Indonesia ATL: The Presidency of Try Sutrisno (1997-)

115: Largest In The Islamic World & Largest In Southeast Asia
23rd February 2001:
At 9 AM Egyptian time, the Presidential Airplane bringing President Try Sutrisno landed in Cairo, Egypt. Prime Minister of Egypt Ateif Ebeid and Minister of Foreign Affairs Amr Moussa welcomed the President on the tarmac. The first stop was the Heliopolis Palace where President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak gave Try a warm embrace prior to the playing of the national anthems.

After lunch, Try was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat while Mubarak was accompanied by Moussa and Chief of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) Omar Suleiman. Mubarak congratulated Try on the latter’s move against Al Qaeda and JI elements in Indonesia and said that “Egypt draws strength from it”. Try granted Mubarak’s request for intelligence sharing and cooperation as it relates to “Extremism”.

Ginandjar asked for information about what the situation in the Middle East is. Moussa and Suleiman gave their explanation. Among the information that Try received was that after the Camp David Summit in July 2000, the United States was increasingly focused on containing Russia’s influence. In the Middle East so far that meant being wary of President of Russia Yevgeny Primakov’s knowledge of the Arab world and what he was going to do with that knowledge.

The Israel-Palestinian conflict got less priority, at least for now and it had largely been Egypt and the other members of the Arab League who were handling the situation. Mubarak said that for the moment he’s glad Prime Minister Ehud Barak had continued to hold on to power. Despite enjoying support within Israel, the hawkish Opposition Leader Ariel Sharon was handicapped by his Russian Jewish origin and Barak took advantage of this and McCain’s suspicion of “Anything Russian” to hold on to the prime ministership while inviting Sharon into the Government.

There was a state dinner at the Heliopolis Palace that night. Mubarak in his toast hailed Try’s “coming of age as a statesman” saying that Try had matured in his comprehension of foreign affairs.

24th February 2001:
Try, First Lady Tuti Setiawati, and their delegation went out early to witness sunrise at the Pyramids of Giza. The bus trip there was a chance for an informal meeting with Minister of Trade Anthony Salim reporting that there was a market for Indonesian coffee in Egypt.

From the pyramids, the President and his delegation attended the opening session of the Developing 8 (D-8 Summit). When it came time for him to make his speech, Try called for economic cooperation so that economies recovered from recent crises can have sustained economic growth and those still recovering to be given assistance and leniency.

Though primarily an economic cooperation organization, the main insight Try got from the trip was that there was support for his actions against Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah. Amidst talk of exchanging trade delegations and an expression of support for Bangladesh to host the Non-Aligned Movement that year (“Now the NAM is more important than ever”), Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina said that she “wished” she could take action like that which Try took; Hasina expressing concern that the Opposition in Bangladesh was making a coalition with Islamists.

President of Iran Mohammad Khatami, from a country led by a theocracy, expressed approval with what he had done though perhaps it was a Shia expressing approval of action being taken against Sunni extremists. Khatami however was grim saying that Iran would be forced to drift to Russia and China if McCain will do what he pledged to do as a candidate with the rogue state rollback. Try said that he hoped it would not come to that.

What concerned Try was Turkey. Prime Minister of Turkey Bulent Ecevit spoke of the Lira losing its value, increase in unemployment and the IMF’s conditionalities. Worst, Ecevit had fallen out with President of Turkey Ahmet Necdet Sezer over the handling of the economy. After he left the meeting, Try wondered whether things would’ve gone like that in Indonesia if he had mishandled the economy upon assuming power. Concerned, Try sent Ginandjar to travel to the other delegations and lobby for Turkey’s concerns to be taken on board in the D-8’s communiqué.

25th February 2001:
With a warm handshake and embrace, President Try greeted Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak. The former was accompanied by Ginandjar and Edi. The latter accompanied Malaysia’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs Rais Yatim. The initial conversation went well. Najib said that Indonesian officials were welcome to conduct further study of Malaysia’s Highway Network and Try said that Malaysian students were welcome to come to study medicine in Indonesia.

It was when they got to strategic matters that the two clashed. Najib said that whatever issues Indonesia has, it can be worked through ASEAN. Try said there’s nothing wrong with ASEAN it’s just in the current environment it needs to work as one unit instead of being beholden to one of the world’s great powers. Najib, feeling that Try was accusing him of taking Malaysia into China’s orbit, countered that China is not a threat to Malaysia or Indonesia or Southeast Asia. Try warned that China already has most of Northeast Asia in its influence and Southeast Asia is the logical place to expand its power, influence etc. The meeting ended with Try and Najib realizing that they will differ on the big issues.

In between meetings, Try bumped into President of Nigeria Olesegun Obasanjo in a hallway. Obasanjo had met with a smaller delegation comprising of Edi Sudrajat and Anthony Salim. Anthony Salim said he would prepare a collection of businesspeople Obasanjo can talk to when he comes to Jakarta for the G-15 Summit. Try also talked with Chief Executive of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf. Much as the previous meeting at the OIC, Try enjoyed Musharraf’s company but resisted making commitments to anything especially military cooperation knowing that the Pakistani Army was compromised by Islamists.

The D-8 Summit came to an end today and a communiqué was released. Indonesia’s input in the communiqué was a call for “international organizations in the field of finance to give leniency to nations in the process of economic recovery so that fulfillment of the organization’s conditionalities does not come at the expense of the nation’s unique internal situation and dynamics”.

After farewelling Mubarak, Try boarded on the Presidential Airplane for an overnight flight.

26th February 2001:
Morning saw the plane touched down on the tarmac at Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Welcoming the President on the tarmac were Deputy Prime Minister Barnharn Silpa-Archa and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surakiart Sathirathai. There were smiles with Try thanking Barnharn for his negotiations with Vice President JB Sumarlin.

From the airport Try and First Lady Tuti Setiawati got into their car. Bangkok was bedecked with banners with the Thai and Indonesian flags on it. The motorcade made it a quick drive and before he knew it, they had arrived at Government House, the offices of the Prime Minister of Thailand. Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra gave the President an official welcome where the national anthems were played.

In their initial talks, Try talked about his conversation with Najib. Thaksin said that the best way to interpret this was that “Malaysia belonged to China”. Try asked whether the United States will be all right with what they’re about to go ahead with. Thaksin said the United States is in no place to complain. It had other priorities so Thailand had to look after its own interests and currently those interests correspond to Indonesia.

Much to the disappointment of reporters, there was no joint press conference. Try went to the studios of Channel 7 to record an interview to be broadcast in Thai television during primetime.

“Indonesia has not come to dominate Thailand or Southeast Asia”, said Try “I’m here to ask for help. I wouldn’t need to ask for help if I came to dominate. In this current international environment, Southeast Asia needs to stick together.”

That night, together with Ginandjar, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti and Minister of Industry Siswono Yudohusodo, and Edi Sudrajat, Try attended and addressed a Thai Chamber of Commerce event.

27th February 2001:
The road to the Government House where the Prime Minister of Thailand has his offices had schoolchildren on either side waving Indonesian and Thai flags. Try waved out to them. At the entrance to the Government House, Try stood with with his ministers. There were Ginandjar and Edi as well as Dorodjatun and Siswono but there were more as well. Anthony Salim was there and with him were Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Tanto Kuswanto, Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja, Minister of Tourism Soeyono, Minister of Education Fakry Gaffar, Minister of Social Affairs Meutia Hatta, State Minister of the Development of Eastern Indonesia and Special Development Zones Jusuf Kalla, and Junior Minister of Arts and Culture Subrata. Dressed in his uniform bedecked with medals was Commander of ABRI Wiranto. Head of BKPM Mari Pangestu, Indonesian Ambassador to ASEAN I Gede Awet Sara & Indonesian Ambassador to Thailand Subagyo HS rounded up this large delegation, most of which did not come with Try to Egypt but had joined him for his trip to Thailand.

Welcoming Try and his ministers were Thailand’s political elite. Thaksin brought his entire cabinet to the event. Clapping and nodding when Try made eye contact with him was Opposition Leader Chuan Leekpai. In their own uniforms were the Thai military elite, part of an Armed Forces that had a history of intervening in politics. The King was represented by President of the Privy Council Prem Tinsulanonda. It was later said that “the people of Thailand was left under no illusion that there was a consensus in the political elite on this issue.”

After both nations’ national anthems were played, Try and Thaksin sat at a table and what looked like sheets of paper in a luxurious looking folder with the Indonesian and Thai flag on it were placed in front of them. This was the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation which contained amongst others the following provisions:

*Indonesia and Thailand will consult and cooperate with each other on strategic issues effecting Southeast Asia to the mutual benefit of both nations.
*Both nations will conduct its individual foreign policies within the framework of the first point especially on issues effecting the other.
*Both nations will cooperate with each other on security issues including but not limited to military ties, maritime issues, anti-terrorism and anti-radicalism, and anti-narcotics.
*Both nations will cooperate with each other on economic and social issues including but not limited to agriculture, industry, rural development, arts and cultural exchange.
*This treaty will become effective upon its signature.

Try and Thaksin stood up after signing both copies of the treaty and shook hands to applause from all present in the room. Cameras snapped and cameras recorded. Experts would say that the real agreement was not the one explicitly mentioned in the treaty: Thailand would acknowledge Indonesia’s leadership in the region while Indonesia would acknowledge Thailand as its right hand in the region.

In their joint press conference, Thaksin hailed the treaty as a “coming together” of Southeast Asia’s two largest nations. Try was more circumspect saying that closer cooperation was required so that the region could maintain an independent course.

That night, Try held a banquet for the Thai Government at his hotel where he and Thaksin toasted each other.

28th February 2001:
Try’s final official engagement in Thailand was an audience with King Bhumipol Adulyadej where in a small ceremony, the latter decorated him with The Most Auspicious Order of Rajamitrabhorn. This was followed by a short meeting with Thaksin. Thaksin told Try that “their friend” is waiting at the hotel and farewelled him. Try left Thaksin after inviting him to come to Jakarta.

When Try returned, waiting in his suite with Ginandjar and I Gede Awet Sara keeping him company was none other than Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nong Duc Manh. Try remembered Nong from when the latter visited Indonesia last year. Nong said that that he is the guest of Speaker of the Thai House of Representatives but that this was the “unofficial part” of the visit. He complimented Try and said that Try has his “admirers” in the Vietnamese Communist Party’s Politburo. Try countered by saying that unfortunately the VCP’s Party Line at the moment was to drift closer to Beijing.

“We hope not, Mr. President. This drift to Beijing is an aberration in policy and it’s not popular with the party or the people. At the same time we can’t really side with the United States, either. President McCain is not a fan of ours after languishing in our prisons. There’s the Russians, but we’re worried that they’ve signed an alliance treaty with China”, explained Nong “The Party line can change, Mr. President. I have enough support to put my name up as General Secretary at the next Party Congress and if elected, I will ensure that there wil be improved relations between our 2 nati…”

“It’s not my place to intervene in another country’s internal affairs”, interrupted Try “Just that on a person to person level, I hope things will work out for the best for you and our nations.”

Try and Nong chatted for a few more minutes before Nong farewelled Try. Try watched as Nong disappeared.

“What do you think?” asked Try to Ginandjar.

“We need Vietnam, Mr. President”, said Ginandjar “Nothing says that we’re on nobody’s bloc better than having a nation that doesn’t get along with the US, China, and Russia on our side.”

“The VCP National Congress is due in 2-3 months subject to political lobbying”, said I Gede Awet Sara “Until Nong can emerge victorious, though, things are out of our hands.”

“Well it’s not like we don’t have anything to do for the next few months back home”, said Try.

The Presidential Airplane arrived in Jakarta that night. Vice President JB Sumarlin welcoming the President home at the tarmac and congratulating him on a successful trip.

There’s 2 aspects of Indonesia’s status on the world stage that Try is experiencing here: as the world’s largest Islamic country and the largest Southeast Asian nation. OTL Egypt under Mubarak was repressive towards the Muslim Brotherhood. OTL Bangladesh was also anti-Islamist and there was an assassination plot directed at Hasinah in 2000.

Of course as it relates to ITTL Indonesia and the Islamic world the question is, what effects would there be to Islamic radicalism and to the Islamic world as a whole in a world where the largest Muslim nation in the world comes down hard on radicalism.

OTL Thailand under Thaksin aspired to be a regional leader at a time when Indonesia was still struggling with the effects of the Asian Financial Crisis and Malaysia. ITTL, Indonesia originally wanted Malaysia to be its second-in-command in the region but Badawi lost in the power struggle with Najib Razak (OTL Najib Razak is also pro-China) rather than Thailand.

OTL Vietnam was drifting closer to China during this time period under a leadership seen to be incompetent and not liking it because it had a tradition of being hostile to China (it was at one point in history part of the Chinese Empire).

Of course, ITTL Indonesia can afford a more active foreign policy because by this stage, it had gotten out of the economic crisis and had fully recovered.
116: Turning The Tables On Tutut
1st March 2001:
In a small ceremony attended by Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, the PDI flag is lowered for the final time at its National Headquarters. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Chairman of PDI Soerjadi went to the residence of Chairwoman of PKPB Tutut Soeharto to announce that the PDI has dissolved itself and has merged with the PKPB. In a statement of her own, Tutut said that she welcomes the PDI members, encourages them to make themselves at home at the PKPB and calls on them to mobilize for the 2002 Legislative Elections.

After a light day, President Try Sutrisno accompanied by Minister of Tourism Soeyono and Junior Minister of Arts and Culture Subrata attended the Indonesian Film Festival. The highlight was not the President’s opening of the event or Rudi Sudjarwo’s Bintang Jatuh’s winning of the Best Movie Award. Rather, it was the fact that the President sat on the edge of the stage as directors, film stars, and other film industry stakeholders and complained about the film industry to him. The President took note.

2nd March 2001:
At the DPR, PKPB Leader in the DPR Hartono issued a statement calling for the Zakat and Wakaf Bills to be discussed immediately in the DPR and for the Government to issue support for the bills. Hartono said that it is the PKPB’s desire that the two bills be passed by consensus.

The President met with Junior Minister of Housing Bobby Suhardiman. He instructed the minister to work together with Perumnas and property developers to push the construction of housing, in this instance apartment blocks in cities and social housing in suburbs. The President also asked Bobby to simplify permits for the construction of shop houses since small businesses are now “graduating” from their homes to shop houses.

3rd March 2001:
A commercial by PT Freeport Indonesia aired on Saturday Night Prime Time on all the television networks. Freeport promoted the amount of tax it has paid throughout the years, how many people it has employed, as well as life inside the city of Tembagapura for its employees. It ended with the tagline: Freeport- Here For Indonesia

5th March 2001:
Involved as he was with Eid al-Adha festivities, the President was asked about the Zakat and Wakaf Bills including the PKPB’s request for consensus. Much to the smiles of Tutut and her supporters who were watching at home, the President avoided giving a clear answer and had to have State Secretary Edi Sudrajat clear the way for him.

6th March 2001:
The President today attended the 40th Anniversary of the foundation of Kostrad. He wore a green beret, being at the commander of an Engineers’ Battalion in Kostrad 3 decades earlier. Flanked by Commander of ABRI Wiranto and Army Chief of Staff Luhut Panjaitan, he took the salute of Commander of Kostrad Djaja Suparman who marched in a small parade in front of him. The President delivered a speech calling on Kostrad to be the spearhead of the Army and ABRI as it improves its capabilities.

At Kostrad’s snackroom, the President took the opportunity to meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Tanto Kuswanto, State Minister of National Security Soerjadi, Edi Sudrajat, Wiranto, Luhut Panjaitan, and Navy Chief of Staff Indroko Sastrowiryono. The topic of discussion was the President’s talks with Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak. It was agreed that land and maritime borders with Malaysia alike will have patrols tightened. The President also instructed Ginandjar to go “As hard as possible” in the case of Sipadan and Ligitan Islands’ disputes.

Approached by the press as he left the Kostrad Anniversary function, Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi said that the Indonesian Government’s only wish is for PT Freeport to fulfill its obligations. “Commercials are good” but Freeport’s contractual obligations is what is important.

7th March 2001:
Chairman of KPU HBL Mantiri attended a work meeting with the DPR today. He said that organizationally the KPU has consolidated itself. Real preparations will begin in the new financial year starting with making sure the voters are registered and the procurement of such things as ballot papers and boxes.

The President made a short visit to Yogyakarta today. Accompanied by Minister of Tourism Soeyono, Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja and Governor of Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X at Natour Hotel Yogyakarta, the President inaugurated the following projects:

*The Jogja Expo Centre
*Completion of Natour Hotel Yogyakarta Refurbishment and 4 Star Status
*Completion of renovation work of Mirota Batik Souvenir Shop
*Adisutjipto Airport being upgraded to international status

“Tourism is as much about the supporting facilities as it is about the tourist destinations themselves and I look forward to many more tourism supporting facilities in Yogyakarta to attract more tourism to this great city and province”, said the President. After touring the hotel’s facilities and visiting the Jogja Expo Centre, the President departed back for Jakarta.

8th March 2001:
The DPR had a busy day today as Chairman of DPR Harmoko banged the gavel on the passing of some laws:

*Plant Varieties Law: This law outlines the registering, licensing, and royalty procedures for plant breeders wishing to register new plant varieties. In essence, this law gives legal protection for those wishing to create new plant breeds that could be used for the nation’s agriculture.

*Industrial Design Law: This law outlines the registering, licensing, as well as legal rights relating to industrial design. This law gives legal protection for industrial designers.

*Trade Secrets Law: This law acknowledges the existence of trade secrets and provides legal protection for trade secrets.

In a press conference, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman said that these laws were the work of an interdepartmental team spanning the Departments of Legal Affairs, Industry, Agriculture, and Trade with the State Ministry of Research and Technology driving the coordination and synchronization work. State Minister of Research and Technology Indra Bambang Utoyo said that he wants Indonesia to be a nation where it’s safe for people to have ideas and create the environment for an even more competitive economy.

The only rain on this parade was the PKPB members calling for the Zakat and Wakaf Laws to be discussed.

9th March 2001:
The President and Vice President JB Sumarlin paid their final respects to Sumitro Djojohadikusumo at the latter’s residence. The former Minister of Trade and father of Chairman of the PKPB Campaign Team Prabowo Subianto passed away today.

Chairwoman of PNI Megawati Soekarnoputri visited the offices of for an interview. Megawati said that her goal was to be a legitimate third force in Indonesian politics since everything seems to be centered around the President and Tutut at the moment. When asked if she was going to make a run for the presidency, Megawati would not commit and said that the PNI has got to win enough votes at the 2002 Legislative Elections first.

The PDI officially “died” today when the Leader of the PDI Budi Hardjono declared the official dissolution of the PDI’s DPR fraction which will heretofore be part of the PKPB. Vice Chairwoman of the DPR Fatimah Achmad also resigned from her position. In the voting that followed, PKPI’s RS Museno overcame PKPB’s Mahadi Sinambela 340 votes to 160 to become Vice Chairman of the DPR.

10th March 2001:
The President and Edi Sudrajat breakfasted with Chairman of DPA Rudini and discussed various issues, most notably the Zakat and Wakaf Bills. Rudini said that the problem with the two bills here was mainly political. Namely, that the President is being tested on how “Islamic or anti-Islamic he was”. The President smiled sheepishly in agreement.

“You need to give them a taste of their own medicine, Mr. President and put them in an awkward situation”, said Rudini “Otherwise they’ll continue to pull these tricks on you.”

After Rudini departed, the President was deep in discussion with Edi.

“What do you suppose he mean when he said you need to give them a taste of their own medicine?” asked Edi “He wants you to play the religion card, too?”

11th March 2001:
At Kemusuk Village, the hometown and birthplace of Soeharto, Tutut Soeharto accompanied by family and friends laid the foundation stone for a Soeharto Museum. Her uncle and Soeharto’s brother Probosutedjo said that it would be poetic for Tutut to lay the foundation for this museum as a private citizen and inaugurate it as the Fourth President of the Republic of Indonesia. All present clapped and yelled “Amen!” to this.

12th March 2001:
In the morning, the President met with JB Sumarlin, Harsudiono Hartas, Minister of Legal Affairs Marzuki Darusman, Minister of Religion Quraish Shihab, Edi Sudrajat, and Attorney General Soedjono C. Atmonegoro. The 5 ministers did not come up to issue an announcement but waited as more guests arrived.

First to arrive were Harmoko accompanied by the 4 Vice Chairmen of the DPR: Hari Sabarno (ABRI), RS Museno (PKPI), Theo Sambuaga (PKPB), and Ismail Hasan Metareum (PPP). Then DPR delegations representing PKPI, PKPB, PPP, and ABRI arrived at the Presidential Palace. Something of a mini-conference was happening.

Leader of the PKPB in the DPR Hartono, representing his party, was the first one allowed to give a statement on the 2 bills. Hartono said that the bills will give legal recognition to “something that is already common practice amongst the majority of Indonesia’s people” and called upon the bills be passed by consensus.

Next was Leader of the PKPI in the DPR Basofi Sudirman. He said that the PKPI did not have any problems with the 2 bills in principle. The PKPI only adds that the emphasis should be on the technical aspects of Zakat and Wakaf not on “appealing to religious sentiment”. Leader of the PPP in the DPR Zarkasih Nur expressed the PPP’s support for the bills whilst echoing the PKPI’s concerns. Leader of ABRI in the DPR Fachrul Rozi said that ABRI wil defer to the Government on what stance to take.

The President then spoke. He said that he feels the Zakat and Wakaf Bills submitted by the PKPB are in order and that any amendments, based on the advice of the Minister of Religion and as the PKPI mentioned, will be of the technical aspects of how Zakat and Wakaf were to be implemented. The President also agreed that the bills should be agreed upon by consensus. Accordingly, said the President as he turned to Harmoko, he will be requesting the Chairman of DPR to put priority on the bills.

There were cheers and handshakes among the PKPB delegation. Hartono had a quiet smile as he continued looking at the President, enjoying the fact that the President had just made a concession to the PKPB. The PKPI delegation looked less than happy as did Harmoko. The ministers who attended the meeting earlier, however, were looking at the President as though things were not over yet.

“However…” began the President causing the PKPB delegation to stop celebrating.

“However what, Mr. President?” asked Hartono.

“I’d like your support for something I am working on”, replied the President “All of your support will be valuable but the PKPB’s above all.”

“What are you working on, Mr. President?” asked Hartono.

The President shuffled in his seat.

“I am intending to lift the ban on public celebrations of Chinese holidays and cultural events, make Chinese New Year to be a national holiday, Confucianism to be an acknowledged religion, lift the ban on the usage of Mandarin both spoken and written, abolish the requirement that citizens of Chinese ethnicity be made to have Indonesian names, abolish the requirement to have an SBKRI”, said the President “In short, anything discriminatory towards the Chinese-Indoesians, I would like to abolish.”

The shock of what the President wanted support for caused a few audible gasps to be heard. But the shock quickly turned to curiosity as to how Hartono, representing Tutut, would respond.

“Why ask us, why ask for our support?” asked Hartono unable to hide his surprise “The passing of laws need your signature that’s why we need your support for these two bills. On the other hand, what you would like the PKPB’s support for, Mr. President, require only your immediate signature. You can enact al that this very second if you want to.

“Nevertheless, I want your support”, said the President with a poker face “For the sake of consensus.”

“I believe this is a perfectly legitimate request”, interjected Harmoko who had not being told about what the President was up to but playing along “It will show the Government to be generous to both the majorities and minorities.”

There were murmurs of agreement from the PKPI and ABRI delegations, the PPP delegation looked like they were thinking things carefully while the PKPB delegation looked like they were not ready for this.

“I…I…”, said Hartono not sure what he wanted to do before deciding on a course of action “I would have to consult with the Chairwoman.”

“Fair enough”, said the President “You may give her a message from me while you’re at it.”

“Yes, Mr. President?” asked Hartono.

“You can tell her that if she doesn’t want to support the steps I’m proposing, I’m not going to help with the Zakat and Wakaf bills”, said the President “Even if for some reason the bill manages to pass the DPR, I’m not going to sign it into law. Do you understand me?”

Hartono mumbled a yes. The Zakat and Wakaf Bills were designed to put the President into an awkward spot: agree to the two bills or risk looking like he’s anti-Islam. It would seem though that the President had reversed the situation and that he has now made it awkward for the Chairwoman. And awkward for her in 3 ways.

If the Chairwoman refuses the President’s proposal, it would make it seem like she was against minority rights and could risk that minority diverting its support, not to mention its funds, to the President’s cause.

If the Chairwoman refuses the President and the bills do not become law, it would make her look awkward in front of those who had came to her cause on account of religion. Nurmahmudi Ismail’s group not to mention Yusril Ihza Mahendra’s would not be happy.

If the Chairwoman agrees to the President’s offer, the bills would get passed into law but she would be partaking in overruling of a policy her father had enacted.

As with most of the projects inaugurated ITTL, the projects in Yogyakarta occurred earlier than their OTL counterparts because of better economic conditions and the crisis being nowhere near as bad as OTL. Adisutjipto Airport did not get international status until 2004. Natour Yogyakarta (OTL Grand Inna) took longer to reach 4 star status. Jogja Expo Center arrives a year early. Mirota Batik required a fire before the owner renovated it OTL.

Perhaps this is a good time to explain about Hartono and Try’s relationship with him. OTL, Hartono entered Soeharto’s radar when he became Commander of the East Java Regional Military Command. Hartono’s tenure coincided with the formation of ICMI in 1990 and event to hold the formation of ICMI was to be held in East Java. Try, who was then Commander of ABRI, ordered Hartono not to support the event. Hartono, knowing that Soeharto was supporting the formation of ICMI, ignored it saying that he “feared Soeharto” a lot more than Try. On the eve of assuming the vice presidency in 1993, Try and the then Army Chief of Staff Edi Sudrajat transferred Hartono to become the Commander of the ABRI Staff and Command College which was a dead end position. Soeharto however intervened. He resurrected Hartono’s career culminating in Hartono’s appointment as Army Chief of Staff despite Try and Edi’s objections. So Try definitely is not a big fan of Hartono both in OTL and ITTL.

As Army Chief of Staff Hartono proved to be a loyalist. He allowed Prabowo Subianto expand the size of Kopassus, implied that ABRI was subordinate to Golkar (he once wore a yellow jacket over his uniform), and had a special relationship with Tutut which may or may not have become “more”. In 1997, he succeeded Harmoko as Minister of Information when the latter was preparing to become Chairman of DPR and became a member of ICMI, making him a dark horse candidate for the vice presidency in 1998. As it was he became Soeharto’s final Minister of Home Affairs.

After Soeharto’s fall from power, he helped form and became Chairman of OTL PKPB. Famously claiming during the 2004 Elections that he was proud to be “Soeharto’s henchman”.

ITTL, he got a DPR seat as a peace offering by Try to Tutut in the aftermath of the 1998 MPR Session having no idea how things would unfold in the coming years. How he behaves ITTL is based on how he behaved in OTL and as you can see, he is always in the thick of things whenever Tutut is maneuvering her supporters in the DPR. He is presently he Leader of the PKPB in the DPR.
117: Construction Sites, Cabinet Meetings, and Command Shuffles
13th March 2001:
Appearing together at the NU’s Headquarters, Chairman of NU Abdurrahman Wahid and Chairman of Muhammadiyah Amien Rais declared that they supported both the Zakat and Wakaf Bills as well as the President’s proposal on overruling policies considered discriminatory for Chinese Indonesians and asks that Chairwoman of PKPB Tutut Soeharto support it. Wahid in particular said that President Try Sutrisno is a president for “all Indonesians.”

Minister of Education Fakry Gaffar came out of a meeting to announce that the President had approved of expanding the construction of state kindergartens across the nation. When asked if this will intervene with the goal of reaching Universal 9 Year Education by 2004, Fakry smiled and said that the President said that what goes on before primary school is important as well because it shapes the foundation of Indonesia’s future and human resources. Fakry also said that the President has also called for speed given there was less than 2 years left in the term.

14th March 2001:
The President, accompanied by Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad and Director General of Taxation Darmin Nasution, inspected the Menteng Tax Office. After submitting his tax returns, the President praised the tax officials behind the counter and instructed Mar’ie to implement his reforms to tax office structure carefully.

Asked for comments about developments regarding the Zakat and Wakaf bills as well as the President’s proposal for abolishing discriminatory policies, Chairwoman of PNI Megawati Soekarnoputri expressed her support. Visiting the Bengkulu Province where her mother had come from with PNI cadres accompanying her, Megawati added that the nation could do better than having to decide who their leader should be out of the squabbling President and the Chairwoman of PKPB.

15th March 2001:
Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja and Anthony Salim came out of a meeting with the President. They said that the Government is keeping a close eye on the Food and Mouth Disease out of UK. They announced that that for the moment any meat imports from Europe and Argentina are banned from entering Indonesia and that they will be letting in more imports of beef and stud bulls from Australia. The latter will be used to breed with Indonesian cows and increase bovine population in Indonesia.

A reporter asked Anthony about the President’s proposal that the Mandarin language should be able to be widely taught. Anthony said he agreed to the President’s proposal if not to get rid of racial discrimination then at the very least for the practicality of Indonesians being able to speak Mandarin and trade with China and Taiwan.

16th March 2001:
The President welcomed the visit of Prime Minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong who came for a 1-day visit. While Goh’s delegation met with respective counterparts around Jakarta, The President, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, met with Goh, accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Lee Hsien Loong, had a 1-on-1 meeting. Goh said that China is trying to sell the idea that Malaysia is at risk of being “surrounded” by Indonesia and Thailand. Try asked what did Singapore think. Goh said that Singapore agreed with the notion of an independent foreign policy for Southeast Asia and pointed to Singapore’s close economic relations with China but also wanting the United States to maintain a presence in Southeast Asia. Goh concedes Indonesia’s point that China has gotten stronger while the United States has other focus but says that it would keep its options open until it has sufficiently established water self-sufficiency (it has 2 water plants due to open next year and another whose construction has been moved forward) from Malaysia. Goh felt that Try’s crackdown on radicals was the correct step and the two agreed that intelligence sharing and cooperation between BAKIN and Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs will be stepped up.

After a press conference, Try and Goh visited Plaza Indonesia together. There they visited the first Breadtalk outlet in Indonesia. Though it was not even a year since it opened in Singapore, Breadtalk had immediately set its sights on expanding towards Indonesia and had been gladly facilitated by Head of BKPM Mari Pangestu.

That very same day, it was the one week anniversary of Soemitro Djojohadikusumo’s death. Tutut attended though she awkwardly had to avoid questioning from the press on her way in and out of the event about whether she supported the President’s proposal.

17th March 2001:
In a special primetime event on RCTI, Tutut had a sit-down interview live from Cendana Street in which she announced that she will support the President’s proposal: the Zakat and Wakaf Bills to be submitted and to go through the processes in the DPR and support for the PKPB for the abolition of all discriminatory regulations towards Chinese-Indonesians.

“I find this notion that I’m somehow against minorities that others are beginning to promote to be nonsense. I’m not against minorities. The PKPB’s Vice Chairman of DPR, Mr. Theo Sambuaga, is a Christian”, said Tutut “At the same time it is also true that there are pious members of the majority faith who had come over and become supporters of mine.”

With a primetime audience, Tutut went on to outline her concerns about the lack of rice self-sufficiency, the abolition of the Left Behind Villages Presidential Instructions and the lack of focus towards rural development by the current Government.

18th March 2001:
The President, accompanied by Minister of Public Works Rachmat Witoelar, State Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Bacelius Ruru, Edi Sudrajat, Governor of Jakarta Sutiyoso, and Governor of West Java Muzani Syukur, inaugurated the following:
*Jakarta Outer Ring Road (JORR) Section W1, Completion of Section W2,
*Tangerang Serpong Toll Road
*Ulujami Pondok Aren Toll Road

“In times of crisis, these projects created employment. In good economic times, they will facilitate economic activity”, said the President in his speech.

As he toured the JORR sections, the President was asked about Tutut’s interview the previous night. He only said that it was good to have the Chairwoman of PKPB on board.

19th March 2001:
The President spent the morning touring two construction sites that had become a feature of Jakarta’s city life today. The first construction site was just behind the Hotel Indonesia. With Edi Sudrajat, Bacelius Ruru, and Sutiyoso, the President donned a construction workers’ hat and walked around the project that was begun late the previous year. Bacelius explained that this project at its conclusion will result in a mixed use development project featuring a renovated an expanded Hotel Indonesia, an office building, a large shopping center comprising of 7 storeys and two wings.

The President disappeared underground into a project that was begun before he took office. It slowed down during the President’s first months in office as it waited to see if its state and private investors have the capability to continue. Under the guidance of Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja, State Minister of Urban Development Giri Suseno, and Sutiyoso, development of the project have continued offering Jakartans the view of an elevated track on pillars above roads that disappear underground at the Bendungan Hilir Area. The two men joined the President as he toured what was already looking like a train station that would not look out of place in Singapore.

“Just spending some time doing a walkabout in Jakarta”, said Try to the media as he emerged above ground “I’ve spend so much time inspecting the regions, I’ve neglected to check out a large mixed use development project and a public transportation project.”

20th March 2001:
The President chaired a Cabinet Meeting attended by Vice President JB Sumarlin, the Cabinet and the Heads of Agencies. The following were discussed:

-In his opening remarks, the President welcomed all the new ministers from the reshuffle 2 months prior. He reminded all ministers to make breakthroughs in this respective fields, reminding them that there were 2 years left in the term before going on to the cabinet meeting’s agenda.

-The President instructed all the abolition of the Chinese-Indonesians related regulations to be proposed and coordinated through the Cabinet Secretariat so that it can be determined which regulations are going to be abolished. He asks that Minister of Religion Quraish Shihab and Minister of Legal Affairs Marzuki Darusman to prepare the Government’s input for the Zakat and Wakaf Laws.

-Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi reported that he’s still struggling to get Freeport to divest its shares. Minister of Industry Siswono Yudohusodo asked if it was possible to change regulations regulating how much shares a foreign mining company could own. Head of BKPM Mari Pangestu said that it would make it look like the Government changes its investment regulations when it does not get its way with foreign investment. The idea that was approved by the President was offered by Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas who suggested that Freeport can divest its shares to the Irian Jaya Provincial Government instead of the Central Government.

-Minister of Trade Anthony Salim and Minister of Tourism Soeyono reported continuing declining exports and tourist arrival numbers from the United States while Mari Pangestu reported that there will be a decline of foreign investment this year as well. Sumarlin and Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti advised that it’s best to act as though the United States was in recession. The President agreed with this and instructed his ministers to find ways in their respective fields to off-set the impact of the weakening US economy including by fulfilling the Presidential Instruction he issued a few weeks back. With regards to investment, he instructed Mari to facilitate ongoing foreign investments in the process of being approved and encourage domestic investment.

21st March 2001:
Commander of ABRI Wiranto emerged out of a meeting with the President to announce a command shuffle, the highlights of which were the following:

-The only prominent members of the Class of 1971 left were Commander of ABRI Academy Kiki Syahnakri (since August 2000), Inspector General of ABRI Endriartono Sutarto (since May 2000), and Deputy Army Chief of Staff Djamari Chaniago (since December 1999)

-Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ally Maj. Gen. Cornel Simbolon appointed ABRI Assistant of Operations and brother-in-law Erwin Sudjono promoted to major general and appointed Commander of Kostrad’s 1st Infantry Division. Yudhoyono classmate Maj. Gen. Endang Suwarya becomes Commander of the West Java Regional Military Command.

-Wiranto former subordinate Prijanto promoted to major general and appointed as Commander of the Jakarta Regional Military Command. Wiranto ally Djaja Suparman becomes the new Commander of the Army Education and Training Command after nearly 2 years as Commander of Kostrad.

-The highlight of this command shuffle came in the person of Tubagus “TB” Hasanuddin. He was transferred from his position as Commander of the Regional Military Command to his new posting as Commander of Kostrad. In the process he was promoted to lieutenant general. TB Hasanuddin served as Try Sutrisno’s aide-de-camp between 1996 and 1998, covering the final 18 months of his vice presidency and first 3 months of presidency.

Wiranto arrived at ABRI Headquarters where a working lunch with Army Chief of Staff Luhut Panjaitan awaited.

“Yudhoyono will not like this command shuffle”, commented Luhut referring to ABRI General Chief of Staff Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Bambang’s classmates and brother-in-law are doing well”, said Wiranto before Yudhoyono even began to speak “The only reason he’ll complain is because his prospects to be your successor just took a hit.”

“How did the bargaining go in there with Tubagus going to Kostrad?”asked Luhut.

“I told the President there will be resistance from the officer corps if his son-in-law were to be promoted to Commander of Kostrad and be in contention for the Army Chief of Staff’s position in the future but that there are precedents for former presidential aide-de-camps being advanced to prominent positions, namely his and my career paths”, said Wiranto.

There was silence as Luhut chewed on his lunch.

“You’re not surprised he tried to nominate Ryamizard for Commander of Kostrad?” asked Wiranto referring to ABRI Assistant of General Planning Ryamizard Ryacudu who also happened to be the President’s son-in-law.

“I had an inkling that he would” said Luhut “But he’s aware of the consensus you and I had built among the officer corps that there would be no more Prabowos. The only reason the President would offer Ryamizard is so that he could open up the way for Tubagus.”

“That’s precisely what he did”, replied Wiranto “He made ABRI choose between his son-in-law or his former aide-de-camp and we had to choose the latter because we can’t accept the former.”

“It had to be between the son-in-law or the former aide-de-camp, Commander”, said Luhut “The classes of 1971 and 1973 are already taking up too much of the lieutenant general’s slots that it would piss the officer corps off if somebody from one of those two classes to took the Kostrad slot.”

“It can’t very well be from the class of 1972 because Djaja had a pretty long run”, added Wiranto.

“This is very well-played”, said Luhut while nodding his head thoughtfully “Straight out of the Soeharto Playbook of Miitary Factional Balancing.”

The food and mouth outbreak and the coming 2001 Recession are as OTL.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, that’s ITTL’s version of Grand Indonesia and the MRT being inspected by Try.

Something mindblowing I found out during researching for this. The MRT began early stages of construction in April 1997 and was scheduled for completion in August 2001. It would have had the same route as OTL’s Jakarta MRT except that it goes underground at Benhil rather than after ASEAN Station and would extend all the way to Monas and then to Kota Tua. The original plan was for the Bunderan HI Station to be integrated with the shopping center above it. See

Only OTL Asian Financial Crisis derailed plans for the MRT. Given that the crisis was not as bad and there was a much quicker recovery, I make the assumption here that the MRT has simply continued on the background. For the moment TransJakarta is butterflied away.

I had Try here showing some cunning as far as military command shuffles and promoting an aide-de-camp goes because he would have had 4 years as Presidential Aide-De-Camp and 5 years as Commander of ABRI to learn how Soeharto manipulates and maneuvers military promotions which I would think is not a farfetched assumption to make. Try’s move to give to promote a former aide-de-camp is certainly something borrowed from Soeharto.
Nice comeback from the President
And the opportunity for abolishing regulations discriminatory towards Chinese-Indonesians. One of the difficulties about this TL is that the urgency for change that existed OTL because of how bad the crisis went, the May 1998 riots, Soeharto's fall from power etc. is simply not there. That there needs to be some change from the way things have been set up and organized under Soeharto is a sentiment many ITTL would agree with. But the urgency would not have been as intense as in OTL. Here the motivation for changing regulations discriminatory to Chinese-Indonesian is to counter Tutut playing the religion card plus Try remembering that his former players as Chaiman of the PBSI, Susi Susanti and Alan Budikusuma still faced issues with being of Chinese ethnicity despite being badminton champions.
Yeah, unfortunate but it's just one of those things that were simply there because of inertia and not ranking high on priorities. It became background issue that was forgotten until someone reminded that it was there.
IIRC since there was no riots (or were suppresed enough) the atrocities against Chinese Indonesians didn't happen or not intense enough it became issue IOTL right? So there was no urgency on that front.
But then it became a reserve ammo used to good effect lol.
Also Tutut still crying rice self sufficiency felt like her platform was really based on nostalgianism. Staple food is not just rice, plenty of other options can be grown in marginal lands especially and achieving it is not instant after crisis. Self sufficiency on a particular product is about balancing production and consumption, so bringing consumption of rice down by encouraging cassava, corn, and potato etc. consumption is as good as increasing rice production.
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Shame TJ is butterflied away for now, think it is more suited to jakarta :/ any idea how the LRT in kuningan and senayan is profressing? It was supposed to complement the MRT line with a loop circuit iirc
Yeah, unfortunate but it's just one of those things that were simply there because of inertia and not ranking high on priorities. It became background issue that was forgotten until someone reminded that it was there.
IIRC since there was no riots (or were suppresed enough) the atrocities against Chinese Indonesians didn't happen or not intense enough it became issue IOTL right? So there was no urgency on that front.
But then it became a reserve ammo used to good effect lol.
Also Tutut still crying rice self sufficiency felt like her platform was really based on nostalgianism. Staple food is not just rice, plenty of other options can be grown in marginal lands especially and achieving it is not instant after crisis. Self sufficiency on a particular product is about balancing production and consumption, so bringing consumption of rice down by encouraging cassava, corn, and potato etc. consumption is as good as increasing rice production.
Very much so. I think the 1998 riots got all the Governments after Soeharto to think that "Yeah we have to do something about Chinese Indonesians".

I wouldn't call it strictly nostalgianism. Here in OTL, we hear people say "I wish things were like in the New Order days" and we roll our eyes. ITTL, Soeharto and his policies still carry a lot of weight and it's a more legitimate political position to take. Remember, ITTL Indonesia never saw Soeharto bend down to sign the agreement with the IMF or the the Rupiah hit $1= Rp. 17,000 so the mystique of "Soeharto= economic growth" or in agriculture policy "Soeharto= rice self sufficiency" hadn't wore off and would be a lot stronger ITTL than in real life.

This is not to say that Soeharto is beyond reproach ITTL, it's just that it's done differently. In OTL, everything "bad" about Soeharto came out into the open after his fall from power. In ITTL, I have the impression that people would be able to talk more openly about Soeharto's "shortcomings" but would always begin the sentence with "It's probably unpopular to say this about Pak Harto, but...".

It says something about the Soeharto charisma that Try still feels the need to have Wismoyo Arismunandar on board in the cabinet ITTL. Wismoyo is there to function as a sign for people that "It's perfectly consistent to support Soeharto and then switch over to support Try".

Shame TJ is butterflied away for now, think it is more suited to jakarta :/ any idea how the LRT in kuningan and senayan is profressing? It was supposed to complement the MRT line with a loop circuit iirc
The LRT is actually a Tutut Project. They gave her a contract to build a triple decker consisting of a road, toll road, and light rail which would cut through the middle of Jakarta (CMIIW) at the same time. This project was put on hold by Soeharto in September 1997. In OTL Soeharto tried to allow the project to continue but by 1998, he was struggling to handle the crisis.

ITTL, the following happened:

11th September 2000:
The President chaired a meeting attended by Vice President JB Sumarlin, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Minister of Industry Siswono Yudohusodo, Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi, Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja, Minister of Public Works Rachmat Witoelar, State Minister of State-Owned Enterprise Bacelius Ruru, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman, and Deputy Cabinet Secretary Sri Mulyani.

The meeting took up most of the day and discussed the revocation of Presidential Decision 39 of 1997 which will mean that there will be no more government projects on delay or put under further review. Try gave approval for most projects to go ahead though there were some projects which got more scrutiny than others:

-Any office buildings constructed by state-owned enterprises would now be funded by the state-owned enterprise in question instead of from government funds (“If Jamsostek and Jiwasraya can’t manage their own money, they don’t deserve a building”).

-Try disapproved of the North-South Triple Decker Toll Road in Jakarta which was to be a road, a toll road, and a light rail transport track all at the same time. The project was never cancelled but it never went ahead because the woman to whom the project belonged to was too busy diverting the funds for political activities. Try called for something more substantial and ordered Soerjadi Soedirja to focus on the completion of the Mass Rapid Transportation system instead.

-Djiteng Marsudi reported that the Tanjung Jati C Electricity Generator project should not go ahead. Djiteng said it would put Java’s electricity into overcapacity. This was not to say that the project has not gone through the proper tendering process. Try approved of this.

12th September 2000:
The situation in the DPR got heated as Edi Sudrajat and Soedradjad Djiwandono fronted the DPR to explain the decision made the previous day to revoke Presidential Decision 39 of 1997.

“Has the Government truly calculated the costs of not going ahead with the North-South Triple Decker Toll Road and the Tanjung Jati C Electricity Generator or did it cancel these two projects because it knows that Mrs. Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana has an interest in it?” thundered Ary Mardjono from the KPB.

“No complaint can be made about the Tanjung Jati C because the project was put on hold by President Soeharto back in 1997 but as for the Triple Decker Project, it was never cancelled; it was just the case that Mrs. Tutut diverted her investments elsewhere such as becoming the Chairwoman of Golkar”, explained Rambe Kamarulzaman of the PKPI “The Government could not be blamed for cancelling a project that has failed to start.”
In other words, because the project got delayed and put under review, Tutut started diverting the money to become "political budget" and the Government thought "We might as well cancel it now if that's how she's going to behave."
118: "We're Just Getting Started, We Can't Slow Down Now"
22nd March 2001:
In a press conference, Minister of Health Azrul Azwar announced that the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared Indonesia to be free of polio. Azrul said that this was due to the Government’s commitment to giving polio vaccines to children, a policy started under President Soeharto and continued under President Try.

Governor of Bank Indonesia Boediono answering questions at an economic lecture said while demand is still strong in the economy and could lead to overheating and inflation, the Government must be cautious when it considers measures to prevent overheating and inflation from a monetary policy standpoint. The US Economy is slowing down and the Government does not want to repeat the mistake of the US of going for a “Soft landing” with its interest rate rises and ending up with a recession.

23rd March 2001:
State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman announced that the President had issued a Presidential Instruction on “Safeguarding Meat Supply in the Aftermath of Suspension of Meat Imports from Europe and Argentina”. The following were instructed:

*The Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to promote the consumption of alternative sources of animal protein.
*The Minister of Trade to look for urgent supplies of beef imports.
*The Chief of Police to take action against those hoarding meat in particular beef.

At the DPR, the Zakat and Wakaf Bills are officially introduced to be discussed.

27th March 2001:
Departing early from Jakarta in the early hours in the morning, President Try and his entourage arrived at Warung Jeruk Village close to Purwakarta, West Java. There, accompanied by Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, State Minister of Poverty Alleviation Hemas, Edi Sudrajat and Governor of West Java Muzani Syukur, the President cut some paddy plants in a field to signal the harvest season.

After the ceremony, the President chatted with villagers who reported to him that Warung Jeruk is electrified. He stepped inside the house and flicked on switches to see if this was the case. There was a frown on his face when the locals present at the time said that the place would be teeming with middlemen and bureaucrats asking for bribes to process administrative documents if the President were not there. He then inspected the clean water facilities at the village before leaving back for Jakarta.

Back at Jakarta, Attorney General Soedjono C. Atmonegoro announced that his office has prepared the cases for “those supporting Extreme Right subversion in the country” who were arrested two months prior such as Agus Dwikarna and Parlindungan Siregar. They will be tried in their respective localities except for Agus Dwikarna and Parlindungan Siregar who will be tried in Jakarta.

28th March 2001:
In a wideranging press conference at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita announced that an economic and social-cultural delegation from East Timor led by Governor of East Timor Clementino Dos Reis Amaral will go to Europe and visit Portugal to help explain the situation in East Timor and build closer ties between Indonesia and Portugal.

More closer to home, Ginandjar congratulated Laos on their recent Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) National Congress and their completed National Assembly Session which re-elected Khamtai Siphandon as General Secretary of the LPRP, as the new President of Laos and Boumhang Varachith as the new Prime Minister of Laos.

When asked if the new leadership line up benefitted Indonesia at the expense of China, Ginandjar would not be drawn. He just said that things “have a way of balancing themselves out” and that it was not really a case of who is benefiting or who is losing.

In a meeting, State Minister of National Security Soerjadi said that this was definitely to Indonesia’s advantage as all 3 of the elected figures tended to be pro-Vietnam rather than pro-China though Vietnam itself right now tended to orbit in China’s direction.

29th March 2001:
Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications Oka Mahendra and Junior Minister of Arts and Culture Subrata came out of the President’s office to announce a “Film Industry Package” which included the following:

*Abolition of the requirement for aspiring directors to be assistant directors in 5 movies before they can direct their own movie.
*Abolition of the requirement to submit scripts to the Department of Information, Post, and Telecommunications prior to shooting. Censorship to be conducted post-production.
*Movies with a strong sexual content to be “Direct-to-VCD” or “Direct to video” instead of heading for the big screen.
*Enforcement of a rating and classification system for films and television.
*Continuation of the TVRI’s policy of broadcasting movies by aspiring directors.

30th March 2001:
President Try opened and attended The Regional Development Exhibition at the Jakarta Convention Center. Accompanied by Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, State Minister of Regional Autonomy Oemarsono, Edi Sudrajat and Head of BKPM Mari Pangestu, the President toured large stands set up by all 27 Provincial Governments designed to promote investment by Jakarta in the provinces and investment between the provinces.

The exhibition also served to show what had been achieved in the various provinces thus far. Some provinces which caught the President’s eye were:

*East Java’s economy was booming across various sectors in its bid to “catch up to Jakarta”.
*West Nusa Tenggara attracting investment in tourism and tourists as it sought to promote itself as a more “untouched” version of Bali.
*South Sumatra’s economy starting to flourish as Sriwijaya Air flights brought with them those seeking to do business and travel with Jambi expecting the same as Sriwijaya Air seeks to expand operations there.

“You’re in a thoughtful mood today, Mr. President”, said Harsudiono as the visit was coming to an end.

“This nation’s just got out of the crisis, had one great year, and we’ve got a downturn in the US that is either on the horizon or has arrived”, replied Try with a frown.

1st April 2001:
In a small event at the Presidential Palace but covered by the nation’s media, the President and First Lady Tuti Setiawati had their details recorded in the Electoral Roll. It was reported by Chairman of KPU HBL Mantiri that the President and the First Lady only had their address updated, from the Vice Presidential Residence to the Presidential Palace. Harsudiono Hartas and Edi Sudrajat were also on hand to watch the event.

“The date of the Election will be in 2002 and obviously there will be time to spare between the Election and the inauguration of the new DPR/MPR on 1st October 2002” said the President “For the moment, I urge all eligible voters and those who have become eligible to vote to register or upgrade their details when the KPU comes around to record their names to ensure your participation at the 2002 Elections.”

2nd April 2001:
The President had his lunch with Vice President JB Sumarlin. The latter reported about his visit to Western Europe the previous week. Sumarlin joked that Try’s visit the previous year was well-remembered because it came at the end of the football season. Try laughed but grew serious and asked how the Western European economies were doing.

“I think the recession in the US is going to hit them soon, Mr. President”, said Sumarlin “Even Germany, who had a good year last year.”

Try winced at that.

“They’re keen to get on with existing investment plans in Indonesia carried over from last year but as far as this year goes Indonesia expect less investment, revenue from exports, and tourists from their end, not to mention from the United States and Japan”, said Sumarlin “It’s a global downturn, economic slowdowns are to be expected, including in Indonesia.”

“A slowdown…a down turn…is something I have trouble stomaching if we don’t put up a fight, Mr. Vice President”, Try said shaking his head “This nation is just getting started, I can’t accept us slowing down again.”

The two sat in silence for some time.

“2 months ago, you instructed the economic team to prepare a policy package to make sure the economic growth of 2000 is sustainable in 2001, Mr. President”, said Sumarlin “The Minister of Economics and National Development Planning tells me the policy package is nearly completed.”

“Review it, fine tune it, and make sure it’s completed in 2 weeks, Mr. Vice President”, instructed Try "This nation's only just getting started again, make sure we don't slow down unless we have to."

A “Government gets to work” chapter but focusing on the effects of the food and mouth outbreak and the 2001 Recession.

OTL Indonesia had a pretty good 2000 (economic growth 5%) considering how bad things were in 1998 and despite the fact that things had not recovered fully yet. Then they ran into the 2001 Recession, political instability domestically leading to Wahid’s fall from power, and 9/11. So it's one good year and then Indonesia started to struggle again. Let’s see how they’ll do in ITTL’s 2001…
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How Indonesia ITTL would deal with energy deficit? Iotl they export crude oil only to import the refined products. And regarding on future conversion from kerosene, would they still go to solely bottled gas as OTL or try to promote the lng gas network?
How Indonesia ITTL would deal with energy deficit? Iotl they export crude oil only to import the refined products. And regarding on future conversion from kerosene, would they still go to solely bottled gas as OTL or try to promote the lng gas network?
We’re not at kerosene conversion yet ITTL. But with regards to energy deficit, something that’s different in ITTL as compared to OTL is that there’s 2 oil refineries in construction the Exor II and the Exor III. Though the purpose of Exor refineries is for export rather than domestic consumption. OTL they planned to have four Exor refineries and only managed to build one before the crisis hits.
Approximate location of each Exor refinery:
Exor 1: Balongan, West Java
Exor 2: Sorong, Irian Jaya
Exor 3: Tanjung Uban, Riau
Exor 4: Dumai, Riau (next to the existing refinery)
IOTL the current government is still struggling to build 2 new refineries in Tuban and Bontang.
Minor nitpick: last year the ESDM ministry announced they were planning to connect up to 1 million houses to the gas pipeline each year.
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You know your stuff, Pak @Derff. I can't be bothered looking in the posts right now but Exor II got signed off in 1999 with Aramco and construction underway with a Saudi Arabian foreign workers population growing at Sorong. Tanjung Uban's been signed off in May 2000.

Mining and Energy wise, during this time in OTL New Order, there were a lot of cronies getting into electricity generator construction and signing contracts with terms that was bad for the PLN (ie. they have to buy electricity at an expensive price from the cronies). OTL Djiteng Marsudi, being the CEO of PLN , complained about this but was powerless to stop it ( he ended up being dismissed by Habibie). So his being Minister of Mining and Energy ITTL is a case of “Let’s see you do the things you couldn’t do in OTL” from me. But the consequence of that the orientation of the mining and energy tends to be strongly focused on “let’s benefit the nation rather than just a few people” rather than other things in the energy field.
Exor stands for export oriented isnt it? Such an orba naming convention...
I suppose better Exor than something Sanskrit, right?

View attachment 549479
That's quite a lot of refineries (in addition to Exors)
Good God, that’s a lot of refineries indeed and not a lot of info about why they didn’t end up going ahead with the projects. It’s the Exors that normally come up in terms of refineries that Orba wanted to build but end up being abandoned.
119: Ginandjar
3rd April 2001:
President Try Sutrisno and his entourage arrived by airplane at Silangit International Airport, North Tapanuli, North Sumatra in the process becoming the first group of passengers to use the new airport. Upon alighting and after being welcomed by Governor of North Sumatra Syamsir Siregar, the President inaugurated Silangit International Airport. Located 30 minutes from Lake Toba, President Try expressed his hope that this will increase traffic to North Sumatra and Lake Toba more specifically. Try instructed Syamsir to make sure that there were buses to and from the Airport and Balige.

After the short ceremony and touring the airport, the President and his entourage went to Balige. Accompanied by Minister of Tourism Soeyono, Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja, and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, the President toured the souvenir shops there before visiting the Lumban Bul Bul Beach at the edge of Lake Toba. He shook hands and had his pictures taken with locals and tourists alike.

From Toba, it was back to Silangit and a flight to Medan. There the President sat with Syamsir and the top officials of the North Sumatra Provincial Government. He urged North Sumatra to focus on infrastructure so that it can become an attractive place to invest in.

4th April 2001:
With Commander of ABRI Wiranto and Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar flanking him, the President hit the gong to signal the opening of the 2001 ABRI Leadership Meeting. In his speech, the President called on ABRI to prioritize strengthening its human resources rather than its weaponry in anticipation of the slowing world economy and its effect on Indonesia. After this speech, the President flew to Jakarta.

Speaking to a group of PKPB Cadres who came to visit her house in Jakarta, Chairwoman of PKPB Tutut Soeharto said that the Government could not rest on the laurels of economic growth figures of 2000 because the US economy is slowing down with all of its effects including in Indonesia. She said that the Government should consider it as an opportunity to manage an economic problem in its own right rather than riding on President Soeharto’s coattails.

5th April 2001:
Minister of Trade Anthony Salim in a press conference said that he’s been able to secure beef and live cattle imports from Australia and Brunei Darussalam to compensate for the ban of beef imports from Argentina and elsewhere affected by the food and mouth disease. He joked that since Brunei’s beef and cows are farmed in Ausralia, Indonesia will be getting a double dose of Australian beef.

Interviewed by the press on his way out of the DPR building Chairman of DPR Harmoko said that Indonesia will be facing economic challenges in 2001 but regrets that Tutut has to say things “As though she wished the President to fail”.

6th April 2001:
In a meeting with Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi, State Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Bacelius Ruru, and Edi Sudrajat the President discussed Freeport.

Harsudiono said that the Governor, Regents and Mayors in Irian Jaya are interested in being the Indonesian entity purchasing shares in Freeport’s mine but at the same time are scared to “push too hard” because Freeport is pretty much the entire Timika economy. Mar’ie and Bacelius said that the alternative would be if the Government purchase shares in Freeport whether through the budget or through a state-owned enterprise like Pertamina but cautioned the President it could not be large shares all at once.

Djiteng seemed unhappy throughout the meeting and this was not lost on the other attendants of the meeting. The President instructed Djiteng to look for alternative ways for the Government to gain shares in Freeport. He could not wait to get out of the meeting.

8th April 2001:
For the past month, the RRI had been interviewing ministers as they marked the 3rd Anniversary of their tenures as ministers. Today was Djiteng’s turn. Amidst talk about about the Exor Refineries, the electricity generators sprouting out, Djiteng expressed frustration about Freeport.

“I’ve probably been at them for nearly 2 years. At first just soft written reminders and the like but they had their arguments which they have continued up until now. Last year I began meeting them in person and they just repeated the same arguments except these arguments were made to me in person rather than made on paper. I told them the President will be getting involved soon and I’m thankful that he’s been backing me on this though not a lot had changed from Freeport’s end.”

But the fact of the matter is this contract we have now, signed in 1991, is not good for Indonesia. Freeport is supposed to start divesting 2% annually since 2001 but with legal technicalities and what not, it turns out that legally they’re entitled not to divest 2% each year. Then you got other things as well like contract extensions. The contract ends in 2021 but they have the right to extend until 2041. Can we reject the extension? Not really. If they feel we’re being unreasonable,they have the right to take us to international arbitration and God knows what’s going to happen if it comes to that.

It’s not a good contract. We’re supposed to have a 20% share in that mine but now we only have 9.36% because the private company who took on the shares have ended up selling it and those shares are making their way back to Freeport. It’s not a good contract, it’s a faulty contract and the Minister of Mining and Energy who presided over the formulation of the contract is also faulty.”

Edi Sudrajat was playing tennis but caught the ball and stopped the game when he heard what Djiteng had said. The Minister of Mining and Energy in 1991 when the contract was signed was none other than Ginandjar Kartasasmita, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs.

By afternoon, the President and his Four Horseman had gathered at the Presidential Palace. Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas chuckled to himself, saying that what Djiteng said was “not politically very smart but very ballsy”. Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo and OCDS Sugeng Subroto shook their heads. Edi was not happy at all and let his displeasure.

“I would not have taken you to be a Ginandjar fan”, said Sugeng.

“I sit with the guy each time the President meets a foreign leader and believe me he’s good”, replied Edi “That and the fact that if we somehow lose him as minister because of this, he and Sudharmono will go to the other side.”

“Right now him going over to Tutut should be the concern” added Ari “In the overall scheme of things, if you’d have to lose someone, you’d want to lose Djiteng rather than Ginandjar because Ginandjar is the more significant political actor.”

“I disagree”, said Sugeng “The President loses Djiteng and the Government loses a key feature of its energy policy: that you can’t just mess around with Indonesia’s oil and electricity and get a way with it. I mean I’ve got the data, people in the mining sector are afraid of…”

The President held his hand up and walked out on the conversation, looking deep in thought.

9th April 2001:
The Monday morning newspapers featured headlines like “Dissension in the Ranks” and “Djiteng Goes After Ginandjar”. It was a difficult situation, because Djiteng had spoken on an open forum, the press could not be accused of spreading rumors though the fact that Djiteng did not think highly of Ginandjar had been common knowledge in the Jakarta rumor mill for some time.

PT Freeport Indonesia did not help matters with a company spokesperson appearing on television saying that the company remembering Ginandjar as a Minister of Mining and Energy who was friendly towards foreign mining companies.

After lunch, Djiteng arrived at the Presidential Palace to meet with the President. He came out 2 hours later with small smile on his face. He would not answer the barrage of questions which included such things as “Are you going to remain as Minister of Mining and Energy?” Djiteng went in his car without saying nothing.

The final word of the day belonged to former Vice President Sudharmono. As Ginandjar’s mentor and patron, Sudharmono called on the President to express support for the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the face of criticism by Djiteng.

10th April 2001:
Ginandjar Kartasasmita held a press conference while in Bhutan en route to Japan. Ginandjar said that he had not been in contact with the President since his departure on this trip and that he will meet with the President on his arrival back in Jakarta. That said, Ginandjar said that he’s been following developments in Jakarta. After goodnaturedly saying that Djiteng probably misspoke, Ginandjar said that he supported the President’s policy on Freeport divestment and that it was why he was coming to Japan though he would not specify what his mission was.

Back in Jakarta, the President shot an ad with Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja and Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Tanto Kuswanto. The ad would feature Sarwono calling on Indonesians to eat meat other than cow while Tanto would ask Indonesians to try fish instead, the aim being to get Indonesians to try another animal protein other than beef. While Tanto shot his lines Sarwono went over to Edi and asked for some time with the President. Edi asked what did Sarwono wanted to talk about.

“Sudharmono wanted it conveyed again to the President that he defend Ginandjar from Djiteng”, said Sarwono.

“The President will respond when he decides the time is right to respond”, said Edi before asking back “You’re pretty close to Sudharmono right?”

“He was Chairman of Golkar and I was Secretary of Golkar once upon a time so in that sense, I was close”, said Sarwono “But I’m not as close as Ginandjar is, otherwise I would be the Minister of Foreign Affairs.”

Both laughed.

“The President’s told Djiteng to continue on as minister but not without a hell of a reprimand against speaking about another minister like that”, said Edi “You can tell Sudharmono that.”

“He still won’t be happy, he expects the President to publicly come to Ginandjar’s defense”, cautioned Sarwono.

“He’s really being insistent, isn’t he?” asked Edi, annoyed.

“Ginandjar’s his golden boy”, replied Sarwono “Sudharmono feels he’s too old to become an active political player but if he has any ambitions, it will be Ginandjar who will realize it for him.”

11th April 2001:
The President, accompanied by Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Tourism Soeyono, and Governor of Jakarta Sutiyoso, today inaugurated the Balai Sarbini Function Hall and Plaza Semanggi Shopping Center. It was while he was touring the shops that he took questions about Djiteng and Ginandjar.

“I think the Minister of Mining and Energy is passionate about what he’s doing though it doesn’t justify what he’s said. I think the Minister of Foreign Affairs is an energetic member of the Cabinet and the person implementing our assertive foreign policy. Both are equally important members of the cabinet”, said the President as he walked through the various shops.

Elsewhere, interviewed as he attended a function, Djiteng said that he believed that regardless of past policies Ginandjar is behind the current policy the President is pursuing regarding Freeport and that’s what matters. Djiteng apologized that his comments “came out as it did”.

12th April 2001:
Arriving first thing in the morning from Tokyo, Ginandjar immediately headed to the Presidential Palace to report the result of his visit. Most notably, Ginandjar said he had conveyed the President’s message to Prime Minister of Japan Koichi Kato requesting the Japanese Government’s assistance to lobby the American Government to pressure Freeport to divest its shares in its mine in Irian Jaya. The President thanked Ginandjar for that.

“I would like to end by saying how thankful I am for your continuing support in me, Mr. President”, said Ginandjar.

“Not a problem”, replied the President “I hope that a misunderstanding like the one this week would not make you work any less harder.”

Watching this exchange in front of him, Edi could not help but think that there was something in the air between the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“Like they were trying to look into each other’s minds”, said Edi at the end of the day as he paid a visit to Harsudiono’s office.

“I think that’s what they were doing”, said Harsudiono as he ate some sate “Try told Djiteng not to say anything about what’s happening until he himself had made a comment, right?”

“He did”, replied Edi.

“That’s because he wants to see if Ginandjar could be trusted in these kinds of situations”, explained Harsudiono “He wants to see if Ginandjar would continue to support him or try to advance his agenda.”

“He’s not afraid that Ginandjar’s going to walk out on him?” asked Edi.

“You mean resign as Minister of Foreign Affairs? Absolutely not”, replied Harsudiono “The best way for Ginandjar to advance his agenda is by remaining as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Tutut and Megawati are Presidential daughters, they’ve got their fathers to point to as an achievement. Ginandjar’s got something more powerful than that: an actual track record he can actually point to.”

“What you’re saying is, the President sees Ginandjar as a challenger for the presidency?” Edi blurted out, shocked at all this.

“It’s the only reason why he’s putting effort to see what Ginandjar is thinking”, said Harsudiono.

“If that’s the case Ginandjar’s hitting the right notes” replied Edi “He’s said he supports the President and the President’s policies. Certainly that’s enough to reinforce the President’s trust in him.”

“For now”, muttered Harsudiono.

Ginandjar arrived at the Department of Foreign Affairs and sat on his desk where a letter awaited him. Ginandjar opened it.

My boy,

Keep to the road that you’re walking on. Keep your head down and work for President Try’s goals and you’ll be too valuable for him to replace.

When the time comes, they’ll all come looking for your support and that’ll be the time to show the world what your real ambition is.


Always found Ginandjar to be something of an interesting figure. OTL, as Coordinating Minister of Economics, he famously got 13 other ministers to abandon Soeharto. At the same time however, he managed to build enough credibility with the IMF that they liked dealing with him. This at a time when the IMF and Soeharto was clashing about how Indonesia’s economy should recover. Cunning, opportunistic, but was always seen as capable.

ITTL, there’s something about Ginandjar that makes Try reluctant to trust him fully despite the fact that Ginandjar had proven to be a capable Minister of Foreign Affairs.

When push comes to shove Try trusts Harmoko more than he trusts Ginandjar. If you look back in the TL, Try forbade Ginandjar to nominate as Chairman of Golkar in the lead up to the 1998 Golkar National Congress. For his part, Ginandjar thinks Try owes his election in 1998 to Ginandjar bringing over supporters to vote for Try instead of Habibie (Try winning over Habibie 503 to 497 votes).
120: The April 2001 Policy Package
16th April 2001:
It was early in the morning but all the ministerial cars had already flocked to the Presidential Palace. It was a Cabinet Meeting called early enough in the morning that a breakfast was served. To the applause of all those present, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita and Minister of Mining and Energy shook hands. After a short breakfast buffet, the ministers and the heads of agencies took their seats and the Cabinet Meeting began when President Try and Vice President JB Sumarlin took their seats.

Some 3 hours later they emerged. Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Minister of Legal Affairs Marzuki Darusman, Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications Oka Mahendra, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Minister of Trade Anthony Salim, Minister of Industry Siswono Yudohusodo, Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Djiteng Marsudi, Minister of Forestry and Environment Barnabas Suebu, Minister of Employment and Small Business Fahmi Idris, Minister of Civil Service Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, State Minister of Regional Autonomy Oemarsono, Junior Minister of Finance Marzuki Usman, Junior Minister of Housing Bobby Suhardiman, Governor of BI Boediono, Head of BKPM Mari Pangestu, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman.

“Is that everyone? Sit down, it’s going to be a long one” asked Edi as he sat in the middle of the desk before solemnly making the announcement “The President has today approved a set of policy decisions which the Government will seek to implement.”

Thus it was over the next 3 hours, the announcement and question and answer session taking so long that ministers and the press alike were eating from their cake boxes, the Government announced the April 2001 Policy Package which consists of the following components:

Consolidating Fiscal Position:
-A maximum of 2 working days required for registration for Taxpayer Number whether individual or corporate.
-Focusing Tax Office Reorganization by prioritizing building new tax offices in Jakarta, West Java, East Java, Bali, and Batam.
-Abolish moratorium on the import of luxury cars but impose maximum duties on luxury cars.
-Abolish subsidies of avtur and avigas
-Establish code of ethics for Tax and Customs Officials

Infrastructure For The Present and Future:
-Prioritize toll roads which links cities and provinces rather than toll roads within cities
-Prioritize airports in areas with tourism potential
-Expansion of existing oil refineries to improve capacity and energy self-sufficiency
-Approval of Nusantara 21 Project which will see a fiber optic cable network both underwater and onshore to provide internet access for Indonesians
-Creation of a State-Owned Infrastructure Insurance Corporation.
-Strengthen Infrastructure Planning Committee

Increasing the Nation’s Capacity:
-Lower import duties to minimum rates for spare parts of heavy machinery
-Provide tax breaks for investment and expansion of businesses related to electrical components, spare parts of motor vehicles, and spare parts of heavy machinery
-Simplify and set a maximum days for processing building permits especially for new house-shops, house-offices, houses, and apartment blocks
-Creation of a Deputy Head of BKPM for Domestic Investment and Deputy Head of BKPM for Foreign Investment to promote investment at home and abroad

Adding Value and Utilizing Natural Resources:
-Creation of Directorate General of Agroindustry and Agribusiness at the Department of Agriculture
-Imposition of export Tax of 60% for export of Rattan, this is a reversal of the agreement with the IMF in April 1998
-The Minister of Trade to announce a new export strategy
-A 1-year amnesty period starting from July 2001 for the forestry industry to be used by those in the industry to comply with rules and regulations.

Legal Certainty:
-Limited liabilities and limited partnerships only require ratification at regional offices of the Department of Legal Affairs rather than at the head office.
-Introduction and passing of a new Manpower Law
-Conduct review of regulations in the regions and overrule those which contradict or overlap with regulations made by the Central Government.
-Abolish levies and fees of the regions with an emphasis on the abolition of levies and fees related to the slughter
-Mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations of banks to be permitted on the conditions of maintenance of Capital Adequacy Ratio and continuing compliance with BLBI repayments.

The large scope and length of the announcement meant that television channels ended up allocating large chunks of their day to covering and analyzing the announcement. Sumarlin and the ministers appeared on various channels to explain the policies.

At 8 PM, the President appeared on television from his desk.

“Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

Earlier today cabinet ministers announced a collection of policies related to our economy. I will add no more to what has been announced other than to say that what they announced, I have approved. Rather I’m here to explain to you what the policy package today mean for the nation.

The first thing is that it means that we are trying to protect our nation from a worldwide downturn and recession.

The United States of America have for the first time in a decade ceased to grow during a quarter and may already be in a recession. What downturn the United States is experiencing will effect nations around the world whether that be Japan or Singapore and Malaysia in region. In fact this recession may already be effecting various nations.

The Government has, as has been the case in the past when a crisis or a potential crisis had occurred., taken decisive steps to minimize the impact of the crisis. We are not taking anything for granted or feel that the crisis would not have impact on Indonesia. As we all remember, we all thought that our economy was strong enough to face the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997

The second thing is that it means that we are trying to sustain economic growth.

Last year our economic growth was 11.4% and it underlined the fact that we have overcome what economists have called the Asian Financial Crisis. But just as we have gotten out of the crisis, we are faced with an international downturn which threatened economic growth.

We need economic growth. We need it to ensure that our men and women are employed; we need it to ensure that there is opportunity for businesses to establish itself and expand; and we need it to lift our fellow countrymen out of poverty. For these reasons, it would simply not do for our Nation to have one excellent year economically and then have less economic growth the next year. Our economic growth from year to year must be sustainable.

The third thing is this Government is deepening the process of national development which this nation has undertaken for 3 decades.”

Camera pans out to reveal that the President has a tea leaf and a “Teh Botol” on his table.

“Last year, I visited Sri Lanka. What struck me the most about that visit was how successful Sri Lanka is when it comes to tea. It’s their largest export and probably their most important commodity. I spent a bit of time in their tea facilities and by the end of it, something became entirely clear.

We in Indonesia are still focused on exporting raw goods (lifts tea leaves) rather than things that are value added (lifts Teh Botol).

Indonesia is a larger economy than Sri Lanka and I dare say more prosperous and yet they are more successful at tea than we probably are with rice. They’ve got flavored tea, organic tea, tea bags…you name they’ve got it. They’ve even value added the packaging by having packaging standards which adheres to international standardization.

There is an approach towards economic development here that we need to change and that’s not just limited to agriculture and tea. We have an electronics industry and export these electronics for which we should be proud of. But we still need to further develop our electronics component industry to provide spare parts for the electronic manufacturers. The same way we still need to develop our spare parts industry to provide more spare parts from within the country where it be for cars, motorcycles, or fishing boats.

There’s a shift here that needs to occur with our mindset. We’re still at point where we focus too much on the numbers. If the numbers are good, we don’t feel like we need to do anything more We focus too much on rice production or how many electronics are produced instead of how to add value to our agricultural commodities or how to strengthen our industry. This shift of mindset could be applied elsewhere. In education, we’re still focusing on increasing participation rates at primary and secondary schools but not nearly enough on the kinds of human beings being produced in those schools.

I’m not saying we need to ignore numbers, I’m saying that we need to look at the broader picture. And looking at the broader picture means not relaxing or being complacent or going back to things as they were before.

My fellow Indonesians wherever you may be,

Our nation’s economic position is strong. But the mistake here would be to underestimate what is happening in the world beyond our borders, to not take any steps to protect the hard work that has been done in the last few years, and for us to grow complacent. Instead, we must use our current economic position to become even stronger, even better, and even greater. Because it is my belief that we have it in us to be great.

Thank you very much.

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.”

I took a lot of policies from all over the place here. There’s bits of Habibie (Avtur and Avgas subsidies being abolished), Megawati (Tax office reorganization), and SBY (Only need to go to the Regional Office to register your corporation). Try's overall goal however is to sustain economic growth so that Indonesia can continue to develop.

Nusantara 21 is the precursor of the Palapa Ring (Yes, ladies and gents it’s one of those projects that were on the agenda but then got sidelined by the Asian Financial Crisis).

There’s some policies here that’s fictional (amnesty to ensure compliance by forest concessionaires) but this is in response to existing ITTL conditions. There’s mention in a past update, for example, that businesses that were run from home during the Asian Financial Crisis and became successful were now looking to move into ruko and rukan and so the policy for building permits is in response to that.
121: In The Eyes of the World
17th April 2001:
At the Presidential Palace today, President Try Sutrisno welcomed the arrival of Prime Minister of Laos Bounnhang Vorachith who was freshly elected to the office at the Laos National Assembly Session. Bounnhang, accompanied by new Laos Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongloun Sisoulith both came to introduce themselves.

After a meeting with the President, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita, and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat to discuss Indonesian-Laos relations, Try and Bounnhang held a joint press conference. When asked about the delay in the holding of the Vietnamese Communist Party National Congress, the President said that that’s a matter for the Vietnamese. What’s concerning is that it seems to be the case that the delay is due to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party. When asked about his thoughts on Indonesia, Bounnhang said that Indonesia goes from strength to strength.

“First one out of the crisis, impressive growth figures last year…surviving this downturn and sustaining its economic growth will be icing on the cake”, said Bounnhang.

18th April 2001:
Overseeing preparations for the 2002 Elections at the PNI Headquarters, Chairwoman of PNI Megawati Soekarnoputri said to the press interviewing her that the policy package announced by the President would be unnecessary if the Indonesian economy was self-sufficient. Such a policy package only goes to show how integrated, instead of self-sufficient, the Indonesian economy has become in the world economy.

Minister of Forestry and Environment Barnabas Suebu held a press conference to explain the “Forestry Amnesty” policy. Barnabas said that essentially the Government’s giving the forestry industry 15 months to get itself in order. 3 months to inform “everybody” about the policy and 12 months for people to get themselves in order.

“If we look at every illegal logging case, illegal sawmills, smuggling whatever, that would take too much time”, said Barnabas “So we’re going to give them time to sort themselves out so they’re not shocked when we do take action.”

19th April 2001:
At Bandung, West Java today at the Sate Building, the President opened a Work Meeting with the nation’s Governors, Regents, and Mayors. With Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas and State Minister of Regional Autonomy Oemarsono, the President delivered a speech calling on the regional officials to have a twin priority over the next 24 months: the successful implementation of the 16th April Policy Package and the maintenance of security and stability to create a conducive situation for the 2002 Elections.

From this event, he then went went to tour the head office of PT Pindad, the State Owned Army Industry company. There, accompanied by Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Army Chief of Staff Luhut Panjaitan, State Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Bacelius Ruru and State Minister of Research and Technology Indra Bambang Utoyo, the President inspected Pindad’s project, in particular a prototype of a light personnel carrier called the APR 1V.

The President, however was more interested in the conversation going on behind him between Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat. Wismoyo said that when he purchased the Sukhoi back in Moscow, he did not get face time with President of Russia Yevgeny Primakov or Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin. Wismoyo felt like “they didn’t really care about us”.

20th April 2001:
The President held a luncheon at the Presidential Palace for the nation’s most prominent businessman. Vice President JB Sumarlin, Chairman of KADIN Aburizal Bakrie, and Chairman of Apindo Sofyan Wanandi sat beside him as he explained the 16th April Policy Package. The policies were generally well-received though the President detected a few frowning faces in the crowd, especially those with interests in forestry or as Edi Sudrajat joked later “those with luxury cars”.

As the luncheon came to an end, the Try chatted with Sofyan Wanandi. Sofyan joked that the Government was still missing its best policy to ensure continuing economic growth. When Try asked what it was, Sofyan said the best Government policy to ensure continuing economic growth would be if the President announced that he would like to stand for re-election. Try smiled.

23rd April 2001:
Agus Dwikarna and Parlindungan Siregar, two men arrested in relation to their links to Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, begin to have their cases heard at court in closed sessions. Attorney General Soedjono C. Atmonegoro said that the closed sessions were to avoid situations that are not conducive. Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo and Commander of Jakarta Regional Military Command Prijanto kept tabs on the movement of a group of demonstrators throughout the day and managed to keep them as far away as possible from court.

24th April 2001:
The President accompanied by State Minister of Youth and Sports Hajriyanto Thohari and Chairman of KONI IGK Manila visited the Gelora Senayan Stadium where the Indonesian National Football Team were training. He shook hands with the Manager Glenn Hoddle with the team. The team asked the President for his attendance during their 2002 World Cup Qualifying matches.

“I’m saving up my appearance for the big match”, said the President.

25th April 2001:
OCDS Sugeng Subroto and Inspectors General of Development Moetojib, Sintong Panjaitan, Irsyad Sudiro, Baharuddin Lopa, and Bambang Sudibyo came out of a meeting with the President. Sugeng said that the President instructed all of them to be more vigilant when conducting supervision of Government projects, calling on them not only to ensure speed but that the funds are used properly without being pocketed by officials.

Minister of Education Fakry Gaffar and Chairman of BP-7 Agus Widjojo in a joint press conference said that the President has approved of Budi Pekerti taking over the place of Pancasila Moral Education for kindergarten to 6th grade starting from the next educational year. Fakry said that the BP-7 has been involved so that Budi Pekerti would still be linked to the P4 Training but he said the emphasis now will be getting the “morals” right first for younger students as a preparation for them being ideologically sound.

26th April 2001:
Discussions about the Zakat and Wakaf Bills in the DPR today turned heated today as Minister of Religion Quraish Shihab introduced the Government’s amendments to the Zakat and Wakaf Bills:

*For the Zakat Bill, the Government proposed an amendment which would see management of zakat be be entrusted to a National Zakat Agency. This is contrary to the initial bill proposed by the PKPB which would allow non-governmental and societal groups to establish their own Zakat institutions.

*For the Wakaf Bill, the Government proposed an amendment that all references to “Sharia financial institutions” in the bill proposed by the PKPB be replaced to “profit-sharing banks”. This caused more of a stir with Leader of the PKPB in he DPR Hartono saying that “The Government is allergic to the term Sharia”.

27th April 2001:
After Friday Prayer, the President, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita, State Minister of National Security Soerjadi, Edi Sudrajat, and Governor of Jakarta Sutiyoso inspected the Jakarta Convention Center’s readiness to hold the G-15 Summit the next month. Ginandjar said that all of the heads of states/governments will be in attendance, some even coming in days prior to the event. Ginandjar also pointed out that the summit will be the largest gathering of non-aligned nations since John McCain and Yevgeny Primakov took office in the United States and Russia.

The President’s ears were listening to the conversation of Edi and Soerjadi behind him. Edi talked about Wismoyo’s experience in Moscow when purchasing the Sukhois. Soerjadi explained that Primakov came to the Russian Presidency with the mindset that it will take an alliance of Russia, China, and India to stand up to the United States. The President kept a poker face as Ginandjar guided him around the building.

30th April 2001:
Try’s guest today, arriving for a visit was Vice President of the United States George W. Bush. After welcoming him at the Presidential Palace, they went in for talks. Try accompanied by Sumarlin, Ginandjar and Edi while Bush was accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Paul Wolfowitz.

Bush began by going over the McCain Administration’s strategic goals. Dismissing the Clinton Administration for failing “to stand up to China” and allowing for the “emergence of Primakov”, Bush said that the McCain Administration will provide leadership the world needs and would not be soft like the previous one. It became something of a lecture.

Regarding Southeast Asia, Bush said that the US is focusing on Northeast Asia saying that it was a bad year when the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of Taiwan tends towards China. The US wanted to correct this, strengthen links with South Korea, and encourage Japan and Taiwan to “rebalance” their relationship towards China.

The conversation first went tense when they began discussing about the international economic situation. Bush said that developing counries seeking assistance during economic times should unconditionally adhere to IMF’s conditions. The change between the Clinton and McCain Administrations, Bush said, will also include stronger support for the IMF in enforcing its conditions. In this regard, Bush argued, he regrets Indonesia’s role in calling for leniency for Turkey at the D-8 Summit. Try said that the misfortune for the IMF here is if because the IMF’s conditions are too strict, Turkey collapses.

“Your and a few other nations’ cases are aberrations and we want to keep it that way”, snapped Bush “We’d like to ask you not to urge other nations to ask for the special favors you got.”

The next tense conversation was Bush saying that the McCain Administration had gotten the message from the Japanese Government about “applying pressure” to Freeport about divesting shares in its mines at Irian Jaya. Bush said that Freeport had made their case to him and his office had conducted a review of the situation and had determined that Freeport in Indonesia has no legal obligations to divest its shares to Indonesia. Bush said that if Indonesia had a problem with that, it was free to take Freeport to international arbitration but Freeport is equally free to take Indonesia to international arbitration if it felt that the Indonesian Government was trying to force the issue with Freeport.

At each opportunity, Wolfowitz, former Ambassador to Indonesia as he was tried to soften the blow but Bush would insist on delivering the news in the bluntest way possible. Try, Sumarlin, and Ginandjar managed to remain calm though Edi could not hide the fact that he was not liking what was happening.

Try managed to smile his way through a press conference with Bush and then to sit next to Bush and deliver speeches during dinner with the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia. Privately he was dejected, feeling that he had failed on many aspects with Bush, especially with regards to Freeport.

1st May 2001:
As television screens showed Bush, Sumarlin, and Ginandjar having a business breakfast with KADIN at Bush’s hotel, the President, Edi Sudrajat, and Soerjadi watched all this on television.

“So Freeport’s a no go for now”, said Try massaging his head “That and the fact that the McCain Administration’s Southeast Asia policy is to focus on Northeast Asia.”

“I’m surprised he didn’t mention anything about the treaty the President signed in February with Thailand”, said Edi.

“That probably shows the extent of how much they’re focusing on Northeast Asia instead of our part of the continent”, said Soerjadi.

There was silence in the room as Bush cracked a joke in his keynote address.

“So the US doesn’t see us as a priority, the Russians don’t see us as part of the equation…” began Try “I suppose the next question is how the hell do we look from China’s point of view?”

“China’s ambivalent towards us, Mr. President”, said Soerjadi “Premier Zhu Rongji thinks China should take us seriously and treat us as a friend, Chairman of NPC Li Peng thinks China has bigger fish to fry in the United States, and President Jiang Zemin is somewhere in between.”

Try continued to watch Bush make his speech. The other two officials watching the television with him.

“If they want to count us out and not want us to be part of the equation, then let’s just enjoy the ride”, said Try “We’ll work on our agenda when they’re not looking and then they’ll be surprised at how strong we’ve gotten when they realize what’s going on.”

Megawati Soekarnoputri’s comments here shows the difference between ITTL and OTL’s Megawati. OTL Megawati found herself implementing the IMF’s reforms during her presidency and seems to be quite pragmatic in terms of economic policy. ITTL Megawati, who still has a relatively politically outsider status is in a position to be more Soekarnoist.

Primakov and the notion of a strategic triangle may be found at:

Essentially this update is about ITTL Indonesia’s stature in the ITTL world. It’s a dominating presence in Southeast Asia, it’s attracting respect from the third world, but it’s underrated and perhaps underestimated in the eyes of of the likes of the United States and Russia.