation was a French attempt to put Indonesia a good trading partner, which proved useful from the United States’ deteriorating relation with France in the Kennedy, Nixon, Shafer, Carter, and Glenn administrations (Nixon had tried to normalize but u-turn to appease his conservative voter base). However, this annexation has harnessed the UN protest, but it went nowhere fortunately for the organization’s focus on Indochina, Central Africa, and just the Middle East which was rampaging with the rising UASR. With Africa's instability for the last 20 years, international attention cannot argue which Malagasy (eventually Madagaskar) has the most growth of all African nations in history because of its part as the Federal Republic of Indonesia.

    The island was a French colony for centuries, which remained untouched even during the War. However, the changes in Paris, with significant disdain for overseas territories, made the French more willing to just let independence rather than retain overseas possession, except French West Africa. This made Malagasy, even though French governments have made modernization to make Malagasy a profitable colony, soon to be ignored and partially omitted from French policies. The Madagascar island, eventually, was given to France for other reasons, but it made the locals realise France doesn't value the island more than it had been.

    When Malagasy people heard Indonesia ruled the nation, the reaction was partly indifferent. Many ruling classes (mostly Merina) have hoped for independence, but the common man of Malagasy has an indifferent attitude toward the new occupants. However, the main contributor to Madagascar’s integration into Indonesia is the first State President of Madagascar, Philibert Tsiranana. Tsiranana was a pro-French sympathizer that wished to join as part of the Franco-African Community. But the growing chasm between Thorez and Tsiranana made the latter slowly disinterested in making Madagascar a French autonomy. Instead, he became more advocate of independence with moderate nationalism. Arriving in 1967, the native Malagasy tribes had heard of the victory across the Indian Ocean, felt envigorated with a sense of anti-imperialism, and pressed Tsiranana for independence. Domestic regions in Malagasy were stormy, ethnic Merina had been the less enthusiastic about joining Indonesia, but the poorest regions of Western and Southern Madagascar had a good impression of the Indonesian people because they despised the Merina people more than they prefer others to dominate the government than the Merina. When French talks of giving Madagascar to Indonesia began, the Western and Southern tribes, despite their illiteracy and remoteness to international events, may have celebrated Indonesia’s entry into the region.

    Tsimiroro Heavy Oil Site, one of the largest oil fields in Madagascar, opened thousands of jobs, courtesy of Subandrio and LKY's industrialization program in 1981

    President Nasution, upon arriving in Madagascar, noted the island’s decent number of natural resources and wished to implement his Papuan approach into Madagascar. This was opposed by Tsiranana, who advocated for improving the livelihoods of Madagascar first. Nasution, but that time gave Tsiranana why Papua had been modelled as such and reassured the initial plan of the island’s development method. Tsiranana who heard about this, was very elated and eventually became the new proponent of the pro-Indonesia movement. The Madagascar Consitution of 1973, formed after the changes made in 1972 Federal Consitution that deliberately appease Madagascar and New Guinea, put forth Tsiranana and Madagascar island as a federal part of Indonesia.

    The true Papuan model envisioned by Nasution and Sukarno was adopted in Madagascar. The series of rapid industrialization by coopting the natives to adopt Westernization have received accommodating attitudes from the people in Madagascar who supported it. With blatant colonialism not necessary, Nasution announced vocational programs in Madagascar to teach basic modern skills: craftsmen, engineers, or hard-skilled labour, which may be fruitful for industries to arrive in Madagascar. Nasution’s attitude after the annexation was not as attentive as before, but his ignorance of Madagascar may benefit Tsiranana during his presidency on the island.

    Tsiranana advocated moderate economic and social policies, which was influenced by his stay in France which saw the advanced Westernize society. Indonesia’s demand for goods and closer connectivity to East Asia made Madagascar another potential to ease the demand with its resources. Agriculture in Madagascar such as rice and cassava, as cash crops such as vanilla or coffee, became highly demanded exports that Tsiranana needed for his reforms. Much so that in his death in 1978, Tsiranana quoted his utmost gratitude to Indonesia.
    “The hunger of Indonesia made us rich, prosper and advance. I have no regrets about giving up independence for Indonesia. I think the majority of Madagascar understands it.”
    -State President Tsiranana​

    Indonesia’s entry on the island has improved the poor citizens of South and West Madagascar, which amend relations with the inner Merina people. For the region's good abundance of oil and ore resources, Indonesia’s federal government (especially under LKY) had put priority on the island’s industrialization. Those mines, with skilled labour from the Merina people, became a good synergy for the advancement of livelihood. Madagascar is claimed to have the most prosperous people in the entire African continent.

    Positive Feedback Loop

    Tsiranana tried to establish prosperity from his Malagasy Socialism, it was a government program to advocate basic human rights and improve the standard living conditions of Madagascar. This humanitarian and pragmatic solution came to increase access to water and electricity, improve agricultural production and improve the private sector. This approach came from the diversification of Madagascar's economy, increase private investment, and constitute a national welfare program to push more prosperity to the people of Malagasy.

    In contrast with Frans’ more Federal-aligned approach to governance, Tsiranana has his ambitions to govern Madagascar. He encouraged the development of cooperatives, instead of conglomerates, as means of economic participation. A mixed economy, instead of a liberal economy, was commanded on the island. Instead of receiving experienced skilled immigrants for factories and agriculture, Tsiranana invited teachers and trainers from Indonesia-proper and abroad, which taught local Malagasy people the necessary knowledge and skills for advancing the economy. Slow advancement in agriculture, upland cotton plantation, and petrol refinery have been constructed to increase revenue.

    Tsiranana’s opposition argued his Malagasy Socialism idea may have been too slow for Malagasy people. However, the critics were shut for the outstanding results of it. Unemployment in Madagascar had nearly dropped to zero, while living conditions have raised to increase lifespan for nearly 10 years in the last decade. Malagasy’s revenue skyrocketed when private investments flooded the agriculture and energy sector of Madagascar’s industry. The populace has felt the positive changes in the nation’s rapid development of electrical and water networks in villages.

    The Merina elite, who wanted independence in the first place, and acclaimed their status suppressed by Tsiranana, had little to argue against the popular president. Although Tsiranana’s success was not his, it was proper Indonesia’s demand, which backfire the Merina elite’s main narrative. Cries of independence, or regional separatism, dwindled for the disappointment of opposition. Bahasa Indonesia became widely accepted as Malagasy’s official language, accepting Indonesia’s dominance. There has been an issue of economic dependence, but the rapid improvement of all Malagasy made these concerns washed away. Unlike the island of New Guinea, Madagascar has less influx of Indonesian immigrants because of Tsiranana’s domestic program. Yet, the Malagasy locals have begun assimilation into the Indonesian culture for its support by economic progress.
    “Let’s start building this, and this, and this too. Build it all.”

    -The famous quote from Premier LKY in Madagascar electrified pro-Indonesian sentiment in Madagascar, as well as the popularity of the Indonesian government on the people.​

    Tsiranana's socialist programs have mimicked the Israeli socialism model of his leniency and sympathy for the Jewish community. His interest was satisfied when out of all Jewish exodus locations, many Jewish left-leaning figures had migrated to Madagascar for refuge, which the Indonesian government partially approved, for the harsh repressions of Jews under Arabian UASR. Staying in the Northern part of Malagasy, Tsiranana eventually copy several of the Israeli's agricultural methods, education and thinking, which was more forward than most Malagasy and tried to implement with the Malagasy model. This was the only unrestricted immigration to Malagasy, which policies have been criticised by Indonesian-proper (Javanese and others) that had quotas to enter the island.

    * The name came from this Youtuber of a video that I watched. It was quite a different perspective, but a welcome one for me.

    [1] My efforts to smooth the TL by giving off more reasons why Australia decided to invade Indonesia at that time. This was pretty realistic considering Australia's OTL support to East Timor during their independence efforts.

    [2] More smoothing to make NASA-related events realistic to ITTL, which I made as part of NASA feud with Nixon, and part of luck made Papua good publicity for the Moon Landing.
    [3] This is a prologue for Suharto's wealth ITTL, as well as how PRD remain a good force in politics.
    [4] Didik Budiharto is ITTL Tommy Suharto
    [5] Attempt to make the reason why foreigners seem to keep moving to Papua, of course, because of this human rights issues in Papua (like West Papua ITTL) have been mostly reduced, and became somewhat ironic as ITTL it would be the foreigners as also accomplice of "crackdown of violence" in event of "native aggression".
    [6] Another smoothing to make Madagascar more realistic on joining Indonesia.

    These chapters have focused more on the bigger picture, such as culture, islands or government policies. Next up I want to micro a little bit, coming off to the people of Indonesia in this era.
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    22.6. The Great Urbanization: Stories
  • 2nd August 1988
    Penang, Malaya Province, State Republic of Indonesia


    The rings of alarm filled Basyir’s ears. It’s closing time for the gates.

    A young-adult hopeful watches the closing of the factory. Gaze at the doors which unveil the enormity, he saw what he had always seen for years. The echoes of the prompter so the labour leaves the premises and the guards gracefully usher workers out of the workplace. Although he has done this so many times, he always shivers at the late breeze of the Malacca’s wind on his back; which is radiated with the impeccable sunset before being obstructed by the island before.

    Basyir holds the youngest sales position ever sat in the Walini semiconductor industry in the Federal District of Penang. Unlike the industries surrounding Penang’s Industrial Zone, Walini is the only one which adheres to the minimum wage of the Nusantara State Republic, in a district which doesn’t constrain any industrial to do so. Penang Federal District, following Federal law, has the lowest minimum wage in comparison to most State Republics. Because of this, conglomerates have insisted on staying in Federal Districts, while leaving State Republics. However, before the election, Mahathir made a deal with conglomerates that prevent this exodus, but remarkably reversing them much to the worker’s glee. Now, the zone remains as busy as usual, harnessing the power of Indonesian workers.

    As a salesman, Basyir noticed the reason that Walini Semiconductor can afford the minimum wage, is because of the industry’s sheer profitability in constructing the materials it produces semiconductors. Returns of semiconductor has been high for Walini Electronics in recent years, because of the extraordinarily high demand from the world. Much to the worker’s disbelief, Indonesia’s Rp 5000 minimum wage is far lower than the workers in Korea, Japan, or Taiwan. Moreover, Indonesia has a strategic location which attracts foreign investors, and no hostile or complicated government like the Philippines or Thailand (which for everyone working here, responded with disbelief).

    Basyir enjoys his fulfilled dream, as most young adults have strived for in Indonesia. Born during the peak of Australian Aggression, Basyir’s childhood was filled with the nation’s growth out of devastation. Born to a family of seven whose house was destroyed by Australian bombings; his parents found an opportunity in the manufacturing heart; has worked from the bottom to the top. The ‘Indonesian Dream’, as much of Basyir’s real-life experience, came real with his parents emerged from owning no home to a decent family with a considerable sized income. He was reminded of times when their parents could only afford tempe and tahu with nasi putih, then they could afford ikan asin, then ayam. For the rest of his life, he can see the Indonesian Dream in his family, now capable of eating steik in the most luxurious Western of Menteng, Jakarta. On the entertainment demand, his family can afford to enjoy a vacation in Bali or Bintan, two places that his parents would shock to believe if he had asked them twenty years prior.

    The salesman realized that he, along with tens of millions of youths in this nation, have experienced the greatest comeback of a generation in Indonesian history. Benefiting from trade, alliance, and economic growth, Indonesia’s strength emerges from the generations that see what the leadership has led them to. That is why the recent demonstrations in Indonesia were not because of the criticism of decline or stagnation, it was of fear of “privilege” and “unfairness” that saw many occupants feel they don’t receive the “progress” they should have had, a sentiment that echoed the farmers especially. For the workers, however, Basyir noted that most of the pro-labour movement has been political-motivated, not fully in the interest of labours. The Labour Law of 1986 did not alter the lives of farmers and workers as significantly as it should. Basyir, however, commented that it only strengthens Mahathir’s bloc in PPP, thus overthrowing Musa after the death of LKY. His notions came to this conclusion because of his recent conversations with his father, a worker, that felt the unrest before the election didn’t reverberate to most of his peers.

    “Basyir, what’s with the gaze?”

    He did not realize the middle-aged man that has been waiting for him as all the other workers have left. Andi was the factory’s worker’s chief in the refining manufacturing section – the zone in which semiconductors are checked, refined, or discarded by quality. For Basyir, Andi was his most friendly coworker in this factory, many of whom saw Basyir as too young to have such a rise in career. Envy is a strong emotion.

    “Nothing, Pak. Just enjoying the smoke,”

    Basyir’s sarcastic remark chuckled Andi. The salesman’s thoughts remained on the company he had worked with. He sees that Walini Electronics, like him, is growing exponentially in the market. He felt that his sales had contributed to Walini’s growth as a prominent semiconductor producer. Still, he felt an unease in his future, because when someone has risen so high, they will start to forget the risk.

    Andi pats the young’s shoulder with eyes fixating on the company’s name. “You know, when I first worked here, everywhere is just plain grasslands, no one was here. Yet here we are. In the middle of a smoke farm for the tiniest piece of magic. Semiconductors? I called that electric wizardry.”

    A grinning Basyir agrees with Andi’s comment. He wasn’t particularly sure how these semiconductors work, but he knows that these tiny components contribute much to the electric tools he and Andi uses. Telephones, refrigerators, and radios, he understood that these components bring new technological advancements that he couldn’t fathom to comprehend. Moreover, these components that have decent penetration into the Indonesian market, had nowhere close to the insatiable hunger for the same products in the American market, which made Basyir wonder what kind of advanced products the Americans have been inventing.

    He had known Andi’s story in Penang, arriving as a soldier of the Indonesian Armed Forces who liberated British Malaya, Andi’s youth came mature with meeting gadis desa of the village a few miles North of Penang. With a twist of romantic stories between the couple, Andi decided to stay in Penang, live with his lover, and grow a family of five. Andi saw the changes in Penang, from a decent trading post, now a bustling growing metropolis with limitless industrial construction. Penang’s full district had no empty lands, either fully purposed for industrial or residential demands. Andi never realized that the same Penang that he had lived in became the government’s top priority of the most advanced industrial zones (electronics and chemicals) in the nation, competing with the capital of Indonesia as the provider of Indonesia’s cheap futuristic technology for the new millennium.

    However, Andi’s Penang story was an understatement for the region because the place had been a bustling city well before Andi’s birth. Basyir had known of Penang’s history as the birthplace of well-known Asian intellectuals, a great city full of Overseas-Chinese, and a hub of growing youths that is pro-American. It was the Seberang Perai that he had romanticised about. Unlike the metropolis on the island that started to spread towards Butterworth, the factory rested near Sungai Muda, the border between Kedah and Penang, which saw the biggest contrast of landscape that mirrors almost all of Indonesia. The swaths of farmlands and lush trees conflicted with the iron sheets of the industrial roofs, divided with the small rivers that split between rural and industrial, before arriving at Penang’s closer suburb of red ceramic housings. Basyir noted, should one have seen Penang from the aeroplanes, one would see the greatest painting created by men, the shades of colours dignifying the synergy of agriculture, industrial and residential, all within the same region less than 20 km in diameter.

    Basyir rested on the commuter bus that brought him to the factory in the morning, to bring him to his neighbourhood to rest. The lively neighbourhood in Kepala Batas, north of Butterworth, will be the resting place of many workers of Walini Electronics. Basyir rented this place for corporate visitation. He works in Jakarta after all, but the salesman had business to deal with the factory administrator before going back to his sales office. Moreover, he was glad to be sent here, because of the chaotic Jakarta has become. Surrounded by competitors, Walini Electronics has difficult times with electronic enterprises with far greater influences undercut the corporation. Semiconductor, unlike the energy or textile industry, is a sector that is still new for Indonesia but boomed in East Asia. Naturally, as Taiwan, Korea and Japan had received the economic miracle of the semiconductor industry, nations such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand emerged to contest the existing powers. This, fortunately, was a victory for Indonesia, because the efficiency developed by the LKY premiership had made Indonesia a much cheaper, more practical, and better exporter of semiconductor energy than the other two which could replace the established ones in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The United States, with the technology it has, demanded more semiconductors than its industry could produce, thus demanding imports from cheap counterparts to fill the vacancy.

    Basyir is reminded of his first sales pitch to a US semiconductor representative of Motorola. He heard from the higher-ups which Walini Electronics had agreed to a production agreement, which buys cheap semiconductors from Indonesia for United States consumers. Basyir, along with his senior, gets a good agreement of selling revenue of nearly 1 million USD, a first deal he celebrated with his first owned television. Basyir was an excellent salesman, dashing and welcoming, who capture the gaze of foreign investors. In a few months after acquiring his sales job, his career spiked as one of the best salesmen in the company.

    Basyir’s minds were interrupted with the commuter bus’s poster which depicts the campaign slogan of Guntur Sukarnoputra. The resemblance of him with his father is uncanny, the features and passion he ignited were electrical. In Penang, a growing number of labours do support the leaning-communist party of Indonesia, Partai Pekerja Indonesia. Although they have campaigned for more alignment with the United States, the grassroots of the party remained loyal to the Soviet cause, especially apparent when the Soviet Union has been developing its domestic matters, in contrast to the United States' increasing foreign involvement everywhere. Most people who opposed the United States oppose how bossy the superpower has been on subsidiary countries, which looks like an insult to developing countries’ populace. Basyir, still, understood that despite the United States having a mixed response in Indonesia, many of whom are grateful for the superpower’s contribution to Indonesia’s rapid economic growth.

    The poster which presents Guntur also reminded him of his sales pitch two years ago. Basyir received a contact from Pravetz Computers, their demands of buying semiconductors for Indonesia caught a curiosity in Basyir’s mind. It was because of two things: the size and the nation. Pravetz Computers is a computer enterprise in Bulgaria, one of the COMECON nations that is within the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. Walini’s sales group has been aware of the organization’s rising demand for semiconductors, competing with the United States' demands, which pique the company with great interest. What were the Soviets trying to do? Why do they need our semiconductors? These questions dwell inside Basyir’s thoughts, but he never said them out loud, nor comments about them, because the deal made him what he is today. The deal of nearly $5 million cemented Basyir’s position in the company as the best salesman of the year.

    As the salesman’s mind cleared a little, he now listens to the hit music Antara Aku, Kamu dan Bekas Pacarmu from Iwan Fals. The guitar strums seem to have a beat on young commuters, who have shown little movements following the rhythm. Then, he watched the sunset of Penang, a little too late, as the lamp lights on the streets turned on, giving a glimpse of shine towards the peaceful countryside of Penang, illuminating the quiet marshes, little homes and trees surrounding it.​

    Jalan Cendana 6-8, Menteng, Distrik Federal Jakarta

    Ibu Tien
    caresses her forehead. Without her husband’s presence, the family has cracked more and more, as each child bicker on their ambitions, money, or power, which put the previously calm household. After the car accident in 1980, Cendana Group – before not organized into a conglomerate group – had years of struggle on who should be the successor of all her husband’s companies. Naturally, daughter Mbak Tutut has been the first-in-line of the group, but her political ambition that create Partai Rakyat Demokratik insinuated other children to assume the eldest child to shift into a political focus, not a business one. Therefore, Bambang and Didik all aimed for that position. Eventually, the climate of the group was almost partitioned, and Ibu Tien intervened and assumed the leader of the Cendana Group until her children mature.

    “PT Citra Auto Nusantara has had the license for Mercedez Benz and Ford Motor Company for decades, you will not take that away from me.”

    The thunder of Bambang Trihatmodjo on the front porch can be heard by Ibu Tien who has been sitting in the living room.

    “How brave considering PT Humpuss’s license on Tol Laut has been broken by your own doing.” Didik retorted.

    Ibu Tien and Mbak Tutut, 1982

    As early as Didik’s inheritance to the energy company, her youngest son has received the most profitable sector of the group for almost three years. Didik Budiharto, after his Angola military campaign ended up by discharge of disobedience, made Ibu Tien sympathy to give him PT Humpuss, once the only company Ibu Tien has hold of during the messy inheritance fight. At that time, PT Humpuss hasn’t had the growth Didik’s reforms had made, possible because many thought Suharto’s venture in Papua had been too ambitious, despite promising reports. Didik, however, had been a staunch believer of his father’s dreams, giving up all his luck on the industrial potential Papua has. Ibu Tien was ecstatic that her son did get through with all its returns, many of his siblings don’t like the changes.

    The balance of the group rests within Ibu Tien’s insistence to split between sectors of the Cendana Group. Mbak Tutut has controlled the media and retail sector of the group. The media is suitable for Tutut’s political career, while the retail sector retains the profitability and fame of Mbak Tutut itself. The most famous retail of them all, Taman Anggrek Mall in Jakarta, received a good response for the expansion of commerce in the Grogol Subdistrict. Mbak Tutut also involves herself in supermarkets, cooperating with Carrefour in the Indonesian market. Mbak Tutut’s business venture was not as great as her other brothers, probably because she is also the chairman of Partai Rakyat Demokratik, a political journey which is complicated with an uncertain political future.​

    Titiek Suharto, 1988​

    Titiek Suharto, Ibu Tien’s other daughter, owned the entertainment and agriculture sector of Cendana Group, which sometimes coincided with Mbak Tutut’s retail ventures. Owner of Taman Mekarsari, Titiek focuses on expanding profitability in fruit production (like zalacca, jackfruit, oranges, rambutan, starfruit, melons, jackfruit, pineapple, and many more). Titiek’s most profitable sector is Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, constructed south of Halim Airport, which made the greatest domestic entertainment world in Indonesia.

    For Bambang and Didik, the divide should be between Bambang in the property sector and Didik in the energy sector. Bambang owned PT Asriland, which contributes greatly to the rapid suburban development of Bintaro Jaya, where Bambang has been said to be “Kebayoran Baru of Tangerang”. Bambang also developed many in Malaya and other stuff, joined with old Suharto friends constructing the great suburbia of Indonesian residential expansion. Didik, on the other hand, owns the energy sector, such as mining or extraction, which bases mostly in Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua. However, the sector which put these brothers into a fight is the automotive industry.

    Bambang Trihatmodjo, 1984


    Didik Budiharto, 1988

    Since the early 1970s, the automobile industry in Indonesia had earned the boom sensation with Astra's first Toyota Kijang that made cars mainstream in Indonesia. Since then, efforts to dominate Indonesia’s automotive industry remained heated, with companies such as Nissan, Daihatsu and Honda attempting to topple Toyota’s growing dominance. There are also Western auto companies to consider, such as Ford, Chevrolet or BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

    The early struggles of Bambang started after his idea to accept luxurious supercars as his main venture. Mercedes-Benz, Ferarri, and Lamborghini he attempted to appeal to them, promising a good market in Indonesia. However, since Indonesians haven’t reached the profitability to buy these sorts of cars, made Bambang control himself and pushed for automobiles such as Ford, or Daihatsu. The only successive break was the introduction of Mercedes-Benz to Indonesia, which made the company the “high-class car” of Indonesia. However, Bambang soon reached a deadlock when Daihatsu had already been courted by Didik’s new automobile company, which also noticed the growing potential of the automotive market. Didik’s focus, unlike his brother, is more nationalistic as his dream is to create the first domestic car, completely designed by Indonesians, to be launched as a pure Indonesian car. This, however, proved to be a difficult job for the young entrepreneur, thus he resorted to the most effective step to achieve his goal. He invited Daihatsu, Isuzu, Kia, and Hyundai to his business venture, appeasing them for the Indonesian market.

    The tension between the brothers began after Daihatsu successfully bolted to Bambang as their main Indonesian distributor. The younger brother had been furious about this deal and Didik eventually started to form his brand, Timor, based on the stolen designs of Daihatsu. Moreover, Didik eventually began his counterattack against Bambang’s greed when Didik purposefully blocked Bambang’s property sector to Papua and let another property developer encroach on the new suburbia of Sukarnopura. In retaliation, Bambang messed with PT Humpuss’ Tol Laut license, which made the distribution of Humpuss mineral exports much harder.

    Unlike Suharto, Ibu Tien had little corporate experience in her life, but she had great experience in dealing with her children. As the witness to her children’s lives, Ibu Tien had carry the torch after Suharto’s death, carrying the legacy to continue the Cendana family intact.

    “Stop it.” Ibu Tien’s soft voice dominated against the growing tension in the other room. Ibu Tien had little problem silencing the bickering children, she had used this authority frequently, especially after her as the leader of the household.

    “You two must sort it out. I don’t want to hear it for the rest of my life. What would Dad say if he sees both of you ruining his legacy?”

    The next sentence ended the brother’s brawl. Suharto had been the greatest icon of the Cendana family. Remembered as a general, politician, leader and influential, the old man still owns an influence on Indonesian politics, even more so in the military.

    Ibu Tien proceeded with a discussion of the Cendana Group. Their future is quite uncertain as, although very influential in the political business, the Cendana family still overshadows Lippo and Salim, the regional government cliques of Singapore, Johor, Kedah, and Brunei, with also the threat of Trihandoko’s BUMN. She reminded me that in times of competition, the Cendana family should stay strong, united, and fully committed to a common goal.​

    Tanah Abang, Federal District of Jakarta, Indonesia

    Director Tedjo Budianto gazed upon the little land between the rails and highways of Tanah Abang, as the future headquarters of Jasa Marga.

    He reminded the times when he was appointed contractor for the Jakarta-Bogor-Ciawi (Jagorawi) Toll Road that stretched 46 km as the first. Not long after the construction, Nasution inaugurated PT Jasa Marga, also the first toll-road company in Indonesia. As part of Nasution’s Program Infrastruktur, many of the toll roads have been given to PT Jasa Marga for construction. The government program to connect Java and Papua with highways gave Jasa Marga the opportunity the monopoly of the road construction business. After Jagorawi, PT Jasamarga has been given more opportunities for toll construction. Currently, he has memorized all operating toll roads under his watch.

    After the construction of Jagorawi, the Nasution government announced that every toll road Indonesia has, it should accommodate car travel to the main transportation points of each metropolis. That meant airports, ports, residential complexes towards office centres, or ring roads around the busiest section of the city. This, as stated in Nasution’s programs, had become the blueprint of Indonesia’s construction, as many of the 70s engineers envisioned potential connections for the year 2000. As a result, the federal government have tried to maintain the lands for these sorts of developments, to avoid needing needless alteration for lack of planning. Because of PT Jasa Marga's monopoly in Java toll road construction, the company has been in all toll construction until 1977. These toll roads, he memorized, had all been under Jasa Marga’s operation.
    NoNameNicknameLengthDate of Operation
    Jalan Tol Jakarta-Bogor-Ciawi
    46 km​
    April 1971​
    Jalan Tol Dalam Kota I Seksi W1 (Tomang- Tanah Abang-Manggarai)
    Lingkar Dalam Kota
    9.1 km​
    May 1973​
    Jalan Tol Semarang
    Semarang ABC
    24.75 km​
    August 1974​
    Jalan Tol Jakarta-Tangerang
    29 km​
    March 1975​
    Jalan Tol Bandara
    Tol Bandara
    18.9 km​
    June 1975​
    Jalan Tol Jakarta-Kebayoran Lama
    6.2 km​
    July 1975​
    Jalan Tol Surabaya-Gempol
    45 km​
    August 1976​
    Jalan Tol Dalam Kota I Seksi W2 (Manggarai-Jatinegara)
    Lingkar Dalam Kota
    2.8 km​
    December 1976​
    Jalan Tol Jakarta-Cikampek
    73 km​
    October 1977​
    Jalan Tol Belawan-Medan-Tj. Morawa
    34 km​
    October 1977​
    Jalan Tol Padalarang-CIleunyi
    33 km​
    February 1978​
    Jalan Tol Tangerang-Merak
    72,45 km​
    July 1978​
    Jalan Tol Dalam Kota I Seksi E (Matraman-Pulomas)
    Lingkar Dalam Kota
    7.1 km​
    July 1978​
    Jalan Tol Surabaya-Gresik
    20.7 km​
    March 1979​
    Jalan Tol Surabaya-Mojokerto
    36.27 km​
    April 1981​
    Jalan Tol Dalam Kota I Seksi N (Tomang-Kemayoran-Pulomas)
    Lingkar Dalam Kota
    9.5 km​
    May 1982​
    Jalan Tol Dalam Kota II Seksi E (Tanjung Priok-Cawang)
    Lingkar Dalam Kota 2
    13.5 km​
    July 1983​
    Jalan Tol Dalam Kota II Seksi W2 (Tanjung Duren-Cawang)
    Lingkar Dalam Kota 2
    13.4 km​
    September 1983​
    Jalan Tol Palimanan-Kanci
    26 km​
    October 1984​
    Jalan Tol Kebayoran Lama-Ulujami
    2.5 km​
    March 1984​
    Jalan Tol Tanjung Duren-Kapuk
    Lingkar Dalam Kota 2
    9.1 km​
    April 1985​
    Jalan Tol Palembang-Indralaya
    21.69 km​
    September 1985​
    Jalan Tol Kertosono-Mojokerto
    40.5 km​
    October 1986​
    Jalan Tol Cikopo Palimanan
    116 km​
    May 1986​
    Jalan Tol Semarang-Batang
    75 km​
    August 1987​
    Jalan Tol Semarang-Solo
    72.64 km​
    October 1988​

    However, arriving in 1977, the Subandrio Premiership opened toll-road construction to the private sector and other non-federal government companies, which slowly reduces Jasa Marga's monopoly on toll-road construction. Also, of Trihandoko’s feud with the former Jasa Marga chairman, the federal government gave more opportunities to a new construction company, PT Citra Marga Nusaphana Persada (CMNP). This new company, in the greatest irony, was part of Cendana’s conglomerate family. Currently, the dominance of Jasa Marga has been contested by PT Waskita Karya, PT Hutama Karya, PT Temasek Construction, and PT Rekayasa Malaya.

    Although Jasa Marga’s monopoly has diminished, the company remained the most significant toll road company in Indonesia. With a total of almost 900km of road constructed in the last 15 years, PT Jasa Marga has been awarded as the fastest-growing company in Indonesia, and its recognition gained interest outside of Indonesia. Still, PT Jasa Marga found problems, especially with future road constructions in the Federal District of Jakarta.

    Jalan Tol Pelaburan Pluit-Tanjung Priok, or Harbour Toll Road, is the planned construction that linked Tanjung Priok and Pluit to ease the congestion in Tol Dalam Kota. With the increase in traffic volume of trucks and residential vehicles, Lingkar Dalam Kota has occurred regular traffic jams on rush hour megapolitan. Moreover, with more emphasis on rail construction, the LKY premiership had requested railway construction to be prioritized. In early 1983, Jasa Marga had agreed with Subandrio on finishing Lingkar Dalam Kota 2. However, the northern section of that ring road (which is Harbour Toll Road) received intense criticism from District Secretary Hendarto for the destruction it will cost on Kota Tua, the place where Indonesia is trying to receive the UNESCO World Heritage.

    Jasa Marga’s regular method of toll construction was either building the on-ground toll road section or constructing an elevated section for multi-level crossing. As evident from nearly the interchanges made during the early 80s (Tomang Interchange, Tanah Abang Interchange, Kemayoran Interchange as examples) many of them involved two (rarely three) levels of crossing. The Kota Tua section to be crossed by the Harbour Toll Road will be cutting Museum Fatahillah with Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa. Also, with Hendarto’s insistence on rebuilding Kota Tua as a fully colonial architecture, the district secretary remains ardently opposed to bulldozing the zone for toll construction. Other concerns, such as flooding, tunnel collapse, ventilation system, and other concerns have been Jasa Marga’s greatest challenges.

    Hendarto’s solution to this ordeal, quite simply, was to dig a tunnel on the entire stretch of Kota Tua. That had shaken the company a little, since for all its history, the company never planned for tunnel construction. Most of this has been the railway companies, which still received many issues on the Gambir tunnel which is hot, crowded, and cracking all the time. Early attempts at tunnel toll road construction were PT CMNP’s Jalan Tol Luar Kota Jakarta Seksi S2 of TMII-Pondok Indah. They had made underpasses for many of the toll’s construction, but never on full-length tunnel construction, especially to accommodate high volumes of truck vehicles.

    PT Jasa Marga also suffered significant setbacks for Harbour Toll Road for their land in Kota Tua, Ancol and the stretch towards Tanjung Priok has been used as freight railway access for industries in Kapuk and Cengkareng. With Hendarto’s plans to change focus to train connections, the District Secretary has made persuasive comments to LKY and Musa Hitam that highway construction isn’t feasible for highly dense cities that Jakarta must be. Therefore, for the last decade, Jakarta has constructed more railway tracks than toll roads. From the MRT Expansion, Freight Connection, Halim Railway Access, and Bandara Suryadarma Railway Access, Hendarto’s district planning was full of railway construction. Director Tedjo, although irritated with Hendarto’s alteration, still commend him for the amazing transformation of the city of Jakarta. It is for the District Secretary that the metropolis’ inner city had better pedestrian access, public transportation, and especially hygienic service competing with European states.

    Jasa Marga’s disadvantage over other competitors is due to its dominance in the road construction sector, the company has become idle in innovation. Many of the newer construction companies advocated more innovation, such as the longest elevated toll road in Indonesia, both Jalan Tol Bekasi-Kampung Melayu and Jalan Tol Tangerang-Angke. Then the first planned underground toll road that connects Kebayoran Baru with Pondok Indah, also with the fastest construction toll road connecting Pekanbaru and Dumai. As more companies presented themselves to be more sophisticated than Jasa Marga, the company started to lose government projects. Not to mention regional monopolies have begun taking place, as LKY’s acceleration method gave Singapore and Malaya construction companies a monopoly on the region’s toll construction, barring Jasa Marga from entering the fold. It is also worsened with those companies having more efficient, better results and better operating systems than Jasa Marga.

    Director Tedjo, the new face after Mahathir personally appointed him as the new face of Jasa Marga, has plans to reverse the trend. Mahathir’s appointment has been his method to reduce PT Temasek Construction (Singapore’s company) into intruding too much on Malaya, and all of Indonesia’s urban construction. Tedjo is the bravest director to fully immerse in the challenges of Harbour Toll Road.

    Hendarto’s initial tunnel plan was 2.5 km that will bypass Kota Tua, and eventually surface up ad both Pluit and Kampung Bandan on both sides. Still, concerns about the connectivity of Ancol (currently revitalizing the area as an urban beach) and Kemayoran (for the region’s separation by railway) have been many of the challenges of the Harbour Toll Road connectivity. Eventually, PT Jasa Marga did the most insane proposal ever given to Hendarto. Instead of the 2.5 km underground access, PT Jasa Marga planned for a whopping 5 km underground connection, which the Harbor Toll Road remained under from the early determined Pluit, but extended towards Kemayoran, where the railway access from Senen joined with the ones from Kota. If completed, it will become the longest underground toll road in Indonesia. The construction cost spiked a little from Tedjo’s construction, but it gained praise from the federal government for its innovation in highway construction. However, the Nasution’s general plan for Jakarta noted that if Jakarta did not construct a toll road north in the sea, the Harbour Toll Road will subject to double-decker access as planners have predicted increasing traffic between vital access of Suryadarma Airport and Priok Harbour, with more density in neighbourhoods of Pademangan, Pluit, Kapuk and Warakas.

    Tedjo was shocked by the sound of metal clanging from the site floor. The workers there had bumped into another metal pole, giving the metals a low hum. Then, Tedjo finally remembered his reason for arriving here.

    “Dudi, how’s the construction of the new headquarters?” he gestured at the young employee.

    “Current on time, director. As we have the permission to construct our building, we have been advancing on the foundation of the headquarters, as well as reminding the construction that the highway is still active, thus reducing accidents that might impede the flow. In terms of schedule, we will start construction of the upper platform possibly next September.”

    This new headquarters of Jasa Marga, Tedjo envisioned, will be the cornerstone of Jasa Marga’s dominance in the highway industry. As becoming the first and most influential company in Indonesia, Jasa Marga should have the most iconic headquarters. The 1.45 hectares of unused plot between the railways of Tanah Abang and Tanah Abang Highway Interchange, Tedjo noted, will be the best location for Jasa Marga’s new headquarters. It is still inside of the 3100 ha Ring 1 of Jakarta, located strategically on the busiest toll road of Jakarta, along with the connectivity of the commuter line.

    Tedjo’s plan for the headquarters is even crazier, he intended to have the building stand precisely on the Tanah Abang off-ramp of the interchange. That way, he would present Jasa Marga as the innovation of building, with emphasis on the toll road they have constructed also referred. The government, with intense criticism, ultimately allow such an ambitious proposal, but Tedjo need to prove to himself that his vision remains the best for the company, or the Federal government sack him like the previous one.​

    Three stories, the common man, the conglomerate and the company that construct Indonesia. Kinda explains how fast Indonesia accelerate from all those destructions. The first kinda implies more on foreign events, but more on that later. The second story pretty much defines that Cendana Post-Suharto is more successful as a businessman rather than a political dynasty ITTL, more on the family in future updates. For the third story, can't help it from a construction geek like myself.

    ITTL Tol Dalam Kota is almost like OTL 6 ruas Tol Dalam Kota Jakarta, while OTL Jakarta Inner Ring Road is ITTL Tol Dalam Kota 2, with slight exceptions. Completely new toll roads here include Tol Bekasi-Kampung Melayu which passes Banjir Kanal Timur instead of Kali Malang. Also, Tol Cipali is 29 years early, and Tol Surabaya Mojokerto is 36 years early, very eager to see what 2020 ITTL Indonesia will look like. For regions in Malaya and Singapore, due to LKY's liberalization and acceleration program, many of these toll constructions have been constructed by local companies, instead of federal ones like Jasa Marga.
    Independence Day 2023 Edition
  • 17th August 1987
    DPR Building, Jakarta, Indonesia

    The ceremonial of the 42nd anniversary of Indonesian independence has been over for quite some time, but Premier Musa Hitam remained distraught about the occurrences that had happened throughout the past year. The man reclined in his office, contemplating what had passed from all the chaos that ensues, especially after his dear predecessor was assassinated so abruptly. A year and two days ago, Premier Lee Kuan Yew was killed in an explosion received after a suicide bomber attacked Sarinah during a visit with various controversial figures. Immediately after, Musa Hitam was inaugurated as the new Premier, attempting to continue the legacy of LKY without getting slaughtered in the process, both by the same terrorist acts or the Parliament itself. This August had been less ideal for Premier Musa also, being the government that allow Kudatuli to happen, the struggle between Barisan Progresif and Kesejahteraan Rakyat had never been so evident towards the general election of 1988.

    For all of Musa’s respect for the dead, the Indonesian decade of 1980 should have been monumentalized as the Lee Decade. The contributions it had towards the domestic front of Indonesia have been extremely positive, no other party except Mahathir Mohammad’s faction ever gave their criticism without the admiration of the former Premier. After the assassination, it was almost a unifying factor of the Parliament, because PNI-R, PPI, and PUI had little resistance to Musa’s LKY-esque programs. Although Musa admitted his policies have been less radical than LKY had given throughout the decade, his smooth-sailing premiership was only obstructed by the factions of his party, not the opposition.

    For all things considered, Musa had a little concession to appease the PNI-R, PPI, and PUI for any matter because of the deceased Premier. His education proposal garnered a positive response to PUI, PNI-R. The PPI also gave little opposition to the revision of the Labour Law, despite the noise Guntur has made to appease the public. But, if a clear-headed outsider looking at the perspective of post-LKY assassination, the only parties trying to undermine Musa’s premiership was the insistence on Kesejahteraan Rakyat on making Mahathir Mohammad the leader of the party.

    The Premier noticed the song on his playing radio had tuned on the unmistakable violins of Mengheningkan Cipta, eerily suitable for his trail of thoughts.

    Dengan seluruh angkasa raya memuji

    In one year, LKY had pivoted from a contentious figure of Indonesia, into a universally hailed martyr for Indonesia. His untimely death has cemented his icon for Indonesia’s progress into the next millennium, in addition to greatly undermining the cause of LKY’s opposition. The tragic event also shaped Indonesia’s perception of Kesejahteraan Rakyat, while they think of the faction as the evolved reaction of LKY’s liberal policies, now Indonesians perceived them as a little reactionary to the cause. This, because of the brazenness of Kesejahteraan Rakyat, gave the people of Indonesia a more appealing direction towards Guntur Sukarnoputra, and a predicted decline of PPP seats in an Indonesia with a booming economy, growing prosperity, and better standings. Musa Hitam had attempted to bridge the gap between Emil Salim and Mahathir Mohammad. One thinks the other made LKY die, while the other thinks as LKY die a new faction must lead the PPP. However, it seems that all of Musa Hitam's proposals only make opposition parties more favourable to him than his own party’s unity, the purpose Musa is trying to achieve.

    LKY is also applauded in the international stage. The United States has applauded LKY for the increasing liberalization of the Federal Republic, giving an ideological win for the ongoing Cold War. The Soviet Union, despite viewing Indonesia as rather hostile for its seemingly close interaction with the United States, has given a good admiration for LKY. In Andropov’s words, “Although we do not agree with the capitalist system of Indonesia, LKY’s programs have a positive effect on the total prosperity of the Indonesian workers, which was one that the Soviet Union can support.” Relations in Europe have never been greater, with the increasing demand for imports from Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian developed industries gaining increasing relations with the rapidly developing Indonesia which Musa is governing. France’s President Mitterand, despite the Unites States’ hostility, arrived in Indonesia for the funeral of LKY, which he stated as “The solemn day for the world, for its leader that brings a nation out of destitution has left so suddenly.” It seems that with LKY’s death, virtually the entire world became a little less violent.

    Pahlawan negara

    President Subandrio, under the National Heroes Act, has given LKY the status of a national hero in December 1986. He was reminded that even though LKY had been a divided leader, his contributions to the nation were not insignificant. The argument was endorsed by almost all majorities of the parties, except Kesejahteraan Rakyat who thought it was too immature and sudden. However, Musa Hitam has a personal hunch, that with all the tension Subandrio and LKY have had in the last days, the friendship between them was never severed.

    The ascension of LKY as the Premier of Indonesia, contrary to popular belief, succeeded not because of LKY’s outstanding success in Singapore that the Parliament was impressed at, but because of the political manoeuvre Subandrio has made to make a Chinese-descendant appealing to lead the nation. Also, a face of change from the old administration, Subandrio leaned heavily on the emphasis of reform and rebranding. His main purpose was to make PPP the next dominant party in Indonesia, a coalition of centre-to-centre-left factions that believe in increasing social programs, improving livelihoods and a new face against the adage of nationalism equals unity. He believed that while nationalism is the old ideology that binds the nation together, prosperity and wellness are the modern glue that will unite all Indonesians for one purpose: to continue the same prosperity and wellness it has had. Because of this, he believed Premier LKY, the man that still transformed Singapore with little help from the Indonesian government, can imitate his success on the federal scale. President Subandrio’s choice eventually was right. LKY did advance Indonesia in metrics that the former administration wasn’t capable to achieve, even with the spending it has on the federal level.

    Nan gugur remaja di ribaan bendera

    Premier Musa’s thoughts continue towards the weird adventurism of Indonesia’s military in helping the United States on wars in Angola and Mozambique. President Subandrio had thought that the stability of Mozambique is vital towards the stability of Madagascar. Thus, he approved the military intervention with the United States, hoping for a democratic institution with a friendly attitude. However, as the interventions only make both struggles antagonistic to the United States, and Indonesia as a whole, the military attaché was stopped by Subandrio. In turn, with Mozambique now firmly on an anti-US government, President Subandrio was so frightened of the increasing separatism of Madagascar that he changed course and revisit Sukarno’s Non-Aligned Conference. This, with the United States direct involvement in other national affairs, made the administration have a mixed attitude on continuing the policies under the American sphere or adopting a new democratic way of life.

    American foreign policy, especially under Glenn, has fluctuated between strengthening ties on Asia-Pacific and strengthening ties on the European heartland. Washington has announced that although China and India are immediate threats to the spheres in the Asia Pacific, Europe is more vital for American interests. While Asia-Pacific has a sea barrier that can contain communist influence, the situation in Europe was unstable, and sometimes reactive. With Kennedy’s intention on confusing the Soviet Union by making France the third power (Kennedy argued France’s future in the 60s was either communist of De Gaulle, either way, a third power), the back-and-forth foreign relations between France did complicate the American foreign policy, until Washington has announced its intentions to Europe focus, to make France not a neutral, but pro-US nation.

    The French dance on international politics, swaying between neutral-US and US-hostile, but always the Soviet Union hostile, draws an interesting perspective towards LKY and Subandrio. Both figures have seen that threading on both superpowers was beneficial to the survival of France, and somewhat brand a new ideology. PPI’s Guntur Manifesto have striking similarities to French communism, if you ignore the noises the left has argued otherwise.

    Both politicians agreed that France succeeded in keeping the Soviet Union and the US in balance, possibly reducing the tension. But they differ on what should Indonesia adopt in the unique characteristic. Subandrio, affected by the United States' growing involvement in national affairs, was fearful of domestic intrusion. He adopted the balance in relations, pushing towards a more independent Indonesia as Sukarno had previously envisioned. Premier LKY, on the other hand, prefers that Indonesia maintain a friendly ally of the American sphere, but slowly accommodate trade and cultural ties with opposing powers. This movement was initiated by the agreement with the French Republic back during the Nasution Administration’s annexation of Madagascar, LKY merely advancing those to include the Soviet Union. This difference, culminated in their disagreement with the intervention, handling of the Toba Crisis, and eventually the growing split in early 1986.

    Bela Nusa bangsa

    Premier Musa came as LKY’s confidante after the attempts to bridge between the former Hatta Faction and the growing Malaya Faction, which was later split into two (the famous Barisan Progresif and Kesejahteraan Rakyat) after Mahathir Mohammad had enough power. Premier Musa, believed in the economics of LKY, but maintain a healthy degree of decentralization in the regional government, which Hatta had envisioned (unlike LKY which prefers an autocratic commandeering approach to the administration). Hatta’s faction fell into obscurity, as their principles were co-opted by Habibie’s PNI-R, thus giving the slow transition of turning PPP into a sole coalition between Malaya, Madagascar, and the liberal faction. Currently, Musa’s compromise applies between Mahathir and Emil, both trying to win over Musa with their policies enacted, with Musa also trying to stay in power from balancing.

    Still, Musa’s criticism of moderate compromise became his ultimate strain for future electability. The liberal wing accuses Musa’s race upbringing to be so sympathetic to Mahathir Mohammad, while Mahathir scored scathing remarks of Musa following the “elite” footsteps of LKY’s policies. Even though Musa’s favourability in the opposition party increased, his favourability in his party stagnated, sometimes decreasing, as either faction radicalized to the point of breakup.

    In Musa’s mind, he had attempted various ways to alleviate the stress of the party, but the Kudatuli riots gave him the resolve of a radical solution, not just the conventional compromise. He knows that if Mahathir continues to assume power, PPP’s Barisan Progresif will split, and it will happen otherwise should Emil Salim assume power. Other significant figures that aim to unify the party had been little that reached the national level. Anwar Ibrahim, the foreign minister, can be a great candidate if not for his youth. Sabam Sirait, the leader of Hatta’s Reformasi Faction, has little popularity in PPP’s core territories of Malaya. That left Musa the only viable candidate for compromise.

    Kau kukenang wahai bunga putra bangsa

    The desk on which Musa Hitam sat currently, has a little memo from LKY that Musa has hidden. It was a reminder for himself, for his late 2nd term programs that he intended to pass through the Parliament. There are three points that intrigue Musa for its novel suggestion. The first suggestion, was the end of monarchism in Indonesia, agreeing with the PNI-R’s youth wing that monarchism is just hampering the progress of democracy in Indonesia, incentivising cronyism that had plagued Indonesia since the colonial times. LKY’s plans to enact those include dissolving the exclusive rights of kingdoms and forcing them to hold an election, with emphasis on claiming that if the royalty has popularity, the people will vote for them anyway. The second suggestion lies in LKY’s proposal to form a democratic sphere with Japan and Korea, by urging Subandrio for continuing this instead of reviving the Non-Aligned Movement. This proposal was a shock for Musa Hitam, which had known LKY for being strongly pro-US for his premiership. His policies, albeit authoritarian for many of the cabinet, have noticed parallels with the New Deal government. Aligning with Japan and Korea, also, Musa predicted, will be difficult since they too have strained relations from the colonial past. Finally, the most controversial of them all was the legalization of all Indonesian regardless of sex, race, and gender. At first, Musa had no attention to the proposal, until LKY scribbled an erased word “homosexuals” in the memo, which made the Premier gasp in shock at what the connotations were. These types of proposals might only be passed for years, or decades even for any debate to happen. However, Musa Hitam also can't help but thought of the unavoidable when these types of debates became mainstream supposing the progress of Indonesian society continues.

    Harga jasa kau cahya pelita

    Upon hearing the growing orchestra involving the lyrics, Musa can’t help but shed a tear for the deceased Premier. A great man, non-negotiable, yet very inspiring to the youths of PPP, Lee Kuan Yew changed the perception of Indonesians. Modern neo-Javanism (adopted by the PPP youth wing of Barisan Progresif) has declared that even if Chinese descendants can become great leaders, race should not be a factor in elections. In other parties, PNI-R and PPI acclaimed the late Premier as a new face of all experts has agreed to be the golden age of Indonesia. PUI and Kesejahteraan Rakyat, whether they agree or disagree, do support the argument that LKY has been a consequential premier. It shed new light on future politicians, especially minorities, to stand up and become their icons.

    Bagi Indonesia Merdeka.

    Musa’s sob eventually cracks the silence of the office he presides. He was always in awe of Indonesia’s revolutionary songs, overwhelmed with emotion. But, with all those orchestra accompaniments, there is the theme of hope, of freedom, that generally exists in all these songs, reminding all Indonesians that our end goal of us is that: freedom.

    Blok M Mall, Jakarta, Indonesia

    A young aspirant Joko arrived with haste at the exhibition of Blok M Mall. For the independence day celebration, Blok M Mall has opened a grand exhibition for local crafts, and Joko established a furniture stall that shows significant wooden art. His company, CV Roda Jati, has a decent profit in the furniture business, but still can’t afford the expenses of the awaiting son. Acquiring a degree in Universitas Gajah Mada for silviculture, Joko tried working on state forestry but felt rather slow in career growth, thus the new exhibition shop. Throughout the week of the exhibition, a few customers bought Joko’s intricate cupboard. Still, it was quite underwhelming considering his neighbouring shops or crafts have more customers.

    Joko entered his furniture stall with his pregnant wife already waiting for him. “Mas, where have you been?”

    “I forgot a few boxes from our car,” Joko answered as he is holding a box full of little sculptures. As part of Joko’s furniture, these sculptures were a model of how he should carve the furniture. It has been a model of inspiration, for Joko’s behalf, which made a few cool carvings.

    “Okay, Mas. I need to go to the toilet.” Joko’s wife stood up from the only chair in the stall and then left for the restroom which was at the end of the exhibit hall. Joko was scared of any accidents happening, but he knew if he follows his wife, who will guard the stall?

    He nodded to his wife, already busy unpacking the boxes to be presented on the table. For Joko, this furniture business has been a passion and work for his family. Inheriting the carpentry skills from his uncle (who also has his own furniture business), Joko tried to be courageous and expand his furniture market more than in his hometown, Solo. Initially, he thought Semarang would be beneficial, of its proximity while a big city. However, Joko’s ambition knows that if there is the best shot, it would be Jakarta. This exhibit became Joko’s first attempt to appeal to the Jakarta market, which showed good but not enough for his liking.

    When Joko’s hand accidentally hit one of his sculptures that he had unpacked, he just realized that a young boy has paid attention to him. A cute Chinese-Indonesian boy, with a plain T-shirt and an unnoticeable rosary on his neck. He has fixated towards the sculptures he has unpacked.

    “Oh, hello, Dek. Lihat-lihat opo?” "Hello, Dek. What are you looking?"

    The boy did not answer Joko but looked at the fallen sculpture that has hit the floor. “Ini Pak, tadi jatuh.” "Here, Sir. It fell just now."

    Ahh, Terima kasih, Dek."Ahh, thank you, Dek."

    Joko, albeit living in a multicultural neighbourhood back home, has little experience to converse with a Chinese-Indonesian, let alone a boy without his parents. “Endi wong tuwamu?” "Where are your parents?"

    Wonten mrika.” The young boy spoke Javanese, although with difficulty. He pointed towards the end of the clothes stall, with his mom and another young girl looking at the clothes. "There."

    Adek bisa basa Jawa?” Joko asked. "You can speak Javanese?"

    Dikit-dikit, Pak. Ga bisa banyak2.” The young boy returned speaking Indonesian. "A little, Sir. Can't speak too much."

    The young boy’s impressive first impression made Joko energetic to show all his furniture collection, although he knows the boy wouldn’t buy anything without his parents. Joko showed the furniture he sculpted with delicacy. However, as Joko presents his furniture to the young boy, he sees the little man showing less attention to the furniture, than to the sculptures.

    Pak, mau tanya.” The little boy told Joko. "Sir, if I may ask."

    “Iya, kenapa Dek?” Joko answered. "Yes?"

    Bapak bikin patung2 ini, kenapa ga buat action figure aja?” Joko was perplexed by the little boy’s question. He doesn’t understand what an action figure is, thus giving the boy a confused look. The boy understood Joko’s confusion, and proceed to pull out a figure from his pocket. "You've made these sculptures, why not make an action figure?"

    “Gini Pak, action figure. Bapak bisa buat dari kayu.” Joko saw a strange white robotic figure with a sword and a shield on both arms. The robot has a sturdy body with quite an armour. Still, looking at the designs, he immediately concluded it was Japanese-made. "Here, Sir. Action figure. You can make it with wood."

    The young boy gave Joko his action figure, Joko keep looking all around the action figure. The action figure can move each part of the body with joints, giving the freedom of pose that Joko wanted. The material is so plastic, but Joko felt that this can be managed from the wood he has sculpted.

    He kept looking at the action figure when a teenage boy with a resemblance to the young spoke. “Ah, ternyata kau disini. Ayo ikut Koko.” "Ahh, here you are. Come with brother."

    The teenage boy hold Max’s hands and tried to leave Joko’s stall. However, Joko abrupts their departure.
    Dek, ini barangnya.” Joko said as he holds the action figure. "Dek, your stuff"

    Buat Bapak aja, Adek liat Bapak lebih perlu dari Adek.” "For you Sir, you need it more than I do."

    Joko was stunned by the young boy’s words. “Dek, namamu siapa?” "What's your name, Dek?"

    “Max, Pak. Max Hendarto. Ini kakak Andreas” Max said pointing at his brother. "Max, Sir. Max Hendarto. This is my brother Andreas."

    “Kenalan, aku Joko. Joko Widodo.” Joko shook the little boy’s hands as he eventually left with his brother. "I'm Joko. Joko Widodo."

    Dek or Adek or Adik is the common Indonesian term for little brother or young boy.
    Koko came from the Chinese character 哥哥 (gē gē) meaning big brother.
    Translations for Indonesian texts are given in smaller inline spoilers. I'm experimenting with whether dialogue should be in English, or Indonesian with the translations, you could help me decide.

    PS: I have significant revisions regarding the Space Race ITTL, shown in the quote here:

    August 17, 2023

    The idea that Kennedy pushed for the Space Race to Indonesia by launching Apollo 13 was somewhat unrealistic after hours of rereading the TL. I admit that the initial idea was to make the United States somewhat murky towards NASA after a series of unfortunate events, pushing Nixon's fiscal responsibility characteristics to strongly oppose NASA's incompetence (maybe ending the Space Program), but these problems were not stated on the posts here. Instead of rewriting the whole TL regarding it. I instead found a common ground that at least I can see the sense of it happening realistically.

    You can see the edit in the posts already linked, with difference shades of black.
    Again, part of cleaning the TL with better realism.

    Happy Independence Day, Indonesia!
    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)
    navy flag.gif

    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!
    Last edited:
    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
  • r_27C10805.jpg

    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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