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

19: The Try Stimulus
19: The Try Stimulus
3rd May 1998:

At 8 PM, Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi accompanied by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat announced that the government will be cutting subsidies to fuel and electricity. As a result fuel prices will go up by 30% and electricity prices by 50%. The rises will take effect at midnight 4th May.

Edi supplemented the minister’s announcement by saying that “Simply put”, the government is serious about addressing the economic crisis. He said that there will be a further announcement from the government the next morning about the next step to address the economic crisis.

The news was well hidden. At the end, only the President and the Minister of Mining and Energy by how much the rises were going to be. Normally after these announcements, there would be a rush by car owners to petrol stations so that they can fill up their tanks using the still cheap petrol prices. However, the short amount of time between the announcement of the price rise and the price rise itself as well as anticipation at what the government has to announce meant that most of the populace adopted a “wait and see” approach.

4th May 1998:
At 8 AM, the President chaired a meeting attended by Vice President Sumarlin and the entire cabinet. During the meeting, the President announced his intention to implement a stimulus package to kick start economic activity and create employment.

Meanwhile the Presidential Palace was being prepared for a press conference. It was 9.30 AM when the President appeared accompanied by Vice President Sumarlin.

“Ladies and gentlemen and fellow Indonesians wherever you may be.

I have just chaired a meeting attended by the full cabinet and what I am telling you now will be little different to what I have said to them.

During my initial period in office, the government has managed to limit the damage of what had initially been a financial crisis but which had grown to become an economic crisis. Even so, the steps which have been taken are not sufficient.

The decline of the Rupiah’s value has been arrested but unemployment is on the increase. We have also exercised prudent policies regarding our budget and yet at the same time, the economy has continued to slow down

The Indonesian government has, is, and will continue to pursue policies to restore the confidence of the market. The cuts to the fuel and electricity subsidies which I have approved and which was announced last night are further prove of this commitment.

But such policies and measures are nothing if the government fails to address the slowing economy and the risk to economic and social fabric that that will bring.

In the near two months since my re-election and with the assistance of the Vice President and the cabinet, we have formulated a set of measures to decisively put Indonesia on the path of economic recovery.

Accordingly, I hereby announce a stimulus package to create employment, encourage economic activity, and guide Indonesia towards a fair and prosperous society based on Pancasila.

Having conducted a review of projects which have been suspended or put under indefinite review, I now announce that the following infrastructure projects has been placed back on the agenda with construction to start at the latest 6 months from today and funding arrangements to be earmarked from future budgets:

*Bandung Inner Ring Road
*East Surabaya Outer Ring Road
*Semarang-Solo Toll Road
*Tangerang-Jakarta Outer Ring Road
*Gresik-Tuban Toll Road
*Ujung Pandang Toll Road Expansion
*Solo-Yogyakarta Toll Road
*Surabaya-Gresik Toll Road

*Jakarta-Solo Railway and Freight
*Jakarta-Surabaya Railway and Freight
*Development of Lombok Airport
*Construction of Benoa Harbour in Bali
*Construction of Lhokseumawe Multipurpose Terminal in Aceh

The government will also take this opportunity to renew its focus on education and the Compulsory 9 Year Education Program. The government will construct 3,000 new Junior High School buildings in this fiscal year; each building to consist of three classrooms, a library, and a laboratory.

In the field of housing, we will be constructing 50 towers of social housing apartments. We will be targeting the construction of these towers in large cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Ujung Pandang to provide housing for urban workers.

Furthermore, 40,000 defense houses will be constructed and a further 80,000 existing houses to be refurbished. We will be targeting the constructions and refurbishments of defense housing to be used to accomodate families.

Employment Creation:
Through the initiation of the projects above we hope to absorb those who have been unemployed in recent times; manual workers, field supervisors, architects, engineers, and contractors. Whether you have been laid off or have seen work slow down or are about to graduate from university, we hope you will take this opportunity as it becomes available.

Other opportunities will also be available from the following departments
*The Department of Industries, Research, and Technology will be establishing representative patent offices in major cities as well as National Industry Standard offices across the provinces and will be opening vacancies.

*The Department of Transport will be conducting its program to ensure that all cars on Indonesian roads are fitted with seatbelts and will be opening vacancies for seatbelt inspectors.

The government is also seeking to encourage entrepreneurship. The Department of Manpower and Small Business, the Department of Education, and the Department of Female Empowerment, Youth, and Sports are cooperating to set up business crash courses.

The total cost for all the measure taken for this stimulus package is 0.8% of GDP.

Given that we have reached a budget surplus of 1% of GDP, this will leave us with a buffer against deficit of 0.2% of GDP. It is not the government’s intention to go into deficit as that will run an inflationary risk and therefore the risk of the Rupiah losing its value.

To further strengthen the Rupiah, the projects that have been approved will be using domestic contractors with a minimum amount of imported material.

Fellow Indonesians, such are the measures we have taken in the government’s stimulus package.

It is not by any means the final step to be taken in the nation’s economic recovery, but it is a significant one.

With God’s grace, this government intends to implement this stimulus package and Insya Allah, this nation can make its economic recovery.”

5th May 1998:
Cabinet ministers with stimulus programs to implement held a joint press conference. With Minister of Information and Telecommunication Ginandjar Kartasasmita sitting in the middle, Minister of Public Works, Housing, and Urban Development Sutjipto, Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirdja, Minister of Education Wardiman Djojonegoro, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Civil Service and Development Supervision Rachmat Witoelar all fronted the press.

*On the scope of the stimulus: “I think this is the right amount of stimulus to be put into the economy given the constraints of the budget and the state of the economy at the moment.”- Ginandjar Kartasasmita.

*On the emphasis on infrastructure: “Whether it be roads or rails or ports, this stimulus package shows the importance of infrastructure in the economy. In the short run we hope to create employment directly related to these projects, in the long run employment because of the economic activity that uses these infrastructures”- Sutjipto.

*On the state providing employment: “Do we need teachers to man the junior high schools to be constructed? Absolutely. Do we need that many seatbelt inspectors, though? I’m not so sure. We’ll take them on for now but hopefully the economy will improve and they will find better opportunities in the private sector. And maybe they can also create employment for themselves and others by becoming small businessmen”- Rachmat Witoelar.

*On the mood in the Cabinet when the President announced the stimulus package: “I think we were galvanized and inspired because of the President’s seriousness towards recovering Indonesia’s economy”- Wismoyo Arismunandar.

Reaction to the stimulus package is positive. The Rupiah bounced to Rp. 4,698 in response to the announcement of the stimulus. At Washington DC, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus said that while Indonesia has done is not strictly what the IMF would recommend to nations facing economic crisis, it has still managed to remain within the IMF's parameters by keeping a buffer against budget deficits and cut subsidies. "They are still ticking our boxes so we can't really complain", he said.

Indonesianist R. William Liddle comments that the government continues to enjoy the trust of the market and makes note of the fact that people tended to wait for what the government would announce next rather than rushing to the petrol station to get petrol before the price rise becomes effective.

The press corps are already dubbing the stimulus as the “Try Stimulus”.

Chairman of Muhammadiyah Amien Rais welcomes the stimulus package but said that it could have come earlier and without “the need to look for the IMF’s approval before moving ahead”.

6th May 1998:
BJ Habibie returns home from a close to two month trip overseas to Germany.

Chairman of the PDI Soerjadi said that he is not so sure that Sutjipto is up to the task of implementing the infrastructure portion of the President’s stimulus package. “Mr. Sutjipto has been wholly concerned with the defense of Megawati Soekarnoputri’s breakaway PDI in East Java over the past 5 years, one would be surprised if he has any clear opinion on where the nation’s infrastructure direction should be”, said Soerjadi.

7th May 1998:
The President today swore in the head of three important government agencies:

Head of the Investment Coordinating Agency (BKPM): Prof. Mari Elka Pangestu
. Pangestu will be making a historic step as the first head of a government agency of Chinese ethnicity. She is an economist who obtained her doctorate at the ANU.

Head of the National Family Planning Coordinating Agency (BKKBN): dr. Nafsiah Mboi. Mboi is a physician with an interest in HIV/AIDS prevention but is better known as the wife of former Governor of East Nusa Tenggara and military doctor Ben Mboi.

Head of the Logistics Affairs Agency (Bulog): Lt. Gen. (Ret.) I Gede Awet Sara. Sara is a close friend of Try’s. Both are Army Engineers and studied at the Army Engineering Academy together. He was Inspector General of ABRI when Try was Commander of ABRI. He was formerly Ambassador to Thailand (1994-1997).

9th May 1998:
The President and the First Lady today is heading to the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. The President is scheduled to depart to Egypt where he will be attending the G-15 Summit in Cairo.

On the way to the airport, Try and his wife Tuti shared the ride with Edi Sudrajat and Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas. He used the opportunity to catch up on various political issues.

Both Edi and Harsudiono concurred that Tutut will be gunning for the Chairwomanship of Golkar at the next Golkar National Congress. But both are ambivalent about the idea of backing Harmoko against Tutut.

“We all know that he ended up supporting you at the MPR Session because he detests the idea of Tutut and Habibie being president”, said Edi.

“But I suspect the reverse will be true as well at the Golkar Congress. You’ll probably end up supporting him because you don’t want to see Tutut becoming the Chairwoman of Golkar”, added Harsudiono.

“I don’t know if it’ll come to that”, said Try “But I’d like you two to come up with a short list of possible Chairman of Golkar candidates to be put up against Tutut.”

The President departed accompanied by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Trade Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, and Head of BKPM Mari Elka Pangestu.

The delegation was seen off by Vice President JB Sumarlin, Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Information and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasamita, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo.

Ok guys, I’m back after a hiatus and decided to post the things that hve been stuck in the pipeline.

The idea of the “Try Stimulus” had been germinating for quite a while. I lived in Australia during the GFC and was somewhat inspired by the Rudd Stimulus. I adjusted what was in the stimulus and how big the stimulus is to Indonesian conditions.

The roads and transportation projects I mentioned by name are from Presidential Decision 39/1997. This was a decision signed off by Soeharto in September 1997 which determines which government projects may go ahead, suspended, or put under review during the financial crisis. The link may be found below.

The presidential decision truly underlines how bad OTL Indonesia fared in the Asian Financial Crisis. It was only revoked in 2002 under Megawati Soekarnoputri and to this day, work is still being done to complete the list of projects on that list especially as regards the toll roads.

Obviously a busy time for Try as he works through economic recovery and the Golkar National Congress appearing on the horizon. This is not counting “other” matters that are going on that his subordinates are preparing to bring to him.
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The 98 financial crisis really screwed Indonesia didn't it?

At least Try is doing much better than Suharto. By this time IOTL, protests were already sprouting in major universities. Including Unitversitas Trisakti in Jakarta Barat.

At least Lesmana, Hertanto, Royan and Sie will live with no Tragedi Trisakti and Kerusuhan Mei 1998.
At least Lesmana, Hertanto, Royan and Sie will live with no Tragedi Trisakti and Kerusuhan Mei 1998.
They'll be hoping that the economy would have recovered by the time they graduate to be sure. But that's way better than the alternative...
20: Regarding Abductions
20: Regarding Abductions
9th-13th May 1998:

With his delegation, President Try Sutrisno touched down in Egypt on the night of the 9th. The 10th was spent in informal talks with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India.

The G15 Summit was opened on 11th May 1998 with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt as the Chairman of the Summit. When given the chance to address the summit in its opening session, Try said that the first priority in economic recovery should be the national interest. Once the national interest is determined, everything follows on naturally.

In between sessions, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas could only smile when they saw various leaders come up to Try to congratulate him and talk about how to manage an economic recovery. Try would play it down and say that “We’re not out of the woods yet” but couldn’t hide his smile. Even Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad of Malaysia said that Try was doing a great job even as he warned Try to be careful of the IMF.

The summit concluded on 13th May, with a joint communiqué between all the G15 Nations encouraging closer trade and investment between the member nations of the G15 and the Non-Aligned Movement more broadly.

Back in Indonesia, a trio of Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Commander of ABRI Wiranto, and Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo kept abreast on the national situation. Try had gone overseas as president before, but that was when everyone thought he would not last long. This time precautiosn were taken. Maj. Gen. Sugiarto Maksum, the former Try aide-de-camp turned Commander of West Java Regional Military Command stationed his troops close to the West Java-Central Java borders to watch if the Central Java Regional Military Command will try anything suspicious.

Perhaps to insist that the work the government continues even when he is overseas, Try gave Vice President Sumarlin some homework to do.

On 12th May just as the President got himself deep into the G15 Summit, Vice President Sumarlin accompanied by Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Governor of Bank Indonesia Boediono, and Head of IBRA Bambang Subianto fronted the press. The three announced that the government will be taking a set of measures related to the banking sector.

The first measure will be amendments to the Banking Law which are as follows.

*All banks will now be subject to the Limited Liability Law of 1995. Ie. They are now subject to corporate governance requirements (having a Board of Director, having to hold Annual General Shareholders Meeting etc.)
*Measures providing government takeover of banks which are in trouble and the authority of the government during its takeover of said banks.
*Punitive measures for bank management and owners who “willfully provide inaccurate information” to the government were also included in these amendments.

Boediono said that the government has no intention to take over banks. There has been no need to liquidate additional banks in addition to the 16 liquidated last November. This is in no small part to the government’s ability to halt the Rupiah’s decline.

The second measure will be external audits conducted on state and private banks.

The government will be inviting Price Waterhouse Coopers to conduct external audits on the nation’s state and private banks. The government will use the audits to ensure compliance to existing banking regulations particularly with regards to legal lending limits and the amount of loans given to affiliates and take the necessary action accordingly.

The third measure is in relation to the Bank of Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLBI).

The BLBI was rolled out in September 1997 under the instructions of President Soeharto. Up to that point the liquidity assistance which has been given has totaled nearly Rp. 70 trillion. The government will begin taking repayments for the BLBI starting 1st September 1998.

Sumarlin announced that the Banking Law amendments has been submitted to the DPR and that the external auditing will begin with state banks in June. For the rest of the banking sector, Sumarlin said that they shold use this time to “get their affairs in order.”

In between his sessions at Egypt, when asked by the Indonesian press about Sumarlin’s policy announcement, Try said that he “Wholeheartedly supports what the Vice President said.”

14th May 1998:
President Try’s final meeting in Egypt was with none other than President Hosni Mubarak. In between pledging closer ties between each other’s nations, the two bonded over the fact that they were vice presidents who succeeded to their present office because of their predecessor’s deaths.

After the meeting with Mubarak, the President would spend one final night in Cairo and fly first thing in the morning. While going through paperwork, Edi Sudrajat reported that the Minister of Defense and Security, the Commander of ABRI, the Army Chief of Staff, and the Commander of Kopassus would like an urgent meeting with the President. Try said that he will see them just as soon as he lands in Jakarta.

Having conveyed the request, Edi also advised that Try probably would like Harsudiono and Ari Sudewo to attend the meeting as well. Try agreed with the advice.

15th May 1998:
Wiranto rubbed at the goosebumps in his arm. Nearly 6 months prior, he had been in Halim Perdanakusuma Airport’s VIP Room in a similar meeting like he was attending now. It had been at that room and that meeting that Soeharto had slumped over in his chair and died without anyone being able to do anything about it.

The President was listening intently to Commander of Kopassus Luhut Panjaitan deliver the report.

Luhut recounted that he conducted unannounced visits to Kopassus units to get himself familiar with the red beret unit. On one of these visits, he was just about to leave when his entourage claimed hearing noises from a storage room. Luhut followed the noise despite the protests of the Kopassus soldiers and found a man all tied up and gagged. Luhut took the man into his custody. When he had recovered enough the man deliriously said “There are others!”

Luhut said that he kept the number of those involved in his internal investigation small. But overall he said that he had found 8 people in Kopassus custody with a further 8 are still missing. After cross-checking with Kopassus intelligence and with BAKIN assistance the following may be inferred:

*All 18 have been identified as activists in the NGO community and/or sympathizers of PPP and/or PDI.
*The first series of abductions were made in April-May 1997 during the 1997 Legislative Election campaigns and on the day of the election itself. The dates of the abduction are determined by determining the date of the last known sighting of the disappeared persons through intelligence.
*Most of the abductions were made in the January-March 1998 time period. All 8 of the surviving abductees were abducted as early as 2nd February 1998 and as late as 13th March 1998.

“In your discussions with the surviving abductees, did they gather any information at all about why they were taken into Kopassus custody?” asked Try looking very pale.

“The abductees overheard conversations about their abduction being about ensuring that the 1998 MPR Session was secure, Mr. President”, Luhut replied.

Try facepalmed. There was absolutely no inkling that such operations were going on as he was preparing for re-election.

“Well, now that we know the facts and now that I know the facts, we need to do something about these people”, Try said “I want you to release the 8 you have in your custody . Me knowing all this mean I don't have plausibility anymore.”

Edi glanced sideways at Harsudiono and Ari Sudewo.

“Yes Sir”, said Luhut.

“That leaves the 8 still missing”, said the President.

There was quiet in the room.

“Commander of ABRI and Army Chief of Staff” Try began “I order you to make the investigation of this missing 8 a Military Police operation. Second these Military Police offiers to Luhut. Let Luhut guide them around the Kopassus to investigate in a way that doesn’t attract unwanted attention.”

“Yes Sir!”, said Wiranto and Agum Gumelar jointly.

“The next order of business is who gave the orders for the abduction”, said Try.

“Logically speaking, Mr. President, that order would be from my predecessor as Commander of Kopassus”, said Luhut.

“Have you revoked the order?” asked Try.

“Begging your pardon, Mr. President”, Luhut said “But there are no orders to revoke. I checked Kopassus’ internal files and there were no written orders of that nature”

“Perhaps direct orders from a higher level?” ventured Harsudiono Hartas.

“Then you would have to check the archives of the Army Headquarters and ABRI Headquarters, Mr. President”, responded Edi Sudrajat.

“Permission to speak, Sir”, interjected Wiranto.

“Granted”, replied Try.

“The Army Chief of Staff, and myself have checked the files available to us, there were no orders, at least written ones, made by us or our predecessors regarding this matter”, explained Wiranto.

“Actually, Mr. President”, said Wismoyo Arismunandar “There is reason to believe that there were orders but that there were not written.”

“No speculations”, said the President sternly before turning to Wiranto and Agum Gumelar “We need to be sure. Have Feisal Tanjung and Hartono interviewed about their dealings with the Kopassus. I also need the State Secretariat to check its own archives as well in the event that I missed something coming across my desk.

“I’ll give all of you two weeks, but if you can get it earlier to me, even better”, said Try again before closing the meeting.

The officers and Wismoyo were then dismissed leaving Try to chat with his inner circle.

“How the hell did we miss this?” asked Try to Ari Sudewo.

“From my end, I can only say that this was an operation designed to be as top secret as top secret can be”, said Ari “The most I got was chatter about missing activists, their relatives looking for them, and these relatives being suspicious of the authorities.”

“Was this not actionable intelligence though?” asked Try.

“If there was some sort of operation, I would know, Mr. President, either from you then from other sources”, said Ari “In the absence of that, the plausible explanation left was that these activists were going underground and disappearing on purpose to avoid being arrested by authorities.”

Looking more haggard than usual, the President then attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a new junior high school building at Bekasi. The new building will be constructed as part of the stimulus package.

Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro thanked Try for the funding that was given, saying that it was difficult to get funding in the previous term.

17th May 1998:
BJ Habibie pays his respects to Soeharto at the latter’s tomb at Astana Giribangun. After that he departed for Semarang where he dined with Commander of the Central Java Military Command Prabowo Subianto.

After pleasantries, Prabowo commented that Habibie missed out on being president “but not by much”. Habibie admits that it was a painful defeat. Prabowo commented that Hartono had the right idea of wanting to bring over Tutut supporters to Habibie. But Tutut herself wavered and there were Tutut supporters who ended up voting for Try.

“Tell me, Mr. Habibie”, Prabowo began “Do you ever regret…

“I’ve been over this myself a hundred, a thousand times, Prabowo and I’ve concluded that it’s something I have to live with”, said Habibie before diverting the conversation to other issues.

Harmoko dined with the executives of Golkar’s East Java Provincial Branch. Harmoko said that Golkar has become strong in the last 5 years and mentions that it won 74% of the votes at the last election. At the same time, Harmoko argued, Golkar must chart a course for the future to be even stronger again.

18th May 1998:
Harmoko presides over the swearing in of Hartono of Golkar and Matori Abdul Djalil of PPP as DPR members; both members taking over the seats of Albert Hasibuan and Khofifah Indar Parawansa who became cabinet ministers.

At the Department of Transport, Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirdja gave a direct briefing to the first batch of “Seatbelt Inspectors”. Soerjadi Soedirdja said that the aim of this recruitment is to support the government make compulsory the wearing of seat belts. It is the seatbelt inspectors’ task to identify which vehicles do not have seat belts or, if the vehicles do have seat belts, if they are road worthy or not.

Edi Sudrajat reports to Try that after checking the State Secretariat’s files there were no orders made by Soeharto to Prabowo on the issue of “Securing” activists to safeguard the 1998 MPR Session; at least not written ones.

19th May 1998:
Early in the morning and before the hustle and bustle of Jakarta city life, Kopassus-owned vehicles drop off the 8 activist abductees in East Jakarta. Over bubur ayam (Chicken Porridge) they discussed their next step.

All agreed that what happened to them and the others still as yet to be found ought to be recorded for posterity. All agreed that the man to help them in that task would be human rights activist Munir Said Thalib.

The debate occurred about their intention to go public with the story. Pius Lustrilanang who prior to Soeharto’s death had welcomed the idea of alternative presidential candidates challenging Soeharto welcomed the idea of going public to the story as early as possible. He wants to start “throwing stones” at Try Sutrisno’s government because “Try is just an extension of Soeharto”.

“Try Sutrisno is part of the New Order, he’s even got his share of blood on his hands as well”, Nezar Patria countered “But he’s just let us go. I don’t think we would be seeing that sunrise behind us if it had been Soeharto still sitting in that chair. And if Luhut’s anything to go by, he’s conducting an investigation into what we went through. Maybe we should give him a chance first.”

A consensus was reached that they will eventually go public with an account of their abductions but that they will give the government a month to at the very least announce their preliminary findings.
OTL the G15 Summit in Egypt was why Soeharto was out of the country during the 1998 May Riots.

Regarding the kidnappings of activists, I used the data from this Wikipedia article–98_activists_kidnappings_in_Indonesia

OTL there are 22 activists kidnapped but I modified the number to suit this TL.

The 9 activists released OTL becomes 8 because one activist was kidnapped on 28th March 1998 which is impossible in this timeline because Luhut was Commander of Kopassus.

The 13 activists still missing in OTL becomes 8. Because 1 activist was kidnapped on 30th March 1998 and another 4 in May 1998 which is again impossible in this TL because Luhut was already Commander of Kopassus during those two occasions.
21: Team Rose
21: Team Rose
20th May 1998:

President Try Sutrisno today attended National Awakening Day commemorations at the National Awakening Museum in Jakarta where Budi Utomo, the nation’s first indigenous political organization, was formed 80 years ago.

With the nation’s top officials in attendance and television cameras on him, the President said that the nation may have awakened 80 years ago but in the present time, the nation is called to awaken again and again to face the challenge of economic recovery.

Away from the pomp and circumstance, Feisal Tanjung and Hartono visited ABRI Headquarters separately to answer summons and be interviewed about the conduct of the Kopassus from 1995-1998, though the purpose of the interview was was not mentioned.

Ari Sudewo conducted the interview. He was Hartono’s classmate at the National Military Academy and was the Assistant of Intelligence at ABRI Headquarters during the beginning of Feisal’s stint as Commander of ABRI.

As a precautionary measure, Wiranto was also interviewed by Ari Sudewo because he had been Army Chief of Staff when Prabowo as Commander of Kopassus.

21st May 1998:
Officially it is Ascension Day Holiday. But the President called for a meeting attended by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Commander of ABRI Wiranto, and Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo.

Ari Sudewo reported on his interviews with Feisal Tanjung, Hartono, and Wiranto from the previous day. Based on the interviews, all repeated that whatever dealings they had with the Kopassus during their time are all contained in the written orders in the archives. All also pointed to a consistent pattern of the Commander of Kopassus taking advantage of his status as President Soeharto’s son-in-law to bypass the chain of command and lobby for decisions that favored his agenda.

Wismoyo says that this proves that the orders could only have been verbal. Harsudiono added the question now was whether the order came from Prabowo or from Prabowo or from “the highest ranks”.

“I don’t think Prabowo would have dared to order anything to his subordinates if he did not receive prior orders, at very least an approval, from Soeharto”, Wismoyo said.

“I tend to think so too as well”, said Edi “There was no way Prabowo would move alone. And if the orders didn’t come from the Army Chief of Staff or the Commander of ABRI, it could only have come from the President”

“We can safely put Soeharto aside for now, he’s no longer with us”, intervened Ari “Maybe we should…

“Why not? He was the President, the Supreme Commander of ABRI, of course the blame lays with him”, said Harsudiono.

The meeting descended into a rowdy discussion about Soeharto’s failure to handle his son-in-law which then proceeded into Soeharto’s failure to handle his family. Try chuckled. It’s no wonder these officers ran afoul of Soeharto. Try looked at Wiranto shifting uncomfortably at the discussions. He was the youngest one in the room and probably not used to hearing Soeharto being discussed in that manner.

“The question now is can we prosecute the the one who’s left? Can we prosecute Prabowo?” asked Try to bring the discussion back to order before turning to Wiranto “Commander, how is the investigation going?”

Wiranto explained that the Military Police investigation is ongoing. At the moment they have narrowed down the perpretrating unit to Kopassus’ Group IV, in charge of covert operations. In the investigations, the key names that have come up are Colonel Chairawan, the Commander of Group IV and Major Bambang Kristiono, the Head of a 10-men team that has been identified as Team Rose. It is this Team Rose that has been conducting the abductions.

Sympathetic glances were thrown at Edi at the mention of Kopassus’ Group IV. As a lieutenant colonel, Edi Sudrajat had been Commander of Kopassus’ Group IV.

“What can be done to those who have been found as part of this operation?” asked Try.

Wiranto said that there were two options. The first was to take the officers in question to a Military Tribunal. Have the investigation by the Military Police culminate in a case, submit it to a Military Tribunal and try those involved.

“But the downside of this is that these trials will be broadcasted in front of camera”, continued Wiranto grimly “The public and the entire nation will see ABRI…will see us at our worst. The other option is…”

“Officers’ Honor Council (DKP)”, said Try and Edi simultaneously, leaving Wiranto to give a “You’ve said it” shrug.

Try and Edi’s mind flashed back nearly seven years to the Santa Cruz Incident in Dili, East Timor. ABRI troops had cracked down on an East Timor Independence protest at Santa Cruz Cemetery. Soeharto had ordered a DKP to be formed to investigate and interrogate the officers in charge. It would be a trial in front of colleagues for those ordered to front a DKP.

22nd May 1998:
President Try Sutrisno met today with Minister of Information and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita. The latter came to report what he has done in the past two months. The highlight of the meeting was Ginandjar’s intention to make 5 licenses available for the establishment of 5 new television networks. The President approved of this.

Try and Ginandjar then talked about other matters. Try asked Ginandjar what his friends in the business community thought about the stimulus and the banking law amendments and the related reforms.

On the stimulus, there is a consensus that it was the right thing to do. Only Jusuf Kalla felt that it was cautious but then again 99% of people are cautious by Kalla’s reckoning.

On the banking law amendments and related reforms, there is more caution. Bakrie expresses his doubt that the government will not give preferential treatment in the enforcement of the rules. Try only chuckled at this.

The conversation ended with Ginandjar noting that Tutut has been active recently going around to various provinces. Try smiled and said that it probably has something to do with the Golkar National Congress coming up. Ginandjar said if “needs be, I can take her on. If I have your support, I can take her on and win.”

Try thanked Ginandjar for the sentiments while noting the latter's desire to

The President also met with Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad. Rather than talk about budgets, the minister brought with him the CVs of candidates for the positions of Director General of Taxation and Director General of Customs and Excise.

The present Director General of Taxation is Fuad Bawazier who likes to ingratiate himself with the Soeharto family by giving them favorable tax treatments. The present Director General of Customs and Excise is Suhardjo, who is married to Soeharto’s youngest sister.

Try immediately saw the point of the exercise. After going through the CVs he approved of Dr. Darmin Nasution of the University of Indonesia as Director General of Taxation.

For the Director General of Customs and Excise’s position, Try was not satisfied with the available choices and chose to appoint someone with military background. Thus was Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soerjadi, a fellow former Soeharto aide-de-camp and Deputy Army Chief of Staff (1993-1995) appointed Director General of Customs and Excise.

24th May 1998:
There was a bright side to Soeharto’s death for Wismoyo. His status with the Soeharto family progressed from “deep freeze” to “worthy of small talk”. On this particular gathering, he and his wife, a sister of Hartinah Soeharto, had been invited to lunch with Tutut

All of a sudden, Tutut told Wismoyo that she met with Hartono two days ago. Hartono said that he was invited to an interview with the Chief of BAKIN to discuss about how he dealt with the Kopassus when he was the Army Chief of Staff.

Wismoyo told Tutut not worry. It was just some information gathering for internal government consumption.

25th May 1998:
In a press conference this morning, Minister of Employment and Small Business Oetojo Oesman, Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro, and Minister of Female Empowerment, Youth, and Sports Khofifah Indar Parawansa elaborated on the encouraging entrepreneurialism aspect of the stimulus.

Oetojo announced that the business crash course will comprise of such things as business development, financing, marketing and operations. It will be conducted intensively in late afternoons over 3 weeks. Registration is on a first come first serve basis and it is free.

Wardiman added that the courses will be held in late afternoons because the venue will be existing educational facilities.

Khofifah encouraged women and young people to take part in the program. Create employment rather than wait for it, urged Khofifah.

The President watched the press conference with Sugeng Subroto. The Secretary of Development Operation Control was in the midst of reporting to the President about the progress of the stimulus. Sugeng Subroto reported to Try that the junior high school buildings and the defence housing were beginning to be constructed. The major roads and railway infrastructure projects are still speeding through preparations.

Try also uses the opportunity to tell Sugeng about the abduction of the activists and what is being done about it because Sugeng was the only member of his inner circle who does not yet know about what was happening. Sugeng was gobsmacked at the information.

26th May 1998:
The President chaired an economics meeting attended by Vice President JB Sumarlin, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Governor of Bank Indonesia Boediono, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman.

The following were concluded:
*The Rupiah has strengthened after the stimulus on the increased demand for Indonesian construction material. Investors are also finding it cheaper to invest and open a business in Indonesia and are diverting their capital Indonesia’s way. It was Rp. 4,698 to the dollar on 4th May, now it is on Rp. 4,655 to the dollar. With the improved exchange rates, businesses can at least begin to import their raw materials and/or pay back their debts in dollars.

*There are two important economic-related meetings in the coming weeks and months. A private debt rescheduling and restructuring meeting in Germany is scheduled in June. There will also be a Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) meeting in July. In addition, the IMF will also disburse $3 billion to Indonesia in June.

*Sumarlin and Soedradjad said to encourage further economic recovery, additional stimulus may be required because the original stimulus was put in place with budgetary constraints in mind. At the same time, to continue restoring and/or maintain market confidence, the government ought to formulate dregulatory policies.

27th May 1998:
President Try, accompanied by Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, today opened a Work Meeting attended by all 27 of the nation’s governors. Try focused on the economic stimulus. He encouraged all governors to augment the Central Government’s stimulus packages with their own stimulus package. He also calls open the governors to provide a “conducive” economic and investment climate in their provinces.

The real meeting occurred after the work meeting finished for the day. Try and Harsudiono met with Governor of Aceh Syamsuddin Mahmud, Governor of Riau Soeripto, Governor of East Kalimantan Awang Faroe Ishak, and Governor of Irian Jaya Jacob Pattipi. Try had owed his re-election partly to the support of the governors of these resource-rich provinces so he could guest what they wanted to talk about.

The 4 governors reiterated their wish that their provinces should gain more of the share of the revenues from their natural resources. They said that so these provinces can develop more and play their part in the nation’s economic development.

The President said that in principle he is in favour of more economic autonomy and part of that means giving them more of a share in holding the revenues they earn. However, he asked what of the other provinces which are not as gifted natural resources-wise. Try said that any solution will have to take account all the provinces not just the natural resources rich ones but said that he has and will take their point into account.

28th May 1998:
President Try met with Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo. Siswono said that various industrial sectors are improving. Imports of raw materials are more for maintenance rather than for expansive purposes eg. Bus and urban transport operators importing spare parts to replace ageing spare parts. Industry is also more confident to import because the exchange rate has stabilized around 4,600-4,700 mark.

The IPTN and its future was also discussed. Try acknowledges that it is a drag on the budget but says that for the nation to fly its own aircrafts was an achievement with all sorts of emotional implications. The President also said that it would “not be good form” if he ordered a downsizing and leave 15,000 employees, some of them the nation’s aeronautical engineers, unemployed. Nevertheless, Try asked Siswono if there are any options available.

29th May 1998:
Try had a luncheon with State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman and the officials and staff at the State Secretariat today. There was a bit of a festive atmosphere, because it has been 6 months since Try became president.

During the luncheon, Assistant State Secretary for Communications and Mass Media Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Nurhadi Purwosaputro made the suggestion that Try should make a pilgrimage to Soekarno’s and Soeharto’s tombs on their respective birthdays (6th and 8th June). It will make for good publicity to have the 3rd President pay his respects to his two predecessors.

It was a universally popular idea and Try approved of it.

30th May 1998:
Ari Sudewo interrupted Try’s Saturday morning. The Chief of BAKIN reports that the released abductees have gone to Munir to give their accounts about their abductions and release. From BAKIN informants, Ari reported of dissension in their ranks about whether or not to go public or wait for the government.

Meanwhile, Prabowo and his wife Titiek Soeharto arrived in Jakarta from Semarang. Titiek just bought a house in Jakarta and had some legal things to attend to. Meanwhile, Prabowo ran into Hartono at Plaza Indonesia. After some pleasantries, Hartono said that 10 days ago he was being interviewed by Ari Sudewo about his dealings with the Kopassus as Army Chief of Staff. Hartono said that the only notable dealing was the expansion of the Kopassus but that was all.

In a café at Grand Hyatt Hotel, Prabowo met his old friend Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin. The latter had been removed from his position as Commander of the Jakarta Military Command and had been posted in ABRI Headquarters in the socio-political section. Prabowo complained that there is a large drop in quality between Kopassus soldiers and the soldiers he now commands at the Central Java Military Command.

The two were joined by Deputy Commander of Kopassus Idris Gassing. Idris tells Prabowo that something is happening in the Kopassus and proceeds to tell about his suspicions that Luhut is conducting some kind of an investigation; how in the last two weeks or so, he had bumped into Military Police personnel coming out of Luhut’s office.

When the meeting with his friends was over, Prabowo got into his jeep to pick up Titiek. Prabowo’s mind, not to mention his heart, was racing as he came to three conclusions: First, that his successor as Commander of Kopassus was digging around into his affairs; Second, that ABRI and Army Headquarters are aware of this and are either providing assistance or have taken over investigations; Third, that he’s got a good idea about what is being investigated into.

Lots of things going on. The consequence of adopting a day-by-day approach. We've got the economic recovery from the crisis, the beginnings of this TL's central government/regional government relations, and of course the abduction of the activists.

Regarding the abduction and the investigations into it, the TL is not that far off from the OTL. It is just the case that the personalities involved are different. In OTL, Wiranto was the dominant person investigating the abductions, I don't think Habibie really asserted himself in this issue. In this TL, Wiranto is the most junior person in the room involved in the investigation and the most cautious one.
22: Paying Respects To Predecessors
22: Paying Respects to Predecessors
1st June 1998:

President Try Sutrisno met with Minister of Social Affairs Meutia Hatta and Minister of Population, Transmigration, and Rural Development Hendropriyono this morning. Meutia reports that the Department of Social Affairs have been setting up camps for the unemployed and homeless on unused Department of Social Affairs buildings or land across the nation. She reports that most of those that have become unemployed as a result of the economic crisis are urban because she has not had to set up such facilities in more rural areas.

On the other hand, rural employment is improving because the agriculture sector is moving again, reports Hendropiyono. The two ministers proposed of a plan to transport the unemployed who wish to do so from the cities back to their home villages for free because most of these unemployed lack the means. The President approves of the two ministers’ plan.

Over afternoon tea, Try met with State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Commander of ABRI Wiranto. Wiranto came to say that he’s uncomfortable with Try going to visit Soeharto’s tomb because that would mean the President would go into “Prabowo territory”. Try said that it would not be a good look to visit Soekarno’s tomb but not Soeharto’s. Wiranto asked Try if he could cancel the whole trip. Try said that’s out of the question.

Edi told the Commander of ABRI that the trip is off high political value to the President but asked what could be done to allay his fears. Wiranto suggested to bring more bodyguard personnel and ensure that the Presidential Bodyguards is in full charge of security throughout the trip without any intervention from the Central Java Command. Try agreed with the plan.

2nd June 1998:
The President breakfasted with Chairman of the DPR Harmoko. Harmoko told Try that the anti-monopoly bill is nearly done and that discussions will begin soon on the amendments to the banking law.

The President and the Chairman also agreed to make permanent Police Gen. (Ret.) Kunarto’s appointment as Chairman of the BPK. Kunarto had been holding the appointment on a provisional basis after Sumarlin hit retirement age the previous December.

The two were more interested to talk about Golkar matters. Harmoko said that he’s been talking to the East Javanese and North Sumatran provincial branches. He said that the two branches are willing to support Harmoko’s re-election to chairman if they could assure that the President is behind him. Try said that he would like to explore his options.

Try said that Ginandjar Kartasasmita has all but expressed his interest in the Chairman of Golkar’s position. Harmoko said if that’s the case it will be a tight race and the President’s support will be crucial. Try repeated his sentiments that he would like to explore his options.

3rd June 1998:
President Try Sutrisno today swore in the following officials in charge of various agencies of government. This follows on the swearing in of the Heads of the BKPM, BKKBN, and Bulog and the Chairman of the BP-7 the previous month.

*Chief of the State Signals Institute (Lemsaneg): Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Santo Budiono
*Head of the National Archives (ANRI): Maftuh Basyuni
*Head of the Audit and Development Agency (BPKP): Drs. Soedarjono
*Head of the National Survey and Mapping Agency (Bakorsutanal): R. Adm. (Ret.) Sri Waskito
*Head of the National Land Agency (BPN): Bambang Kesowo SH., Llm.
*Head of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS): Dr. Gunawan Sumodiningrat
*Head of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BKG): Air Marshal (Ret.) Isbandi Gondosuwignyo
*Head of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas): Lt. Gen. (Mar) Suharto
*Head of the Technological Study and Application Agency (BPPT): Ir. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto
*Head of the National Science Institute (LIPI): Prof. Dr. Taufik Abdullah
*Chairman of the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI): Maj. Gen. (Ret.) IGK Manila

State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman fronted the press at the end of the ceremonies. Edi Sudrajat explained that much as the government departments, the government agencies have undergone reorganization. Agencies have been streamlined by being absorbed to ministries or they have been disbanded, had their portfolio of responsibilities distributed among other departments and/or agencies, or have been formally placed as agencies subordinate to departments.

Furthermore, these agencies, while still being answerable directly to the President will be coordinated individually on a day-to-day basis by a relevant government department.

4th June 1998:
At mid-morning, President Try Sutrisno received a phone call from Wiranto. Wiranto said that the Commander of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command Major General Zacky Anwar Makarim, has been involved in a helicopter crash whilst going on an inspection tour in rural East Timor. The Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command has jurisdiction over Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, and East Timor.

At lunchtime, Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar announced that Makarim along with 11 others in his entourage, most notably the Commander of Dili, have died in the aforementioned helicopter accident.

5th June 1998:
This morning, the President and the First Lady paid their final respects to the deceased Zacky Anwar Makarim at his residence in Jakarta; the body of the deceased commander along with those who were involved in the helicopter accident having been brought to Jakarta overnight.

Try met with Wiranto and Agum Gumelar at the Palace. He ordered that a command shuffle be prepared to fill in the vacant commander’s position. In the mean time, the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command will be in the provisional command of Brig. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri while provisional command of Dili will be in the hands of Col. Johannes Suryo Prabowo.

The President ended the day flying from Jakarta to Surabaya for his pilgrimages to the tomb of his two predecessors. On the plane, he was deep in discussion with Edi Sudrajat and Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas.

Harsudiono reported on the results of the gubernatorial elections thus far.
*Lt. Gen. Muzani Syukur has been elected Governor of West Java
*Prof. Dr. Syamsuddin Mahmud has been re-elected Governor of Aceh
*Jacob Patippi has been re-elected Governor of Irian Jaya
*Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Herman Musakabe has been re-elected Governor of East Nusa Tenggara
*Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Syamsir Siregar has been elected Governor of North Sumatra
*Awang Faroe Ishak has been elected Governor of East Kalimantan to fill the vacancy left behind by Ardans.

“All these governors are good. I can live with them”, said Try.

“Your enemies and opponents were still dazed after their defeat the MPR Session to try to stop their elections", Harsudiono responded "But they’re waking up now and one way they are going to start waking up is by having their candidates emerge as governors.”

Central Java, West Sumatra, and East Timor are in less than friendly hands. South Sulawesi and Lampung were the last provinces where the governors were approved by Soeharto and would not be up for grabs until late 2002-early 2003.

Harsudiono advised Try that in the next few months, the big elections will be the the Central Java and East Java Gubernatorials and that good candidates ought to be found for these contests.

6th June 1998:
Try, Edi, and Harsudiono breakfasted with Governor of East Java Basofi Sudirman. Try apologized to Basofi for appointing a PDI minister in his cabinet after all the time Basofi spent putting a check on Megawati’s PDI. Basofi said that circumstances has changed and pledged his loyalty to Try’s government and its policies.

Try told Basofi that the latter’s term as Governor of East Java will be finishing soon and asked how does Basofi see the future. Basofi said that he is interested in a second term as Governor of East Java. The President said he will take it under consideration.

From Surabaya, Try and his entourage headed for the town of Blitar. There, he was welcomed by the children of Soekarno and Fatmawati as well as their families. With cameras trained on him and locals looking on, the President paid his respects to Soekarno at his tomb. Try got tingles down his spine thinking about Soekarno. He never thought he would occupy the same position as Soekarno.

After paying his respects, the President accompanied by the Minister of Home Affairs and the State Secretary sat down with Megawati Soekarnoputri and her husband Taufiq Kiemas. After some small talk, Megawati said that she has been locked out of the political system for two years and would like to the opportunity to represent the masses again. She also asked if it would be possible to create a new political party.

Try replied that he welcomes it if Megawati would like to participate in politics again and said that he would make sure Megawati is not harassed by the authorities. Harsudiono added that the government does not have any plans of allowing new political parties to be formed and said that Megawati’s best bet is to channel her aspirations through the PDI.

After Blitar, Try returned to Surabaya and spent the rest of the day there.

7th June 1998:
In the morning, the President and his entourage travelled by train to Yogyakarta. The President spent the day touring the markets at Yogyakarta and met with Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and Prince Paku Alam VIII.

After dinner Chairman of the Central Java DPRD/Chairman of the Central Java Golkar Branch Alip Pandoyo came to visit. Try asked him what was the situation in the Central Java branch of Golkar was like. Alip said that some heavy lobbying going on in the branch ahead of both the Golkar National Congess and the Central Java Gubernatorial Elections but especially the latter. Alip reported that a lot of time, and money, being spent with and on Central Java DPRD members. He believes that Soewardi is being backed by Tutut and gearing up for re-election.

Try asked Alip if he would be interested in nominating for the Governor of Central Java’s position. Alip said that his efforts would be better directed guiding the branch rather than on nominating.

8th June 1998:
Try arrived at Astana Giribangun Mausoleum in Karanganyar and could not help but notice that he had a large entourage. In addition to the First Lady, Edi Sudrajat, and Harsudiono Hartas, there were also Military Secretary Mardiyanto and Commander of Presidential Bodyguard Endriartono Sutarto. It was a testament to their work that now, the mausoleum was teeming with Presidential Bodyguard rather than Central Java Regional Military Command. Mardiyanto told Try that the Commander of the Central Java Regional Military Command wanted to provide security but Endriartono stood up to Prabowo and said that he “insists” on providing security for the President.

The President was met at the Mausoleum’s gates by Governor of Central Java Soewardi and Commander of the Central Java Regional Military Command Prabowo Subianto. Try shook hands with Soewardi. Soewardi was a fellow retired Army officer who as Governor of Central Java had ingratiated himself to Soeharto by having his province painted yellow to show his support to Golkar. Another strike against Soewardi was the fact that he supported Tutut at the 1998 MPR Session.

The handshake with Prabowo was tense. Both Try and Prabowo were trying to figure out what the other knew through their eyes.

At the mausoleum itself the entire Soeharto family was there. The cameras focused their attention and snapped when Try shook hands with Tutut.

Inside the mausoleum, Try paid his respects to Soeharto at the latter’s tomb. He couldn’t help but think how complicated his relationship with Soeharto had become over the years. He had become Army Chief of Staff and Commander of ABRI on the back of Soeharto’s favor but Soeharto became suspicious because he began to see Try as being too close to Benny Murdani’s orbit. Soeharto had accepted him as Vice President only begrudgingly because he had been imposed on him.

Try had a one-on-one meeting with Tutut to talk about “Golkar matters”. Tutut said that she has been travelling to various provincial branches. She claims that they want her to run for the Chairwomanship at the next Golkar National Congress. Try asked Tutut what does she think about the prospect of her running for the chairwomanship. Tutut said she would only be sure what her step is if she knew where the President stood. Try went to his usual refrain of wanting to “explore his options”.

Upon arrival back at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Wiranto was already waiting. Try, accompanied by Edi, met briefly with Wiranto. At the end of the short meeting, Try concluded that “It’s time."

9th June 1998:
The President began the day by chairing a cabinet meeting attended by Vice President JB Sumarlin, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Legal Affairs Albert Hasibuan, Minister of Information Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Commander of ABRI Wiranto, and Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo.

To the shock and surprise of those who had been kept out of the loop, Try began to outline the information about the abductions and the investigations that had gone into it before inviting Wiranto to report on the latest update.

Wiranto reported that based on the Military Police investigations, Major Bambang Kristiono has admitted to being the Commander of Team Rose. That he had formed the team and picked the personnel in it. Kristiono also has admitted that throughout the course of the abductions he had kept his immediate superior Colonel Chairawan abreast of the matter. Chairawan will be summoned by the Military Police in the next few days.

The Military Police investigations have also begun questioning members of Team Rose. Though not all members have been interviewed, the 8 activists that are still missing are dead. Team Rose members have proven resistant to question about particulars such as how the activists were killed or where they were buried but the members investigated thus far has said the activists are dead.

The President announced the following steps to be taken:
*Formation of an Officers Honor Council (DKP) to put Team Rose, Kristiono, Chairawan and “any others involved” on trial. This matter and what to do with the officers will be handled internally by ABRI and will not be subject for public consumption. This will be the Commander of ABRI’s task.

*Conduct a review of ABRI’s Orders system. Review existing processes and protocols on the way orders are given. This will be the Minister of Defense and Security’s task.

*Announce all the confirmed information relating to the abductions to the public as well as the steps the government will take.

Later on, Try watched Wismoyo and Wiranto conduct the press conference on the television in his room accompanied by Edi Sudrajat and Ari Sudewo. He didn’t envy the two officers. The foreigners in the press corps predictably asked the hard questions while the way some in the Indonesian press corps reacted to the news indicated that they were expecting this.

“Is it right that this is announced like this?” Try asked.

“Better they hear it from us than from some NGO with an agenda against the government”, Ari replied “The intel I’ve got is that this is pretty much an open secret in the activists community.”

In 2005, OTL Wiranto let slip in an informal conversation with a member of the National Commission of Human Rights that the missing abductees are dead. However since that time, he has denied ever saying such things.
23: Unrest At An Outpost
23: Unrest at an Outpost
10th June 1998:

In events handled by members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ali Alatas were beginning to be asked questions by ambassadors and consuls generals about the announcement that was made yesterday. With a smile, he tried to ensure them that this was “an internal matter”.

Minister of Information and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita gathered the editors of the nation’s major newspapers. He does the same thing that some of his predecessors had done by warning them to keep their coverage of yesterday’s news “proportional”.

In a separate press conference attended by members of the activist community, Munir Said Thalib calls for justice for the families of those whose members had been kidnapped and killed. He also expresses his disappointment at the President’s decision of forming a DKP rather than take the officers to a Military Tribunal.

12th June 1998:
In a meeting with Vice President Sumarlin and Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedrajad Djiwandono, President Try ordered them to work together with the other ministers to create a new deregulation package.

It was 7 PM. Try was completing his final paperwork for the week when Presidential Secretary Soedjoko buzzed and said that the Commander of ABRI, the 3 Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of Police are here to see him on an urgent matter.

“Give me a second”, said Try suddenly thinking that he would not finish early this Friday. Soedjoko buzzed in again.

“The Chief of BAKIN is here as well, they say they are all here for the same reason”, said Soedjoko.

Try invited his guests in. In came Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar, Navy Chief of Staff Suratmin, Air Force Chief of Staff Djatmiko, and Chief of Police Luthfi Dahlan. Alongside them was Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat.

The only thing more surreal than being told than activists had been abducted, was being told that there was a riot going on at Dili that very second. Try turned on the television and saw news broadcasts beginning to report what was being told. Edi asked Try to hear what was going on. Wiranto presented Try with the facts.

*At around mid-afternoon local time, a large pro-Independence gathered in the center of Dili and was headed towards Governor Abilio Soares’ offices to demonstrate. They chanted “Viva Timor Leste!” After no response from the Governor, the crowd was successfully dispersed by the Dili Police.

*After dispersing, the pro-Independence crowd encountered a pro-Indonesian crowd. The latter chanted “Hidup Republik Indonesia!”. After a battle of chants, things turned violent after both groups, it’s not clear whom, began to throw rocks and trash at each other.

*A chaotic brawl erupted. Dili Police dispersed the crowd again this time with some trouble. To the horror of the authorities, some of the mob began to wreak havoc on buildings, cars, and public properties as well as beginning to loot and burned. This time Dili Police became overwhelmed.

*Right now it is night in Dili. The public is generally staying indoors but the Dili commercial area is all but in ruins. Opportunists now are looting shops.

*Intelligence has suggested that the Falintil is not behind this.

Edi asked the officers where the Dili Military Command was. Luthfi said the Dili Police requested for assistance but the Dili Military Command Headquarters is void of its officers who has gone on a team-bonding outing for the day. They radioed other units stationed in East Timor but said that all orders should be sent via the Dili command. Try arched his eyebrow skeptically at this.

Agum said the Acting Commander of the Nusa Tenggara Military Command Kiki Syahnakri has been told of this matter but the problem is that he is headquartered in Denpasar, Bali and would have to “island-hop” to East Timor.

Just then a phone call came in for the President, it was Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas who had just gotten up to speed with what was happening in Dili at his department. Try asked him if he had gotten in contact Governor Abilio Soares but Harsudiono said he had not. Try told Harsudiono to keep trying and hung up.

He turned to ABRI’s top brass. He said that there is a breakdown in security and order in East Timor, specifically in Dili; the Dili Military Command is non-responsive and the central government needs to take action. He therefore orders the following:

*Put all units in the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command, the Northern Sumatra Regional Military Command where Aceh is located, and the Irian Jaya Regional Military Command on alert.

*All Dili Police to be put on alert and to guard important Dili landmarks. Try also ordered the houses of former Governor Mario Carrascalao and Bishop Carlos Belo of the Dili Dioecese to be given security. Of the latter he said “Let’s not lose a Nobel Laureate, shall we?”

*Order the ABRI top brass to prepare contingency scenarios to restore order and report back to him within 3 hours.

The meeting broke at 9.30 PM. Now left in the room with his two friends, Try facepalmed.

“Suspicious isn’t it?” Try asked “We officially announce that we’re going to take action against the officers involved in the abductions and three days later this happens. And what are the odds that the Dili Military Command is on a day out to rural East Timor on this day?”

“You sound like Wiranto, Mr. President”, Edi said.

“How else would you explain it?” asked Try.

“But that helicopter crash last week” Edi replied “That crash took out the Commander of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command, his intelligence and operations assistant, as well as the Commander of the Dili Military Command and we’re still without replacements, it’s the perfect time to make mischief there.”

“That’s how the demonstrations began”, Ari butted in “People in the pro-independence movement that increasingly look like they are planted there said that this is the best time to demonstrate and make their voices heard.”

“What about the violence? How did it start?” asked Edi.

“Unclear. Someone somewhere decided to throw rocks, whether from the pro-Independence or the pro-integration crowd, it’s unclear”, said Ari.

“Then there’s the Acting Commander of the Dili Military Command” said Try.

“Col. Johannes Suryo Prabowo, ABRI Academy Class of 1976”, replied Ari while reading from a file in his lap “No family relation to the Prabowo we all know but definitely a supporter of him.”

In the intervening hours, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas came requesting for a meeting. He said that the international community most notably President Bill Clinton from the United States and Prime Minister John Howard from Australia are beginning to ask about what is occurring in Dili.

Try had Alatas draft a statement saying that East Timor is part of Indonesia and that thus, this is an internal affair; that all efforts are being expended to explore what is happening; and that this does not stop the government’s commitment to create a stable environment for economic recovery.

By phone, Try spoke to Minister of Information and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita. Try asked are the television networks and the radio stations handling this. Ginandjar said that they are beginning to pick up on the news but are waiting for the TVRI and the RRI’s lead. The TVRI and the RRI are pretty much occupied broadcasting the World Cup to the football-mad populace so Try has until the wee hours in the morning before the nation is ready to pay attention to him.

As Try waited for the ABRI top brass, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar as well as Harsudiono joined him.

13th June 1998:
At 12.30 AM, 3 hours after the end of the previous meeting meeting, Wiranto and ABRI’s top brass returned this time also accompanied by V. Adm Widodo AS the ABRI Chief of General Staff and Lt. Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the ABRI Chief of Socio-Political Affairs Staff. The officers presented contingency plans to the President.

Try approved of a joint land, sea, and air operation to be led by Lt. Gen. Johnny Lumintang the Commander of Kostrad and with Kostrad contributing most of the troops. The Navy’s Eastern Fleet will provide the transport for the troops across islands. The Air Force will put its Second Operation Command on standby.

During the discussion, Ari Sudewo was called out of the meeting for a few moments. He returned with a piece of paper in his hand.

“My agents on the ground just told me Soares has asked the Integration Enforcer Youth Guard (Garda Paksi) to help “protect Dili from the secessionists”” reported Ari Sudewo.

Everybody flinched at that; Garda Paksi is a pro-Indonesian militia with links to the Kopassus and more specifically, with Prabowo Subianto.

“Then you have to work that into your plan, officers”, Try told the officers gathered in front of him “You have to restore order AND drive Garda Paksi out of Dili dead or alive.”

With that Try dismissed ABRI’s top brass as well as Harsudiono, Ari Sudewo, and Wismoyo. He worked on an official statement with Edi.

It was while he worked on this statement that RCTI broadcasted a news bulletin containing an audio recording of Soares calling on Garda Paksi to restore order in Dili on the basis of a “lack of response from the Central Government.” A phone call came in from Ginandjar saying that he had ordered RCTI’s news producer to not broadcast the news until the TVRI and the RRI has done so.

It was 3 AM when Try accompanied by Edi fronted a sleep-deprived press corp to issue an official statement. Try began by saying that he would like to issue an official statement in light of the events that have occurred in Dili. Among the highlights of the statement are the following.

“I very much regret the issue on which the demonstrators have chosen to protest on. East Timor is part of Indonesia, that question was settled 22 years ago and Indonesia remains committed to East Timor as its 27th Province…

That said, I regret even more the way the authorities at Dili have failed to handle the situation on this day. They have been inconveniently incommunicado throughout the hours in which these events have occurred. The initiatives which they have taken have put the government in an unfavorable position and threatens to damage, rather than improve, the government’s position in the Province of East Timor…

I am now ordering the Provincial Government of East Timor to stand down and allow the Central Government to take over the task of restoring order in Dili. Whatever steps or arrangements they have come into in their effort to restore order in Dili have failed and it must cease…

The Provincial Government of East Timor has 24 hours to stand down. Otherwise the Central Government, backed by ABRI, will take over the task of restoring order by force…”

After not taking questions from the press corps, Try attempted a few hours sleep and a restless one at that. In the mean time, ABRI prepared for what Wiranto had dubbed “Operasi Tegas”. The units involved, from Army, Navy, and Air Force began taking up forward position. Air Force aircrafts flew over Dili dropping leaflets telling its inhabitants to stay indoors.

During the morning at 8 AM Jakarta time, 10 AM Dili Time, Johannes Suryo Prabowo finally emerged to make his appearance. The Acting Dili Military Commander claimed that he took the military command’s top brass on a trip around rural East Timor to cheer them up after the death of their commander the previous week. Suryo Prabowo said that he wholeheartedly supports the decision that Governor Abilio Soares had taken and that Garda Paksi has been loyal to the Indonesian cause.

All of the Indonesian TV Channels covered the events in Dili in their news bulletins though all made sure not to stray from reporting guidelines laid down by the Department of Information and Telecommunications.

Sintong, an associate of Habibie who happened to be a former commander of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command (1988-1992), was interviewed by Indosiar to discuss about what was happening in Dili. When asked if something like this would hae happened if he was commander, Sintong had this to say:

“Actually, this is the kind of thing that I, and especially Brig. Gen. Warouw at the time was trying to crack down on in East Timor. We made some progress cracking down on militias and gangs, that sort of thing. But then Santa Cruz happened in 1991, both Warouw and I were on our way out, and things got worse from there.”

“Who made it worse, Mr. Sintong? Who made the situation worse with regards to militias and gangs in East Timor?” pressed the newsreader.

“It’s unethical for me to point people out on national TV, but I’m certain that President Try and the nation’s top decisionmakers would know.”

In another part of Jakarta, the press corps tried to get comments from ABRI officers making their way into the ABRI Headquarters. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin responded to the microphones pointed his way.

“I think that we should have been fast in finding a new Commander of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command and a new military commander at Dili. We were not proactive, we were slow, and here we are reacting to events rather than shaping them”, said Sjafrie.

Wiranto and the other members of the ABRI top brass took over a meeting room in the State Secretariat to keep track of developments.

The situation began to take a turn for the worst around midday when news began to trickle in that Garda Paksi units have clashed with Dili Police when they have learned that the latter had been stationed to protect Mario Carrascalao’s house. Without the military units’ cooperation and protection, the police was overwhelmed. At 1.30 PM local time Lt. Col. (Pol) Beno Kilapong, taking initiative from the situation on the ground, ordered Dili Police to evacuate Mario Carrascalao and Bishop Belo, the former bringing along his famly, and retreat out of the city.

It was Dili Police’s retreat in the face of Garda Paksi and intelligence that Garda Paksi was planning a “Sweeping” pro-independence protesters that made impossible to delay immediate action. 10.5 hours into the 24 hour deadline he gave, Try ordered Operation Resolute to go ahead. Wiranto passed the order on to Lumintang.

A two pronged attack got under way. One prong attacked Dili from the West and was led by Kiki Syahnakri who brought with him two battalions and the Kopassus’ Group 1. The other prong used Makassar as a launchpad to attack Dili from the air through parachute drops by Col. Suroyo Gino and the 17th Airborne Brigade and the sea through the Marine Corps’ amphibious landing.

In the midst of what was becoming a murderous sweeping campaign, the Garda Paksi was caught off-guard by ABRI’s Operation Tegas. Garda Paksi’s disorganization became evident with some members beginning to loot and burn, some continuing their sweeping campaign, and some trying to put up a fight but being easily mowed down by ABRI forces.

Dili Military Command units flew white flags at the sight of Kostrad and Kopassus men flooding into the city though some of their number, fearing repercussions if they allowed themselves to be captured, deserted along with the Garda Paksi members.

At 7 PM Jakarta time, 9 PM Dili Time, Try was told by his aide-de-camp Budiman that Wiranto would like to see him. Try met Wiranto where the Commander of ABRI told him that Dili has been secured by Operation Resolute Forces. The President was relieved. Wiranto then added that he awaits further orders, to which Try responded the following:

*Continue to consolidate security within Dili and its immediate surrounds.
*All those who have surrendered whether from the Dili Military Command or from Garda Paksi must be treated humanely.
*All ABRI members who have deserted are to be dishonorably discharged.
*All Garda Paksi members are to be caught dead or alive.
*Prepare a military shuffle to fill the vacant Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command as well as remove Prabowo supporters from key positions.

“Yes, Mr. President”, said Wiranto.

“One more thing”, said Try.

“Yes, Sir”, said Wiranto ready to take his orders.

“I know managing affairs in Dili will distract your attention”, began Try “But I would like you to continue investigations of the officers involved abductions of the activists.”

The helicopter crash that blew a hole in the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command is based on OTL events. Only the Commander that died is different. This is an article about the crash (in Bahasa)

I thought that given the situation in this timeline and the fact that the crash took out some of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Command’s top officers, that there will be those who might want to take advantage of the situation.
24: “You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit!”
24: "You Can't Fire Me, I Quit!"
15th June 1998:

President Try met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas in the morning. Alatas reports that the restoration of order in Dili was welcomed with relief in the international community. They also note positively that the government has secured Bishop Belo and Mario Carrascalao. At the same time, Alatas reports, the international community is not sure how to wrap their heads around the idea that the Government of Indonesia has just cracked down on pro-Indonesian militias.

The President met with Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono who will be leaving for Frankfurt to meet with creditors to obtain private debt rescheduling. Try said that the goal is not to obtain debt relief but to allow Indonesia’s private companies to be able to observe their obligations without it damaging the Indonesian economy.

16th June 1998:
Governor of East Timor Abilio Soares was captured today on the outskirts of Dili. He had escaped Dili as the city was taken during Operation Resolute.

President Try met with Minister of Tourism and Culture Soeyono as well as Head of BKPM Mari Elka Pangestu. Soeyono reported of his intention to delegate some of the licensing for hotels and tourism-related businesses to the BKPM, especially as regards to foreign investment. Try approved of this. He added that it had become cheaper to invest in the tourism industry and other industries more broadly since the financial crisis. He hoped that other ministers would do the same and delegate some of their licensing to the BKPM.

17th June 1998:
In Frankfurt, Germany, Soedradjad Djiwandono signed on behalf of Indonesia to what is termed the Frankfurt Agreement. The agreement committed Indonesia’s private sector and its creditors to a debt-rescheduling. Some $24 billion of private debt by private Indonesian companies will be rescheduled over a period of 3 years. Liabilities of Indonesian banks, totaling $4.5 billion, are also rescheduled to be paid over the next two years.

Soedradjad said that the government was, is, and will continue to restore market confidence in the Indonesian economy and this is one of the way.

At an East Timor Regional People’s Representative Council (DPRD) Special Session, the East Timor DPRD voted to remove Abilo Soares from office. At the same session, the East Timor DPRD also passed a resolution calling on the President to name a new Governor of East Timor.

19th June 1998:
The Army Headquarters today announced a military shuffle. Some of the highlights are the following:
*Brig. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri, presently Acting Commander of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Commander will have his appointment made permanent and he will be promoted to major general.

*Prabowo allies Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Kivlan Zen, and Idris Gassing are shuffled out of their respective present positions at ABRI’ to various staff positions in the Army Headuqarters. With these shuffles, the only prominent Prabowo-ites are Prabowo himself and moderate Prabowo ally Subagyo HS who remains as Deputy Army Chief of Staff.

*Try inserted another familiar face into the mix. Brig. Gen. Ismet Herdi will now be the Head of the Army’s Information Center. Ismet previously served as the Head of Communications and Mass Media at the Vice Presidential Office when Try was Vice President.

22nd June 1998:
President Try Sutrisno today swore in Nana Sutresna as Ambassador to the United States and Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin as Ambassador to Russia. Nana Sutresna is a senior diplomat who had served as Ambassador to the UN (1988-1992) in the past. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin was most recently Assistant for Socio-Political Affairs under the Chief of the Socio-Political Affairs Staff at ABRI Headquarters.

The press corps swarmed around Commander of ABRI Wiranto and Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar. When asked if “Certain officers” were targeted in the shuffle just announced, Wiranto denied it and said that it was the philosophy of ABRI soldiers to go where they are assigned, including ambassadorships.

Wiranto also used the opportunity to confirm that investigations into the abductions of activists involving Kopassus personnel will continue

23rd June 1998:
President Try today inaugurated the National Scouts’ West Java offices at Bandung, West Java. The inauguration was slotted in into Try’s itinerary when he was vice president but he had never gotten around to it what with his elevation to the presidency and his re-election campaign.

Accompanied by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Public Works, Urban Development and Housing Sutjipto, Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirdja, and Governor of West Java Muzani Syukur, Try toured a Bandung Inner Ring Road construction site to meet with some of the crew. He was pleased to hear stories about ex-employees of local businesses in Bandung being laid off but then finding new employment on the project which was part of the stimulus package.

24th June 1998:
President Try named former DPR member and present member of the National Commission for Human Rights Clementino Dos Reis Amaral as Governor of East Timor.

Wiranto announced that the Military Police has completed its investigations on Major Bambang Kristiono and Colonel Chairawan of the Kopassus in regards to the abduction of activists. Wiranto said that based on the results of the investigations, he will be forming an Officers’ Honor Council (DKP) to interview the officers in question and decide what steps ought to be taken with the officers involved.

The DKP will be a group of 7 officers, comprising of six major generals and 1 lieutenant general who will chair the DKP. Wiranto has already appointed Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It will hold its first session this coming Monday with Bambang Kristiono scheduled to appear in front of the council.

25th June 1998:
President Try, together with Edi Sudrajat, had a meeting with Operational Control of Development Secretary Sugeng Subroto. Sugeng reported to Try about how the stimulus package had progressed. Sugeng said that there are some “kinks” to be ironed out. For example, the business crash course is supposed to be free of charge but the course facilitators are asking for money despite them being paid already by the government. Try said that development supervision needed to be improved and that he will take care of it.

The President today also met with Badminton player Hariyanto Arbi who came to visit accompanied by Minister of Female Empowerment, Youth and Sports Khofifah Indar Parawansa. Hariyanto Arbi won the Thomas Cup at Hong Kong the previous month but Try had only found the time to meet with him now.

27th June 1998:
Commander of the Central Java Regional Military Command Prabowo Subianto appeared suddenly at Army Headquarters this morning. Surprised but not unaccostumed to emergencies during weekends, Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar went to the Army Headquarters to receive him as Prabowo’s direct superior.

After a meeting of an hour, Prabowo returned to Cendana Street, where he was staying with his wife Titiek Soeharto. He got changed from his uniform into a suit and then walked over to a microphone in front of the house where the press corp had gathered.

Prabowo began tearfully saying that being a soldier was what he had always wanted to do. That Kopassus, Kostrad, the Central Java Regional Military Command and its soldiers are his life and that what he was about to do in no way tarnishes the memories and the missions that he had been a part of over the 24 years that he had been a soldier.

“In recent weeks, I have become aware that ABRI Headquarters has been conducting into an investigation into the abduction of activists during my tenure as Commander of Kopassus. In the past few days and weeks, this matter has been made public to the community and the investigations has reached a point where a DKP has been formed.

Such investigations shows ABRI’s superior internal mechanisms and for that I would like to express my pride in ABRI for having those mechanisms.

At the same time, I must express my disappointment at ABRI’s leadership for how they have conducted this investigation.

It is clear to me that ABRI’s leadership has conducted this investigation with the prejudiced notion that I am the guilty party. Thus far, I have never been given the opportunity much less summoned to explain my side of the story even as two of my subordinates at Kopassus have been extensively interviewed and interrogated.

For the record, I do not feel that what I have done has been incorrect. I did it in the name of securing the nation during a most politically sensitive time where the nation had to contend with the 1997 Elections and the 1998 MPR Session. I received a list of names from my superior, I passed it down the chain of command, and let them take the initiative. I’m ready to tell my account but thus far I’ve only seen preparations to prosecute me.

We all recently saw the unrest at Dili and how our men had done so wonderfully to restore order. But not long after that, a command shuffle was conducted good upstanding officers were removed from their positions; one was even exiled under the guise of being appointed ambassador. What? Prabowo is behind the events in Dili?

Others should perhaps engage in introspection. After the Commander of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command died in a tragic accident, why wasn’t the vacancy filled immediately? It’s perhaps not a surprise that anti-Indonesian elements took advantage of the situation.

But it is all too late now. It’s been clear to me that the leadership of ABRI no longer has any trust in me and as such, I cannot conduct my duties as an officer and as a solider of ABRI.

Thus, not long ago, I have submitted my request for immediate discharge from ABRI…”

All of the channels, TVRI and private television stations alike, carried the news of Prabowo’s request to be discharged from ABRI and showed highlights of his speech.

For Try, Prabowo’s discharge was admin work on a Saturday night. Between dinner and movie night with the First Lady, Try went to the study and looked at Prabowo’s discharge papers. It had been signed by the Commander of ABRI and the Army Chief of Staff. Now it awaited his signature as the Supreme Commander of ABRI.

Try looked up at Prabowo’s image on the television screen and signed on the dotted line, knowing full well that he hasn’t seen the last of Prabowo Subianto.

And thus, Prabowo Subianto’s military career comes to an end in this TL. OTL, the Officers’ Council ruled that he had to be discharged because of his “misinterpretation of orders”. In this TL, Prabowo blindsides ABRI with a “You can’t fire me, I quit!”

The inauguration of the National Scouts’ West Java offices is based on the following the article (in Indonesian)

Regarding figures for the private debt rescheduled, OTL the figures are $60 billion of private debt over 8 years and $9.2 billion over 4 years. The figures however are adjusted for this TL because Indonesia is in a better economic conditions. The original figures from the OTL may be found here.

( statesman 2004 indonesia debt&f=false)
25: Battles To Come
25: Battles to Come
28th June 1998:

At Cendana Street, the Soeharto Family held a gathering to celebrate the end of Prabowo’s military career. There was a festive atmosphere though Wismoyo Arismunandar, being Minister of Defense and Security and part of Try’s government, felt distinctly isolated.

For all the casual atmosphere, Prabowo sat down with Tutut to talk about some serious matter.

“The President bested you”, said Tutut “He actually drove you out.”

“It’s not the end, Mbak (Sister). Only the beginning”, Prabowo retorted “There are still opportunities yet to establish beachheads in the President’s government and challenge him from within.”

Tutut nodded.

“The Governorships of Central Java and East Java are good places to start”, Prabowo said “But the Chairmanship of Golkar will be even better. Speaking of which, Mbak, when do you intend to declare for the Chairmanship of Golkar?”

“Just as soon as the President announces when the Golkar National Congress will be”, said Tutut.

“Which will be soon. I’m sure Harmoko will be beside himself with impatience.”

“Anyway, what do you intend to do now?” asked Tutut.

“I’m going back to Semarang” said Prabowo.

29th June 1998:
President Try toured the Tanah Abang markets in Jakarta specifically the market stalls which sells food. He was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja and Head of Bulog I Gede Awet Sara. The three discussed about the distribution of rice across the nation so far.

Sarwono said that right now the national food stock is sufficient even with lower rice productions from the El Nino effect the previous year. But the risk now are rice producers showing tendency of wanting to export their products overseas to take advantage of the cheaper currency. Try told Sarwono to place an export ban on rice to ensure that the domestic rice demand is fulfilled.

Cameras and the press corps were on hand to ensure that Try was asked about things other than rice as well such as the recent retirement of a prominent Army officer.

“What Major General Prabowo decides to do with his military career is a matter for him”, said Try “But the processes which has been initiated by ABRI Headquarters regarding he abductions will continue on regardless.”

30th June 1998:
Try met with Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas and Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo. The two had just returned from Dili where Harsudiono presided over the swearing in of Clementino Dos Reis Amaral as Governor of East Timor.

Harsudiono said that the situation in Dili and East Timor more broadly is conducive however much work remains to be done across the various policy areas to improve the livelihood of the East Timorese.

Ari Sudewo reported that the main security threat in East Timor is now very much the pro-Indonesian militias. Falintil are conducting back channel communications with ABRI units in East Timor.

Try was happy with the report. He said that he intends to visit East Timor to mark the 22nd anniversary of the province’s integration into Indonesia.

At the DPR building, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman faced a DPR hearing where he was scheduled to make the government’s official statement about its handling of the unrest in Dili. Such matters would normally be routine, except for the fact that the DPR Committee facing Edi also comprised of Hartono.

The former Minister of Information, though representing Golkar, roundly criticized the government for cracking down on “patriots” and protecting “separatists”. Hartono said that this represents a horrendous error in the government’s management of East Timor.

“Furthermore, I would like to express my disgust at being summoned to an interview with the Chief of BAKIN a month or so ago”, Hartono continued “I thought I was helping a military classmate out, but what I said was being used by the government in its bid to drive Prabowo Subianto, one of the finest offices we have, out of ABRI.”

Edi glared angrily at Hartono. He argued back that the so-called patriots are what is strengthening the separatist sentiments in East Timor. As to the matter of Prabowo, Edi reiterated that what Prabowo did with his career for was his problem but added that what the Kopassus men did, acting on what is increasingly looking like verbal orders is dangerous. “It means that what is being ordered is unclear and that could lead to all sorts of interpretations on how implement the orders”, said Edi “To say that you passed orders down the chain of command and let your subordinates “take initiative” is hardly the mark of a good officer.”

When Hartono began criticizing the government again, Edi cut him off. A shouting match ensued which had to be broken off by some liberal gavel banging by Vice Chairman of the DPR Syarwan Hamid.

1st July 1998:
Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Trade and Investment Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Minister of Industry, Research and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo Minister of Forestry and Environment Ardans, Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Head of Bulog I Gede Awet Sara, Minister of Tourism and Culture Soeyono and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman held a joint press conference.

Soedradjad Djiwandono announced that the President had approved a set of deregulatory measures to create the opportunity for exporters, open up the economy, and further drive the economy towards recovery.

The deregulation policy package are, among others, as follows:
-Reduction of export taxes on logs, sawn timber, and rattan to a maximum of 10% ad valorem.
-Simplified procedures for application to open a tourism-related business (accommodation, transportation, souvenir shops, restaurants etc.) within a 10 KM radius of an identified tourist attraction.
-Cut duties on import duties of car and motorcycle spare parts.
-Abolish Bulog’s monopoly over soybean imports.

2nd July 1998:
Vice President JB Sumarlin today attended the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Luncheon and discussion. The discussion was held to mark the one year anniversary of the floating of the Thai Baht on the market, a moment that is now seen as the beginning of the crisis. The topic of the discussion is “The Asian Financial Crisis Turns One: Indonesia’s Prospects”. Some of the highlights are as follows:

*On Indonesia’s Economic Situation: “It hasn’t been a smooth ride. We have had to put up interest rates and tighten our belts and delay a lot of our infrastructure projects. In late 1997 we went through a bank rush, though thankfully that has stopped. January 1998 was when the currency lost most of its value. Overall economic growth has slowed and unemployment has increased over the first half of the year. We’re lucky in that the government has consistently and is committed to taking concrete steps to limit the damage whilst at the same improving the economy.”

*On Economic Recovery: “It’s a case of there being many moving parts to this economic recovery. We’ve got the stimulus encourage economic activity as well as the deregulation package yesterday. At the same time we have to ensure that the budget remains positive and that Indonesian companies are paying their private debts.

Further to these moving parts, we also have got to keep on moving. Meaning we can’t just have a stimulus package or a deregulation package, sit on our laurels, and expect the economy to recover on its own. We still need to take more policy actions and take more steps to better position the economy for recovery as well as withstand future economic turbulence.”

*On the Road to Recovery: “Each country has to pick a different road. Thailand wants to ask for IMF assistance, Malaysia wants to impose currency controls…that’s fair enough.

Our road is somewhere in the middle of all that. Regain market confidence so that we have more leeway to pursue action that will benefit the people. That was the strategy charted by President Try and that’s the strategy we will stick to.”

3rd July 1998:
President Try Sutrisno chaired a full Cabinet Meeting to hear reports from various ministers:

*Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono said that the economy has continued to slow down in the second quarter of the year. The economy still has not had the time to feel the impact of the stimulus package. Rupiah still stable around Rp. 4,600ish to the dollar. The poverty rate right now is 23%, up from 11% in 1996.

*Minister of Population, Transmigration, and Rural Development Hendropriyono reported that people are taking the choice to migrate back to their villages. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja confirmed this saying there are more people working the fields.

*Minister of Education Wardiman Djojonegoro reported that school attendance for the beginning of the school year is set to drop. Normally it is the most isolated of children that could not attend school but this year the poorest are once again unable to send their children to school.

Try issued his instructions:
-Implementation of the stimulus package and deregulation package are to be accelerated.
-Calls upon funds from various department to be diverted to rural infrastructure.
-Asks that the School Operational Assistance given by the government be used to subsidize the poorest of the students.

After Friday prayers, Commander of ABRI Wiranto and Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar met with the press corps to announce that Major General Syahrir MS will take over as Commander of the Central Java Regional Military Command. Syahrir MS, a Kopassus man, will succeed to the position left vacant by Prabowo.

4th July 1998:
The President met with his inner circle: Edi Sudrajat, Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto. The meeting began with the President busting Edi’s balls about his shouting match with Hartono earlier in the week but soon got serious.

“I want to ask if we’ve got any candidates for the Chairmanship of Golkar”, Try said.

They began talking about some civilian candidates and agreed that Sarwono Kusumaatmadja and Siswono Yudohusodo are at the top of the list. Edi said that he’s gone to talk to them. Both said that they would have to resign from their positions as ministers.

From the military side, Harsudiono places Edi and Sugeng’s name for consideration saying that Ari Sudewo, being Chief of BAKIN, probably would not do so well.

“What about yourself?” asked Try.

“I’m the Minister of Home Affairs which means that I’m ex-officio the Chairman of the Elections Institute”, explained Harsudiono “I'll be administering and competing in the elections at the same time if I'm elected.”

Both Edi and Sugeng protested against being nominated saying that they’d rather focus on helping Try run the government. The room then went quiet for want of a name.

Try then had the idea of nominating someone military but who had had early experience being involved in an organizational position at Golkar, say Chairman of the Jakarta Provincial Branch of Golkar. This person ought to be someone who could campaign “like a civilian” and attract audiences with his singing.

“That sounds an awful lot like Basofi”, said Edi.

“I am thinking about Basofi”, said Try.

“That’s not a bad idea, Mr. President”, said Harsudiono “Not bad at all. But the consequence of that is that we have to put forward another candidate for Governor of East Java.”

Some names were considered before Sugeng Subroto suggested Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Haris Sudarno. Haris Sudarno had been Military Commander in Surabaya (1988-1989), Commander of the East Java Regional Military Command (1993-1995), and DPR Member (1995-1997). Try approved of this name.

While they were at it, the meeting then went on to discuss who should be candidate for the Governor of Central Java’s position. Some names were once again considered before Harsudiono suggested Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Hariyoto PS. Former Commander of the Central Java Military Command (1990-1993) and ABRI Chief of Socio-Political Affairs Staff (1993-1994). Try also approved of the suggestion.
26: Meeting An Old Foe
26: July 1998
6th July 1998:

President Try Sutrisno tonight held a gathering at the Presidential Palace to mark the Birth of Prophet Muhammad Day featuring a sermon by Minister of Religion Quraish Shihab. The guests of honor for the night were Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Abdurrahman Wahid and Chairman of Muhammadiyah Amien Rais. The cameras snapped when the President stood with Wahid, stil in the wheelchair and making his first public appearance since his stroke in January, one side and Amien on the other.

7th July 1998:
Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi emerged out of a meeting with President Try. Djiteng announced that he will be terminating the State Electricity Company’s (PLN) contract with PT. Cikarang Listrindo. Cikarang Listrindo is a private electricity generator company where Sudwikatmono, Soeharto’s cousin, has a stake. Djiteng also announced that he is putting a further 25 other PLN Contracts under review.

Djiteng said that given the present economic conditions, the PLN’s electricity generating power is sufficient to deal with demand. The contract which he has terminated and which he has put under review are uneccesary, uneconomical, and favors those “who are close to power”.

8th July 1998:
Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas announced that the Central Java DPRD will be holding its special session to elect the Governor of Central Java on 3rd August. The East Java DPRD will be holding its special session to elect the Governor of East Java on 4th August.

After some three months of discussions, the DPR assembled today to vote on the Anti-Monopoly Bill. The government was in attendance, represented by Minister of Legal Affairs Albert Hasibuan.

There were acrimonious scenes as as DPR Member Nurdin Halid (Golkar) protested against the law saying that provided that the national interest was being served and the person or private company managing it are proven to be capable, the government ought to be able to institute monopolies. Nurdin was drown out by the DPR who voted to pass the Anti-Monopoly Bill into law with 365 votes for, 11 votes against, and 49 abstentions.

The Anti-Monopoly Law bans monopolistic, oligopolistic, monopsonistic, and cartel practices. Monopolies could only be put in place in the event of the “livelihood of the many” are on the line. In such cases only state-owned enterprises are permitted to operate the monopolies.

9th July 1998:
President Try Sutrisno breakfasted with Vice President JB Sumarlin. Sumarlin applauded Try for the 1st July Deregulation Package, the review of the electricity contracts, and the passing of the Anti-Monopoly Law. He said that the Rupiah has strengthened to Rp. 4,614 to the Dollar but reminds Try at the same time that it was nearly time for the tri-monthly review with the IMF.

Try asked what Sumarlin thought the IMF will propose this time. Sumarlin said the President’s got some credibility in the IMF’s eyes. Even so, Sumarlin said, the IMF will still try to propose reforms. Privatization is where Sumarlin predicts the IMF will hit next.

“Do we really want to do that, though, Mr. Vice President, I know they’re inefficient, but we’ve got Article 33 of the 1945 Constitution”, Try said.

“At the very least they should be made more efficient, Mr. President”, said Sumarlin “They are a drag on the nation’s finances.”

While they ended up on a stalemate on that issue, Try said that he is putting Sumarlin in charge of his new initiative in East Timor.

Breakfast was with Vice President, Lunch was with the Chairman of the DPR, such was the schedule of the President. Try thanked Harmoko for passage of the anti-monopoly bill. But both knew that matters of the state were not what the lunch was about.

“60 votes in dissent of the bill”, said Try “We know that the PPP had voted in support of it, the PDI had rejected it and they only have 11 seats in the DPR which means the 49 abstentions has come from Golkar.”

“That is indeed the case, Mr. President”, replied Harmoko “There’s a group of them now orbiting around Hartono. It was not a wise decision to have him in the DPR.”

“I didn’t want him out and about and setting his eyes on the governorship of East Java”, Try replied. Harmoko tried to press him on the situations on the gubernatorial elections in Central Java and East Java but he would not mention who he is backing.

“You ought to be careful, Mr. President, the forces behind Hartono will go after the governorships of those Central Java and East Java the way they are trying to undermine the government’s position in the DPR”, said Harmoko.

The two then talked about the Golkar National Congress. Harmoko said that Tutut is aggressively courting the support of the provincial branches and “We all know Tutut is an ally of Hartono.”

“What of Ginandjar?” asked Try “What do you think of him wanting the Chairmanship?”

“Strong in the West Java Provincial Branch as well as branches where there are his business associates”, said Harmoko “But I wouldn’t trust him with the chairmanship of Golkar if I were you, Mr. President. He was a dark horse at the MPR Session, everyone half-expected him to put his name in the hat with the four of us but he didn’t. The Chairmanship of Golkar is an awfully strategic place to prepare a challenge to you in 5 years’ time.”

Try nodded to himself. He could see the point in the argument.

“So I suppose I should trust you”, said Try.

“I’m not the one who said it”, said Harmoko.

10th July 1998:
In a highly publicized event, Minister of Information, Post and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita announced that he has awarded two licenses for the establishment of two new television networks. The two recipients are as follows:

*Republika TV by PT Abdi Bangsa affiliated with the BJ Habibie-led ICMI.

*Metro TV by Media Group led by Surya Paloh

At Semarang, Central Java, Prabowo Subianto registers to be a member of Golkar with Golkar’s Central Java Provincial Branch.

12th July 1998:
An RRI Current Affairs Discussion Program discussed the political happenings of the week including the abstention of 49 Golkar DPR members in the voting on the Anti-Monopoly Law. The guest in the studio was Ary Mardjono, DPR Member and Secretary of Golkar.

“We live in a Pancasila Democracy”, Ary explained “Everything is done on the basis of Pancasila, but we are a democracy as well and in a democracy differences of opinion are natural, even in this case between the government and Golkar.”

The call-in by listener was conducted of all people by Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja.

“Look, Golkar welcomes vocal members in the cabinet, in the DPR, wherever”, Sarwono began “People classify me as vocal as well when I was a DPR and even now as a minister. But when push comes to shove, I still voted with and for the government. This whole absention thing is disgraceful and the fact that the Secretary of Golkar is encouraging it even more so.”

13th July 1998:
In the wee hours of the morning, President Try Sutrisno accompanied by Minister of Female Empowerment Youth and Sports Khofifah Indar Parawansa and Chairman of KONI IGK Manila held a viewing of the 1998 World Cup at Monas Square where a makeshift giant screen was set up and Brazil vs. France was broadcast for all to see.

In a meeting with State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman, Military Secretary Mardiyanto, and Operational Control of Development Secretary Sugeng Subroto, the President approved of a reorganization of the State Secretariat.

The reorganization is designed to strengthen the President’s capacity to realize his agenda and take up various policy areas that have been left without an organization in the reorganization of cabinet the previous March. The President gave all four secretaries until 17th August to find the people to man the positions.

14th July 1998:
President Try Sutrisno today hosted IMF Asia Pacific Director Hubert Neiss. Neiss commended the government on the fiscal discipline it maintained when putting in place the stimulus package, the private debt agreement, and the 1st July Deregulation Package. To the surprise of Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono and Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Neiss said the IMF would like to see the government continue on its present step and that the fund will continue its disbursement of aid each month.

15th July 1998:
Despite meeting and looking amiable with the President a mere nine days before, Amien Rais was back criticizing the government again.

“The Government lives for the approval of the IMF, all of its economic policies are directed towards the approval of the IMF”, said Amien “We need a more nationalist government.”

That evening after seeing off Hubert Neiss at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, Vice President Sumarlin took time to counter Amien Rais’ claim.

“What the government has done is to govern in the national interest and take steps in the national interest”, Sumarlin said “What the government has done, it has done voluntarily. It has never had any policies or measures imposed on it by the IMF. The stimulus package, the 1st July deregulation, all of it was done on the government’s initiative.”

President Try’s day involved a meeting with a special guest for afternoon tea. He was brought in chains.

“Just the two of us, Mr. President?”, he joked in fluent Indonesian.

“It was a bit crowded last time we met and that was without camera and lighting in our faces”, countered Try with a smile.

They talked in private, just the two of them. Xanana Gusmao thanked Try for the military intervention against the pro-integration militias the previous month and said that it placed the independence movement in a difficult predicament; because the Indonesian government had just saved the East Timorese people from a militia that had terrorized the populace for however many years. Xanana says he is aware that they are not soldiers of the official Indonesian Army.

Xanana told Try that last April, the Council of Timorese National Resistance (CNRT) had just voted him as president. Try said that he knows, that was why he wanted to meet with Xanana.

“Then you must also certainly know what our aim is, Mr. President”, said Xanana “Tell me, Mr. President, how will my land fare under you. You are a new President, after all, not tied to the baggage of your predecessor.”

“My situation is unfortunately complex”, replied Try “If President Soeharto, who did not see combat in East Timor, was that committed to East Timor, how do you think I would be? The officers of my generation have all, in one shape of form, been involved in integrating East Timor into Indonesia or been stationed there. I myself have been second in command of the Nusa Tenggara Regional Military Command which looks after East Timor’s security.”

“Your constitution’s preamble begins with the words: Whereas truly, independence is the right of all nations…” interrupted Xanana.

“I would be torn to shreds by the officers of my generation were I to let go of East Timor” Try interrupted back grimly “And my enemies in Indonesian politics would have a field day.”

Try then proceeded to telling Xanana what he wanted to do in East Timor. Xanana thought deeply about it. Xanana was conflicted. Try was promising something new but he wondered if East Timor would ever be independent.

The fact that Try had inadvertently saved his life also crossed Xanana’s mind. When he was captured by Indonesian troops in 1992, the officer in charge Maj. Gen. Theo Sjafei called Try to ask if it was okay to execute him on the spot. Try told Theo to wait and then flew from Jakarta to Dili later in the day to personally meet Xanana. At the conclusion of which, Try declared that Xanana should stand trial in Jakarta.

“Independence is a non-starter, but nearly everything else is on the table”, said Try “My only requirement is that ABRI and Falintil signs a ceasefire, something like what happened 15 years ago.”

“I will neither accept or reject but will not get in your way, Mr. President”, said Xanana “If you would like to develop East Timor and rise the living standards, that is up to you. But if after all that you’ve done, people there are still calls for independence, that will be something you cannot stop.”

16th July 1998:
The President today arrived at Dili, East Timor at the head of delegation which consisted of among others:

*First Lady Tuti Setiawati
*State Secretary Edi Sudrajat
*Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas
*Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar
*Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono
*Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja
*Minister of Public Works, Urban Housing, and Housing Sutjipto
*Minister of Population, Transmigration, and Rural Development Hendropriyono
*Commander of ABRI Wiranto

President Try began his visit by touring Dili. He visited Commander of Kostrad Johnny Lumintang and the troops which were involved in the operation to secure Dili last month. He also met and congratulated the members of the Dili Police who were involved in the Dili incident the previous month. He ended the tour of the troops by eating a meal with them at the mess hall.

Dinner was with Governor of East Timor Clementino Dos Reis Amaral, Former Governor of East Timor Mario Carrasacalao, and Bishop Belo. Edi Sudrajat and Harsudiono Hartas also sat in on the dinner meeting.

There were much pleasantries to begin the meeting. Try congratulated Bishop Belo on his Nobel Peace Prize, something which Soeharto had never done and which went down well.

Try told Clementino, Carrascalao, and Belo what he told Xanana the previous day. That he intended to improve the conditions in Dili and East Timor but that he would not tolerate calls for independence. Carrascalao and Belo gave the same answer as Xanana, that they would not get in the way.

17th July 1998:
At 10 AM, Try stepped up to the rostrum at the East Timor Provincial DPRD Building to deliver his address. In front of him was the East Timor DPRD.

“…I take this opportunity to reaffirm the policy of the Indonesian Government towards East Timor: that the People of East Timor have chosen to integrate into the Republic of Indonesia 22 years ago. This is the starting point and the ending point of Indonesian policy towards East Timor.

At the same time, I acknowledge that the government’s conduct has been disappointing. That there are still sentiments, both here and abroad, calling for East Timor’s seccession from Indonesia are signs the conduct of Indonesian policy towards East Timor had not been optimal.”

Accordingly, the President promised to take the following steps:

-Form an inter-departemental committee on East Timor with the Vice President as Chairman with a secretariat based in the State Secretariat.

-Provide a secure environment for the East Timorese people to go about their daily lives and for economic activity to occur.

-Review the economic policy in East Timor and deregulate the economy so as to facilitate trade and growth in the province.

-Tighten transmigration criteria to East Timor so that transmigrants will help create work rather than take work from the locals.

-Crack down on crime and organized crime in the province. In addition juveniles involved in such activities will be rehabilitated.

-Divert funding from the stimulus so that more schools and defense housing are constructed in East Timor.

After the speech, the President and his delegation visited a primary school on the outskirts of Dili. He spent some time talking with the children there and wishing them the best for the next school year before departing for Dili Airport and the flight back to Jakarta.

19th July 1998:
Try received a guest in the afternoon, none other than the Chairman of ICMI and his former presidential rival BJ Habibie. There were some pleasantries, but Try knew this was not why Habibie came.

“I come in my capacity as Chairman of the Council of Patrons’ Day-to-Day Presidium to meet you in yours as the Chairman of the Council of Patrons” Habibie began “Golkar is anxious to know when the National Congress will be held.”

“You’re not the first to come and ask me that question” Try responded “But because of your position within Golkar, I will address this matter. Call a meeting of the Council of Patrons for sometime next week, I will announce it then.”

The Anti-Monopoly Law passed would be identical to the one provided in this link:

OTL Djiteng Marsudi, as CEO of the PLN rather than as Minister of Mining Energy, unilaterally terminated the 26 contracts and was removed from his position by President Habibie.

For the previous time that Try met with Xanana Gusmao, check out this video:

The tale of how Xanana came close to being summarily executed may be found here:
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Wonder what Try's reaction is to the US embassy attacks in August, which is coming up in this story...
We shall see...

But broadly speaking, ITTL jihadists/Islamists will infiltrate Indonesia via a different way. OTL they took advantage of the economic crisis and the political vacuum left behind after Soeharto fell from power whereas in ITTL Soeharto never fell from power.
27: The Return of Prabowo
27: The Return of Prabowo
20th July 1998:

ABRI Chief of Socio-Political Affairs Staff Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in his capacity as Chairman of the Officers’ Honour Council (DKP), announced that the DKP has completed its questioning and investigation of Major Bambang Kristiono and Colonel Chairawan of the Kopassus regarding the abductions of activists. The results of the DKP are as follows:

*Major Bambang Kristiono have been found to have interpreted orders from superiors in a way that is irresponsible and could cause damage to ABRI’s reputation as an institution. His decision to form a team to abduct activists is unbecoming of an ABRI officer. The DKP therefore recommends the dishonorable discharge Major Bambang Kristiono from active service.

*Colonel Chairawan is found to have been negligent in conducting supervision over his subordinate. His awareness of what Major Bambang is doing and his lack of action to bring him into line is unbecoming of an ABRI officer. The DKP therefore recommends the removal of Colonel Chairawan from his present position and ban him from holding further command positions within ABRI.

In a separate press conference, Commander of ABRI Wiranto said that he accepts and will act on the recommendations of the DKP.

When asked about the decision regarding his two subordinates, Prabowo Subianto was in Semarang touring its markets.

“Two fine officers, you could not find two better officers in all of the land. Unfortunately they fell victim to a conspiracy…to a campaign conducted by ABRI's leadership”, said Prabowo “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to shake hands and get to know the good people of Semarang.”

21st July 1998:
President Try Sutrisno held a meeting with Vice President JB Sumarlin, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Governor of BI Boediono, Head of IBRA Bambang Subianto State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman.

*There was disbelief that the three-monthly meeting with the IMF went so smoothly. Sumarlin attributed it to the government having credibility with the IMF. There are still things to be completed from the reforms agreed to in April, but the IMF is trusting the government to complete the agreement.

*The idea was put forward by Soedradjad Djiwandono that the government should take advantage of this and request lowering interest rates. Inflation is contained, the exchange rate is stable, increased confidence to invest in Indonesia by foreigners but economic activity is slow because of high interest rates. Sumarlin countered that the IMF would expect the government to take further steps to reform the economy ie. Privatization.

Try said that he’s still not too comfortable about privatization but he will be establishing a special government unit focusing on improving the performance of state-owned enterprises.

*Boediono reports that the audit of the banks are still going on but adds that the audit of the state banks have been completed. Four state banks out of a total of seven are in a bad state. All of their capital adequacy ratios are negative and are technically bankrupt.

The meeting discussed various options including the possibility of letting some of the banks fail while rescuing others. Try decided that all four banks, being state-owned, needed to be saved. He asked Boediono to look at what options the the government have in this regard.

Mar’ie Muhammad spoke out and said that a ministerial regulation is still in place mandating that all state banks donate 2.5% of all net profits to the Supersemar Foundation, one of the foundations established by Soeharto. Try ordered Mar’ie to revoke it and to say that the President ordered it if anyone asks. Mar’ie smiled at this.

*The more complex problem was the banking sector itself. The President said that the BLBI could not be a permanent solution but the argument from Bambang Subianto was that most banks are barely surviving and that without BLBI assistance, they would collapse.

A suggestion was put forward that the government could take over the banks. The Vice President disagreed with this saying that the government already has enough inefficient assets to take on the nation’s banks. Try said he tends to agree with this and said that the only circumstances the government should take over a bank is to either liquidate the bank or find a third party to take it over.

“The challenge here is twofold”, said Try “First, we want them to pay back the BLBI assistance and second, we want the banks to get back on their own two feet but with the knowledge that if they can’t get back on their feet, they have to be liquidated.”

Boediono proposed that once the audits of the private banks are completed, the IBRA will need to categorize banks in terms of whether they are safe, whether they need assistance, or whether they ought to be liquidated. Try approved of this.

22nd July 1998:
President Try met with Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas. Harsudiono informed Try that Basofi Sudirman had formally issued a notice saying that he would not accept a nomination for a second term as Governor of East Java and that he had endorsed Haris Sudarno to be a candidate for Governor of East Java. Meanwhile, Ary Mardjono has declared that he would be a candidate for Governor of East Java.

The President and Minister of Health Broto Wasisto visited a Community Health Center at the suburb of Cikini, not far from the Presidential Palace, together. They shook hands with doctors, nurses, and patients there. The President and the Minister of Health used the opportunity to announce that there would be a National Immunization Week this week to administer polio vaccines to children.

23rd July 1998:
Minister of Public Works, Housing, and Urban Development Sutjipto and Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja toured the site of the Yogyakarta-Solo toll road. Sutjipto said that construction Yogyakarta-Solo toll road and the Jakarta-Solo railway and freight has begun. It is hoped that in the short term, these projects will absorb employment and in the future will facilitate economic growth.

24th July 1998:
After a tiring work week, Try visited a house at Teuku Umar Street in the elite Jakarta suburb of Menteng which functions as the formal headquarters of Golkar’s Council of Patrons. In addition to the Council of Patron members, Chairman Harmoko and Secretary Ary Mardjono were also invited to the meeting.

As he ate a buffet dinner, Try could not help but notice that the Council of Patrons was all that was left of the previous term’s government as the present membership of council mirrored that of the previous cabinet. He also could not help but notice that the council looked at him with more respect than the last time they met before the MPR Session.

At the end of the dinner, the meeting was held. It was agreed that the Sixth Golkar National Congress will be held on 20th-24th October 1998 at Solo. The Chairman of Golkar will be responsible for forming organizing and steering committees to that end.

25th July 1998:
Though a Saturday, Try received a guest in the form of Alip Pandoyo. The Chairman of the Central Java DPRD/Chairman of the Central Java Golkar Provincial Branch was in Jakarta for the weekend.

Alip said that Hariyoto PS is a good candidate for Governor of Central Java and someone the Central Java branch can get behind. When Try asked how “the other side” is doing, Alip said that they are really pulling all the stops to get Soewardi re-elected. He made mention that some Central Java DPRD members are at present on an all-expenses paid trip to Saudi Arabia to go on an Umrah. Other members heve recently returned from holidays in Europe with again all expenses paid.

“They must be desperate”, thought Try.

Later in the day it was the turn of the inner circle to come and visit: Edi Sudrajat, Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto.

“Having now decided on the time and place for the Golkar National Congress, I think it’s time to decide who I will back as the Chairman of Golkar”, said Try.

“That’s simple enough, Mr. President”, replied Harsudiono “It’s Basofi, right?”

Try gave Harsudiono a look and the latter put his hand on his forehead.

“You’re still considering Harmoko”, Harsudiono said horrified “My God, if I had known I wouldn’t have persuaded Basofi to withdraw. The guy had a lock on being re-elected as Governor of East Java.”

“What exactly is the problem with Harmoko?” asked Try.

“He was imposed on ABRI by Soeharto at the Golkar National Congress five years ago, Mr. President”, said Edi “That’s not a sensation that that congress enjoyed.”

“Yes, but only because ABRI imposed me on Soeharto half a year prior at the MPR Session and everybody knows that story”, Try said glancing briefly at Harsudiono “He’s a pawn. He’s not someone who consciously tried to damage ABRI.”

“Well, at least you’re not trying to convince us to support him on the basis of Golkar getting 74% of the votes at the previous elections because that would be Harmoko’s argument”, said Sugeng before turning to Ari “What’s the landscape looking like from the intelligence point of view.”

“Actually, it makes logical sense to back Harmoko”, replied Ari “The President’s enemies are trying to undermine his authority. They’ve got one of their loyalists, Ary Mardjono, nominating as Governor of East Java and based on what I’m hearing, they’re pulling out all the stops, including bribery to have Soewardi re-elected in Central Java.

But at the same time, Harmoko is also being undermined as well, both in Golkar and the DPR. Right now what the President and the Chairman of the DPR needs is to work together and set up defenses against their common enemies.”

26th July 1998:
The President, accompanied by his four inner circle members, met with Harmoko for afternoon tea. The latter was accompanied by Vice Chairman of the DPR/Vice Chairman of Golkar Abdul Gafur, Leader of Golkar in the DPR Irsyad Sudiro, Minister of Employment and Small Business Oetojo Oesman and Fahmi Idris.

Harmoko looked relieved when Try said that he would like to support Harmoko for re-election as Chairman of Golkar at the next congress. Harmoko thanked the President profusely.

“I have one condition for my support”, Try said “Basofi Sudirman will be your candidate for Secretary of Golkar.”

Harmoko readily accepted the offer. The discussion then went on what steps were needed to make. The next order of business will be to decide the Chairman of the Organizing Committee and the Chairman of the Steering Committee.

“Which one is more important?” asked Try.

“Preferably we get both”, said Harmoko “But if not, we have to try to get the latter. The Steering Committee decides on the agenda and the rules of the congress, including the rules for the Chairman’s election.”

“I agree with the Chairman, Mr. President”, said Harsudiono “It’s important to get control of the steering committee. May I suggest that we keep the rules of electing the Chairman as they are, with only the chairmen of the provincial branches being eligible to vote?”

“That’s what we proposed”, said Abdul Gafur “21 out of the 27 provincial branches chairmen are ABRI men. With your support, Mr. President, and with Basofi as our candidate for Secretary, we hope to get these support.”

“Well then, I will leave you to your task, Mr. Chairman”, Try said while turning to Harmoko “Let me know how I can help.”

27th July 1998:
Megawati Soekarnoputri held a get-together for her supporters at her house to commemorate the taking of the PDI National Headquarters two years prior. The guest of honor was Abdurrahman Wahid who was still wheelchair bound. Megawati called upon her followers to cease being hostile towards the government.

Privately, Megawati and Wahid talked about how they are still locked outside the political system.

“We’ll get back in eventually”, said Wahid “We both just have to prepare ourselves and our supporters for when that moment arrives. We have to play a long game.”

Try met with Minister of Civil Service and Development Supervision Rachmat Witoelar. Given the reorganization and streamlining of government departments and agencies, there are vacant buildings. Try approved that these would be used for events such as weddings, conferences, and meetings provided that all the official revenue go into government coffers.

The President also approved of Rachmat’s plan to freeze hiring of civil servants to safe costs and to establish voluntary redundancy schemes across the government departments.

28th July 1998:
At Semarang, Governor of Central Java Soewardi held a press conference to announce that he would not be putting his name forward for re-election as governor. He said he will “Wrap up” as governor over the next month.

At around lunchtime, Prabowo Subianto, accompanied by his wife Titiek Soeharto and his associate Fadli Zon, arrived at the Central Java DPRD Building. He was not in the building for long before he re-emerged to face the press corps.

“Fellow Central Javanese wherever you may be. I would like to inform you all that I will be a candidate for Governor of Central Java when the Central Java DPRD meets this upcoming Monday.

In the three months or so that I was commander here, I had become enamored by this province and had taken the opportunity of being assigned here, and living here, to travel the length and breadth of this great province and meet its people.

Having done this and especially after my discharge from active duty, I increasingly feel that I will best serve my country by serving the people and the Province of Central Java.”

29th -30th July 1998:
The Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) met to discuss the amount of aid to be given in Indonesia; the CGI being a group of creditor nations who provides funds to finance various projects in Indonesia.

Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas who headed the Indonesian delegation announced at the end of the meetings that the CGI has approved aid to the tune of $6.1 billion. Soedradjad said that Indonesia will strive to use this aid in best manner possible.

While the CGI approved of aid, the President held a meeting with his “real economy” ministers. They were Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo; Minister of Trade and Investment Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti; Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja; Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja; Minister of Tourism and Culture Soeyono and Minister of Workforce and Small Business Oetojo Oesman. Vice President Sumarlin, Edi Sudrajat, and Hayono Isman sat in on the meeting.

*Siswono reported that the economy is definitely still slowing down. Consumption of goods has definitely slowed down outside of food and clothing. Goods are still on the shelves at electronics stroes and sales of private vehicles are slowing down. People are not buying any new goods unless their old things have broken down.

*Soeyono’s report is more positive. His Department is working through applications of people wanting to open accommodations, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Tourism will definitely grow because it is cheaper to go to Indonesia for foreign tourists and cheaper to go to Indonesian tourist sites for domestic tourists.

*Oetojo reports that July will be the month with the largest amount of layoffs since January when the currency suffered the most drop. Most of the layoffs are due to the slowing down of the economy.

31st July 1998:
State Secretary Edi Sudrajat announced today that the President is dissolving the National Stability Coordinating Agency (Bakorstanas). Bakorstanas was the successor agency to the Restoration of Security and Order Operation Command (Kopkamtib), the New Order’s internal security organization. Edi said that this does not weaken the government’s resolve when it comes to security issues but says that national security matters will be coordinated through the existing National Defense and Security Council.

When the line of questioning turned to Prabowo’s candidacy as Governor of Central Java, Edi said that that Prabowo is a civilian, Prabowo is a member of Golkar, and it’s Prabowo’s right to nominate for the position. The government is ready to work with whoever is voted Governor of Central Java and Governor of East Java next week.

3rd August 1998:
At a Central Java Provincial DPRD Special Session, the 45 member strong legislative body voted on the next Governor of Central Java. There were three candidates put forward, the minimum required by the law:

*Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Hariyoto PS
*Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Prabowo Subianto
*Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Soetoyo NK, a DPR member representing Central Java

When the votes were gathered and counted, it was given to Alip Pandoyo as the Chairman of the DPRD.

“The results are as follows: Prabowo Subianto 31 votes, Hariyoto PS 11 votes and Soetoyo NK 3”, he read out in a voice that attempted to be neutral “Prabowo's and Hariyoto's names will therefore be submitted for final approval of the President.”

Lots of things happening in this update but yes, that’s Prabowo Subianto winning the Central Java Gubernatorial vote.

Will explain more about how governors are elected during the New Order in the next post as this is a lengthy one already.
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Try looks like he's a better president than Suharto (or Soeharto) here...

Waiting for more...
Matching or even trying to better Soeharto as a President is probably something he tries to shy away from whether in OTL or ITTL.

For those who would like to know more about Try, the following is an English language article I found. It's from 1994 when Try, then Vice President, visited Australia on a state visit. I think it's a fair short biography of him.
Intermission 1: Governors and How They Are Appointed in the New Order
Intermission 1: Governors and How They Are Elected During the New Order

In addition to the President, the nation’s governors, regents, and mayors are elected. The elections are conducted by the provincial DPRDs for governors and the regency/municipality DPRDs for the regents and mayors.

The procedure for electing governors, regents, and mayors are noted in Law 5 of 1974 Regarding Fundamentals of Governance in the Regions. They are as follows:

-A minimum of 3 candidates and a maximum of 5 candidates are agreed to by the DPRD and the Minister of Home Affairs is notified of the candidates.

-The DPRD votes on the governor/regent/mayor.

-The top 2 vote getters’ name are then submitted to the President for final approval in the case of a gubernatorial election and the Minister of Home Affairs in the case of a regency/mayoral elections.

Though elaborate, at the end of the day the the process is a controlled one. Soeharto already has an idea of who he wants to place as governor in a province and so it’s just matter of getting his nominee to jump through the hoops. The consequence of this is that such votes are normally foregone conclusions contested between 1 favorite and 2 “Also-rans”.

The flipside is that the existence of multiple candidates presents the opportunity to break from the “Script”. In Riau Province in 1985, the Riau Provincial DPRD gave the most votes to an “also-ran” rather than to a candidate Soeharto preferred. Soeharto overruled this result and approved of the candidate he preferred even though this candidate didn’t get the most votes.

Governor of the Special Region of Aceh: Dr. Syamsuddin Mahmud M.Si
Began his second term in May 1998

Governor of North Sumatra: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Syamsir Siregar
Newly elected. Began term in June 1998

Governor of West Sumatra: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Muchlis Ibrahim
First term governor. Appointment approved by Soeharto prior to death. Term ends in November 2002.

Governor of Riau: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soeripto
Second term governor. Term ends in December 1998

Governor of Jambi: Drs. Abdurrachman Sayoeti
Second term governor. Term ends in December 1999

Governor of Bengkulu: Drs. Adjis Achmad
First term governor. Term ends in November 1999

Governor of South Sumatra: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ramli Hasan Basri
Second term governor. Term ends in November 1998.

Governor of Lampung: Oemarsono
First term governor. Appointment approved by Soeharto prior to death. Term ends in October 2002

Governor of West Java: Lt. Gen. Muzani Syukur
Newly elected. Began term in April 1998

Governor of the Special Capital Region Jakarta: Lt. Gen. Sutiyoso
First term governor. Term ends in October 2002

Governor of Central Java: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Prabowo Subianto
Very newly elected. Due to be inaugurated in August 1998.

Governor of East Java: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Haris Sudarno.
Very newly elected. Due to be inaugurated in August 1998

Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta: Prince Paku Alam VIII
Position held for life. Inaugurated October 1988

Governor of West Kalimantan: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Aspar Aswin
Second term governor. Appointment approved by Soeharto prior to death. Term ends January 2003

Governor of Central Kalimtan: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Warsito Rasman
First term governor. Term ends in July 1999.

Governor of South Kalimantan: Drs. Gusti Hasan Aman
First term governor. Term ends in March 2000.

Governor of East Kalimatan: Drs. Awang Faroek Ishak
Very newly elected. Began term in April 1998.

Governor of South Sulawesi: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Zainal Basri Palaguna
Second term governor. Appointment approved by Soeharto prior to death. Term ends in January 2003.

Governor of Central Sulawesi: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Bandjela Paliudju
First term governor. Term ends in March 2001

Governor of North Sulawesi: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) EE Mangindaan
First term governor. Term ends in March 2000

Governor of Southeast Sulawesi: Laode Kaminuddin
Second term governor. Appointment approved by Soeharto prior to death. Term ends in December 2002

Governor of Bali: Ida Bagus Oka
Second term governor. Term ends in August 1998

Governor of West Nusa Tenggara: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Warsito
Second term governor. Term ends in August 1998

Governor of East Nusa Tenggara: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Herman Musakabe
Second term governor recently re-elected. Term ends in April 2003.

Governor of Maluku: Saleh Latuconsina.
Firsr term governor. Term ends in April 2002.

Governor of Irian Jaya: Jacob Pattipi
Second term governor. Term ends in April 2003.

Governor of East Timor: Clementino Dos Reis Amaral
Recently elected. Term ends in June 2003.
28: Consolidate
28: Consolidate
4th August 1998:

At a special session of the East Java Provincial DPRD, Haris Sudarno received the most votes, easily besting out Ary Mardjono. Both Haris Sudarno and Ary Mardjono’s names would now be submitted to the President.

It was around dinner time when President Try Sutrisno met with Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas who officially reported to him the results of the two elections. Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, and Operational Control of Development Secretary Sugeng Subroto also sat in on the meeting.

“The information I got, Mr. President, is that most of Ary Mardjono’s supportersdirected most of their votes to Haris”, Ari Sudewo reported.

“Why would they do that?” Edi Sudrajat asked “Ary Mardjono’s their candidate right?”

“Because they want to pressure me to accept Prabowo’s election”, said Try as he signed off on both men’s elections “It wouldn’t be a good look if I approved Haris Sudarno’s election but I disapproved of Prabowo’s election, would it?”

“The Governorship of Central Java was always the real price”, explained Harsudiono “Ary Mardjono never stood a chance against Haris Sudarno.”

Harsudiono Hartas emerged out of the meeting room to face the press corps. He announced that the President had approved of Prabowo Subianto and Haris Sudarno’s elections. He also announced that Prabowo Subianto will be inaugurated as Governor of Central Java on 24th August 1998 and Haris Sudarno inaugurated as Governor of East Java on 25th August 1998.

5th August 1998:
Try met with Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo. The two discussed about not only the IPTN and Habibie’s other “Strategic industries” projects, conducted by the Strategic Industries Guidance Agency (BPIS). The President said that he will retain Habibie’s projects.

“We’ve spent so much money on these projects that it would be a waste if we just do away them and also the fact that there’s a lot of national pride involved” Try concluded “Most of these strategic industries are not losing money but horribly inefficient.”

Try directed Siswono to submit the strategic industries to an audit by the BPKP and to look for new profitable projects to take on. He also said the BPIS will be an agency responsible to the President but coordinated on a day-to-day basis by the Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology.

The two then worked on filling in vacancies which had been left behind by Habibie when the term began 5 months ago and which had then been filled on a provisional basis. They were just amazed at the amount of positions Habibie filled on a concurrent basis and the trust Soeharto had placed in him.

6th August 1998:
The news of the day continues to be the lay-offs of employees and workers. In the first few months in the crisis and of Try’s presidency, the lay-offs were largely constrained to small and medium enterprises with only large property development companies being the only kind of large-scale enterprises feeling the damage.

The day’s news highlighted that automotive companies such as Toyota and Honda are beginning to cut their factory workers’ shift due to a decrease in the amount of orders. Electronic companies such as Panasonic and Sanyo, on the other hand, are beginning to outright sacking their employees.

“Why is this the case, Mr. Vice President?” asked Try when he had his lunch with Vice President Sumarlin.

“This economy is going to have to hit rock bottom first before it recovers”, Sumarlin said “We’ll still take measures to make the landing as soft as possible and to make the recovery as quickly as possible, but we have to hit rock bottom first.”

At the DPR building, when asked about his reaction to such developments, Hartono expressed his horror and confusion.

“Horror because large amounts of people are unemployed and now have to think about where their income will be from”, said Hartono “Confusion because, is this what all the policies and steps taken by the government has amounted to?”

7th August 1998:
It was approaching the end of another Friday, when there was an urgent request to meet. It was Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas. Try received him while Edi Sudrajat joined to sit in the meeting.

The minister reported that between 10.30-10.40 AM local time, the United States Embassies in Sudan and Kenya were attacked by suicide bombers using trucks loaded with explosives. At the present the number of victims is difficult to determine but the injured are in the thousands but the embassy in Kenya is totally destroyed.

“Minister, I want you to issue a statement condemning the attacks in the strongest terms; Edi, I want you to pass orders down the chain of command and beef up security at the US Embassy here”, Try said “As for me, I’m going to call President Clinton.”

That night Ari Sudewo came in to provide an intelligence briefing. He talked about the likely perpetrators of the attack. It was the first time Try heard of the organization Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden.

“Right now, my question is this: can something like this happen here?” asked Try “What about that guy when you were commander in Solo, the one who ran the school and refused to salute the flag?”

“Abu Bakar Basyir? He ran away to Malaysia” said Ari “Nothing to worry about because he’s still there.”

“Still, I want you to study what just happened over there and see what are the odds that something like that can happen here”, said Try.

10th August 1998:
President Try Sutrisno swore in the following officials today:

*Chairman of the Strategic Industries Management Agency (BPIS): Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Sintong Panjaitan
*Head of the National Standardization Agency (BSN): Bakir Hasan SE., MBA.
*Head of the Aeronautics and Space National Institute (LAPAN): Air Marshal (Ret.) Ateng Suarsono
*Head of the National Nuclear Power Agency (BATAN): Dr. Ir. Yoga Pratomo
*Head of the Nuclear Power Supervisory Agency (BAPETEN): M. Iyos R. Subki, Msc.

Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman and Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi fronted the press. Djiteng said that the appointment of the Heads of Batan and Bapeten is mandated by the Nuclear Power Law of 1997 which stipulates that the nuclear operator and regulatory agencies must be two separate bodies.

Hayono said that this completes the appointments of all the government agencies responsible to the President but coordinated through various ministries on a day-to-day basis.

11th August 1998:
Edi Sudrajat holds a press conference to announce that the President had approved of a reorganization of the State Secretariat.​

The purposes of this reorganization are:
-Continue the State Secretariat’s duty of providing support, advice, and assistance to the President in discharging his duties.
-Expand the State Secretariat’s capacity to provide that support, advice, and assistance.

He then was questioned by the press.

On reorganization being another word for “Centralization”: “Like I said, we are expanding the State Secretariat’s capacity to help the President in conducting his duties. The present State Secretariat structure can be “threadbare” at times. For example, I’ve checked that we’re not that good at legislation. When it comes to laws and regulations, we have lots of drafts bills and legislations that are done but they don’t see the light of day.”

On the State Secretariat changing or not changing: “We’re still the administrative center of the government. In that way we’re not changing. In another way we’re changing in that we’re going to act more like a staff. In the military, the staff provides advice and options to the commander but they also have to anticipate and prepare for contingencies.”

On the State Secretariat overshadowing the Cabinet: “It was President Try’s express wish that the expansion of the State Secretariat would not lead to the overshadowing of the cabinet or the encroaching of the cabinet or that the State Secretariat becomes a ‘state within a state’. Anyone in the secretariat wishes to provide advice or suggestion, they have to do it in writing and everything has to go through me.”

On the choices of personnel to fill the “expanded” State Secretariat: “Well I don’t want to get stuck in a whole military-civilian dichotomy. Suffice to say that when the President picked the people, he wanted the best people that he knew. He wanted people who he had known in the past. He wanted people that know what it’s like to be a staff member who knows the kind of support and advice a commander knows to conduct their duties. That these qualities are mostly reflected in military men are purely coincidental.”

12th August 1998:
At Banda Aceh, demonstrations were held in front of the residence of Governor of Aceh Syamsuddin Mahmud’s office calling for the province to be given more control over its natural resources. In a shot at the government’s establishment of an interdepartmental committee at East Timor, one banner read “We hate to think that there has to be a riot first before we get some attention”.

ABRI personnel under Northern Sumatra Regional Military Commander Tengku Rizal Nurdin were on standby but the protest was peaceful and dispersed on its own.

In Jakarta, the President met with Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Tanto Kuswanto. Tanto reports that exports in the fisheries sector, as with other exports, are doing well on the back of the Rupiah losing its value.

Tanto also reported that what he is required now are boats to patrol Indonesia’s vast maritime territories. Existing Coast Guard and Navy vessels seconded to the department would not be enough. Try ordered Tanto to focus patrols along the most illegal fishing-prone areas such as in the Strait of Malacca and on the Northern Coast of Sulawesi and promised more investment in the future.

13th August 1998:
Habibie welcomed Prabowo Subianto to his house. He greeted the latter as “Mr. Governor-elect”. Prabowo smiled and said that he is in Jakarta to be with the Soeharto Family who has been invited along to the Independence Day Celebrations at the Presidential Palace. He then went on to ask Habibie who he will support for the chairmanship of Golkar at the National Congress. Habibie would not commit but Prabowo told Habibie that he should support Tutut.

“Well, Tutut or any of the other siblings are not too fond of me”, said Habibie “I know that when the old President was alive and just months away from being re-elected, they preferred to see Try re-elected along as vice president rather than me. In any case, I don’t think it’s wise to stand against the President.”

“So it’s true what the rumor mill is saying”, Prabowo said “You’re taking the President’s elevation of BPIS as an agency to be an olive branch.”

“He’s not dismantled my projects that has to count for something”, said Habibie “And even if circumstance doesn’t give me an opportunity o be an ally, I have to return his gesture to show good faith.”

“It would count for nothing in the long run”, replied Prabowo dismissively.

“You still underestimate him, you and your brothers and sisters-in-law” said Habibie while shaking his head “We all thought he was just going to mind the shop for a few months and then it was going to be someone else’s turn.”

“He won by six votes over you”, said Prabowo “Hardly a resounding victory.”

“Maybe if your sister-in-law didn’t dither around, I could be President”, said Habibie.

14th August 1998:
President Try Sutrisno today conducted a ceremony to bestow honors on the nation’s best sons and daughters, a part of the Independence Day festivities.

Singled out for the Bintang Mahaputra 1st Class, the highest honor that could be achieved by a civilian, was former State Secretary Moerdiono. A special citation was read out just as the President stood to give Moerdiono the award saying that the honor was given “In acknowledgement of Mr. Moerdiono’s decisive steps to ensure that the conduct of our nation’s governance continued upon the death of our second President Soeharto.”

After the award ceremony there was a luncheon where the President mingled with the award recipients. Having spent some time with the award recipients, Try headed back to his office accompanied by Edi. He had his State Address in front of the DPR to prepare for.

So we're approaching Independence Day with all of its ceremonies for Try to preside over.

I would say the highlight of this update is the reorganization of the State Secretariat. For all the talk of how the government is "centralized" during the New Order, there's not a whole lot of high-ranking staff at the nerve center. What Try, via Edi Sudrajat, is doing is reorganizing so that it is more beefed up. It would be something along the lines of the Executive Office of the President.

Will post the line-up of the State Secretariat in the next post.

And for all those wondering what he looks like, there's a picture of Edi Sudrajat attached to this. I tried to put it in the middle of the post but couldn't. He's a gaunt looking guy with an officers' moustache but he holds an important post, the State Secretary being the Indonesian equivalent of the White House Chief of Staff.


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Intermission 2: Reorganization of the State Secretariat
Intermission 2:

US Embassy Cable: Reorganization of the State Secretariat
President Try Sutrisno approved of a reorganization of the State Secretariat, the nerve center of the government on 10th August 1998 with the announcement of the reorganization made by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat the next day.

The stated aims of the reorganization of the State Secretariat are as follows:

-Continue the State Secretariat’s duty of providing support, advice, and assistance to the President in discharging his duties.
-Expand the State Secretariat’s capacity to provide that support, advice, and assistance.

What has caused amazement among political observers in the country is not only the muscle that has been injected into the State Secretariat, but the selection of personnel to man it as well. There are bureaucrats, experts from the various fields, even former ministers but it is the military men which the President has surrounded himself which has attracted attention; the sailors, the airmen, the policemen and most notably his fellow Army soldiers.

This last group of people now dominate the State Secretariat; the crème de la crème of the National Military Academy (AMN) Generation. More cynically, if one is already hearing the chatter of those more critically inclined, these appointments merely comprise of those the President had encountered on his way up to the presidency. What all agree on is that the President has armed himself with the capability to run his agenda.

For the benefit of analysts at home, this analysis will provide a description of the changes that has been made as well as a list of personnel.

State Secretariat:
The State Secretariat, headed by the State Secretary, remains responsible for providing administrative and technical support to the President in the day-to-day running of the government, provide support for the President in his role as Head of State, and coordinate the overall activities of the State Secretariat and its constituent sub-organizations.

The first real change is the creation of a Deputy State Secretary’s position. In the past this position has been held ex-officio by the Cabinet Secretary, but this time this role will function as the State Secretary’s right hand. The office will be held by V. Adm. (Ret.) Soedibyo Rahardjo. He was ABRI Chief of General Staff (1988-1992) during most of Try’s tenure as Commander of ABRI and had just completed a stint as Ambassador to Singapore (1993-1997). His daughter is married to one of Habibie’s sons. With a strategic intelligence background (He was Benny Moerdani’s go-to-man on foreign intelligence when the latter was Commander of ABRI), it is widely see that Soedibyo’s appointment will function to put some political muscle into a State Secretariat mostly occupied by professional soldiers.

The assistants state secretary for administration, liaison with constitutional institutions, coordination on non-departmental agencies, and communications are holdovers from the previous organizations. The assistant state secretary for personnel, responsible for all appointments that are the prerogative of the President’s, is a restructuring of a task force that used to be led by Try when he was Vice President.

The new additions are the assistants state secretary for operations (responsible for setting and pushing the organization towards fulfilling KPIs), political affairs, legislative affairs, and judicial affairs (responsible for pardons, rehabilitations and amnesties) of which we would like to highlight 2:

The Assistant State Secretary for Political Affairs will very much be the manifestation of the State Secretariat’s gate keeping role. Anyone who wishes to see the President but is not part of the government has to plead their case before this official before they are allowed to meet the President. The rationale behind this position’s creation is to prevent to prevent “cronies” to bypass government officials and work their way into the President’s schedule as was the case during Soeharto’s presidency.

Our sources tell us that the Assistant State Secretary for Legislative Affairs’ position is very much based on its White House counterpart in the USA. The creation stemmed out of Try’s frustration that the only legislation passed during the first five months of his second term was the Anti-Monopoly Law. The President formerly relied on Minister of Legal Affairs Albert Hasibuan, who was a 5-term DPR member to lobby the DPR but had to bow to the fact that Hasibuan had a department to run. He thus needed a position which can “massage” the process along.

For the first time, an official will be dedicated to supporting the activities of the First Lady in the form of a Secretary to the First Lady.

The Cabinet Secretariat:
The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for providing administrative and technical support to the President in his role as Head of Government as well as the Cabinet as a collective. It is responsible for monitoring policy implementation as well as supporting cabinet meetings.

The three deputy Cabinet Secretaries are responsible for monitoring policy implementation across the broad portfolios of politics and national security, economics, and social policies. It is their task to report inconsistencies and discrepancies in policy across the various department/agencies to the Cabinet Secretary and recommend action to be taken.

Two assistants to the cabinet secretary has been made available to control policy implementation. The first is the assistant for interdepartmental and interagency meetings, who will act as an observer in such meetings.

The assistant for policy implementation will be responsible for setting the standards and parameters of policy implementation. This assistant, when given the authority, can attach itself to a department or agency falling behind in its policy implementation.

The assistants cabinet secretary for meeting support and records and archive provide the administrative support to the cabinet ranging from the finalization of meeting agendas and the circulation of minutes. That the present government is serious about such administrative matters is such that they recruited Dr. Mukhlis Paeni, Deputy Head of the National Archives, to manage the recording and archiving process of cabinet papers.

The Military Secretariat:
The stated brief of the Military Secretariat is to provide administrative support and advice the President in his constitutional role as Supreme Commander of ABRI as well as coordinate security matters as it relates to the President’s personal security.

The assistants for honors and military administration and personnel are holdovers from the previous organization of the Military Secretariat.

To assist the President in conducting supervision for existing military operations, an assistant military secretary’s position has been created whose task is to inspect and monitor the conduct of military operations and report developments accordingly to the Military Secretary.

As it relates to the President’s security, two assistants in the secretariat will be responsible for presidential advance and presidential transport. This formalizes formerly ad-hoc arrangements at the State Secretariat.

Presidential Secretariat:
Concerned with President and providing administrative support to him, the functions of the Presidential Secretariat remained the same with a personal secretary and assistants in charge of funds, protocol, and maintenance of presidential properties.

The speechwriter and translators’ positions, previously appointments made on an ad-hoc basis have been made a formal appointment as well.

Vice Presidential Secretariat:
The Vice Presidential Secretariat continues with its role of providing policy and administrative support to the Vice President. Mirroring arrangements in the State Secretariat, a secretary to the Second Lady’s position has been created.

The Operational Control of Development Secretariat (OCDS):
The OCDS will resume its role of assisting the President in being on top of what is happening in his government particularly as it relates to the various projects run by the various departments.

The innovation in the reorganization will be the OCDS’ absorption of the Inspectorates General of Development. The inspectorates, of which there are four, were created by Soeharto to be his “eyes and ear” in supervising development.

State Secretariat:
State Secretary: Gen. (Ret.) Edi Sudrajat

Deputy State Secretary: V. Adm. (Ret.) Soedibyo Rahardjo
Assistant State Secretary for Administration: Zulkarnain Nasution
Assistant State Secretary for Policy: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soekarto
Assistant State Secretary for Personnel: V. Mshl. (Ret.) Suakadirul
Assistant State Secretary for Political Affairs: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Hariyoto PS
Assistant State Secretary for Legislative Affairs: R. Adm. (Ret.) Roesdi Roesli
Assistant State Secretary for Judicial Affairs: I.N. Suwandha SH
Assistant State Secretary for Liaison with State Institution and Government agencies: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) FX Sudjasmin
Assistant State Secretary for Budgeting and Planning: Prof. Dr. Prijono Tjiptoherijanto
Assistant State Secretary for Communications: Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Nurhadi Purwosaputro
Secretary to the First Lady: Linda Agum Gumelar, S.Ip

Cabinet Secretariat:
Cabinet Secretary: Hayono Isman

Assistant Cabinet Secretary for Meetings Support: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) I Gede Made Sadha
Assistant Cabinet Secretary for Records and Archives: Dr. Mukhlis Paeni
Assistant Cabinet Secretary for Inter-Departmental and Inter-Agency Meetings: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Djoko Lelono
Assistant Cabinet Secretary for Implementation: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Theo Sjafei

Military Secretariat:
Military Secretary: Maj. Gen. Mardiyanto
Assistant Military Secretary for Military Administration and Personnel: F. Adm Marsuhartoto
Assistant Military Secretary for Military Operations: Brig. Gen. Sridono
Assistant Military Secretary for Honors: Irawan Abidin
Assistant Military Secretary for Presidential Security and Advance: Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Soeparno Koesyoso
Commander of the Presidential Bodyguard: Maj. Gen. Endriartono Sutarto

Presidential Secretariat:
Presidential Secretary: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) (Police) Soedjoko
Personal Secretary to the President: Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Monang Siburian
Assistant Presidential Secretary for Funds: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Siswadi
Assistant Presidential Secretary for Protocol, Ceremonies, and Events: Irawan Abidin
Assistant Presidential Secretary for Maintenance of Presidential Properties: Zulkarnaen Nasution S.Sos
Assistant Presidential Secretary for Speechwriting: Djohan Effendi
Assistant Presidential Secretary for Translation and Interpreting: Dino Patti Djalal
Head of the Team of Presidential Doctors: Brig. Gen. Dr. Tony Soufyan MPH

Vice Presidential Secretariat:
Vice Presidential Secretary: Jusuf Anwar SH, M.A.
Assistant Vice Presidential Secretary for Politics and Security: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soegito
Assistant Vice Presidential Secretary for Economics: Sri Mulyani Indrawati S.E., M.Sc, Ph.D
Assistant Vice Presidential Secretary for People’s Welfare: Prof. Yaumil Agoes Achir
Assistant Vice Presidential Secretary for Administration: V.Mshl. (Ret.) FX Soejitno
Secretary to the Second Lady: Ir. Erna Witoelar

Operational Control of Development Secretariat:
Operational Control of Development Secretary: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Sugeng Subroto
Inspector General of Development: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Kentot Harseno
Inspector General of Development: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Moetojib
Inspector General of Development: Ir. Cacuk Soedarijanto
Inspectors General of Development: Ir. Usman Hasan
Assistant OCDS for Data Collection: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Suhardjo BS
Assistant OCDS for Community Complaints: Maj. Gen. Budi Harsono
Assistant OCDS for Departmental/Agency Liaison: Maj. Gen. Nurdin Yusuf


I have a secret obsession on how government institutions are organized ie. how the White House or the UK Prime Minister's offices are organized. Based on such interest, I've always found the organization of the State Secretariat during the New Order disappointing. Like I've said earlier, I've always found it to be threadbare for a place that's supposed to be the administrative center of an authoritarian regime. I've channelled that obsession here.

I also am of the opinion that it's quiet a shame that Try's generation of officers never really got a go at running Indonesia. I'd like to think that ITTL, they get to have a real influence in the running of the country by being involved in the nerve center of the decision making.

Like to give a special shout out to Cornell University's Indonesia Journal and its "Current Data on the Indonesian Military Elite" for the names of the officers I've used here.

Next update:
Eve of Independence Day Address to the Nation and Independence Day festivities
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