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

35: Bringing Them To The Table Part 2
Bringing Them To The Table Part 2
18th September 1998:

President Try Sutrisno held a short cabinet meeting this Friday evening. There was only one item on the agenda and some instructions were given to the ministers.

At 8 PM, the President made his appearance at the Credentials Room of the Presidential Palace. It was from this room that he had had his oath first taken on the day of Soeharto’s death, where he had announced the Cabinet, and where he had announced the economic stimulus. Members of the press corps, cameramen, and photographers alike all focused on him.

“Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Fellow Indonesians,

The banking sector is an important sector in the functioning of our economy. Banks are the home the savings we have earned through hard work and from where we can readily access these funds when we need them. Banks also provide loans, which is what helps finance the commercial activities of various businesses of all sizes be they giant manufacturing conglomerates, medium sized family firms, and even smallscale home industries…

Last year the importance of the banking sector was such that the government initiated a program called Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLBI). The BLBI assists banks in staying liquid so that it can fulfill its functions to the economy. So far, some Rp. 115 trillion rupiah has been injected to 48 banks in Indonesia.

Yesterday, I received a report from the BPKP regarding the results of external audits of both state and private banks which the government had commissioned four months ago. There are two things we can take away from this report:

*The first is that Indonesian banks regularly breach banking laws regarding legal lending limits especially with regard to lending to affiliates…
*Second and more importantly, is the indication that most of the funds which has been disbursed by the Bank Indonesia has been misused for purposes other than to keep the 48 banks which has requested such funds to keep themselves liquid. Calculations as to how much of these funds have been misused is still being finalized but the audit indicates that these funds have been used for such purposes as giving credit to affiliated companies, paying debt to third parties, currency speculation, overseas investment, and operational costs.

These funds have been disbursed out of acknowledgement that the banking sector is of vital importance to the economy…that an overwhelming majority of these funds have been misused constitute a gross breach of trust…

In light of these revelations and the fact that thus far only four banks are negotiating BLBI repayment agreements, I have taken the following steps:

-As has been announced by the State Secretary, beginning at the end of banking business hours today, banks in Indonesia will observe a Bank Holiday of a week. This means that there will be no transactions and no transfer of funds within banks or between banks and from inside or outside the country. I have taken this step to protect the economy and the savings of the Indonesian people from any rash steps by irresponsible elements.

-I also would like to announce that effective immediately, the government will cease the disbursement of all BLBI funds. It would not be in the best interest of Indonesia’s economic recovery and the Indonesian people as a whole if after seeing indication that the BLBI funds has been misused, this government chooses to do nothing…

I hope that the facts has been made clear to the Indonesian people whose interests I dearly wish to protect and those in the banking sector whose self introspection is much desired.

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.”

Try left abruptly, leaving the press corps unsatisfied.

Not content, the press corps went around looking for more information. At the State Secretariat Building, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad held a joint press conference.

“No assets has been seized or no banks have been nationalized”, said Soedradjad “There is only a bank holiday in which no transactions may be permitted.”

“What signal do you think the President is giving to the BLBI recipients?” asked a reporter.

“It is what it is”, said Mar’ie Muhammad “I think the President is signaling to people in the banking sector to think deeply about their actions. It’s their move now.”

The surprise for the press corps was the sight of Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar, Navy Chief of Staff Soeratmin, Air Force Chief of Staff Djatmiko, and Chief of Police Luthfi Dahlan dressed in fatigues.

“ABRI resolutely supports the measures announced by the President”, said Wiranto “It will station units from all four branches to help secure the nation’s financial institutions during the Bank Holiday”.

19th September 1998:
For those conglomerates who had received BLBI funds, it was a sleepless night. There were frantic phonecalls to officials to whom they are acquainted as well to each other.

Sofjan Wanandi, Chairman of Gemala Group and Owner of Bank Danahutama saw Liem Sioe Liong in person. Before Soeharto had died, Sofjan Wanandi had begun advocating for Try’s re-election as Vice President and had welcomed Try’s rise to power. Yet he never realized that Try would take this step.

“We’ve got to come to the table, we’ve got to come to the table and negotiate the repayment of the BLBI with him”, said Sofjan.

“You get the idea”, said Liem “But how long will the others take?”

There are indeed some others willing to see how things play out and yet still some others who are not heeding the call. Samadikun Hartono, owner of Bank Modern, said that he worries this Bank Holiday means that his assets are about to seized.

Another appeared on television saying the following: “President Soeharto began the BLBI assistance but there were never any terms agreed to for us to repay the assistance so technically we don’t have to pay anything”. The show he appeared on was quickly flooded with calls from the audience calling him a “robber” and “thef”.

Ministers also began appearing on television. All declared that they supported the President’s measures. When asked what did the President want, all said that it’s the banking sector’s “move”.

The news caused furor in the international community all whom became concerned that the President was standing off with the banking sector in Indonesia. Calls were made between Washington DC, Tokyo, and Singapore to figure out how they should deal with the situation. In the end it was Canberra who stepped up. Prime Minister John Howard, in the middle of an election campaign, sent the unlikely duo of Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and former Prime Minister Paul Keating to Jakarta.

The President received Downer and Keating accompanied by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas in the afternoon. With Keating keeping quiet, Downer said that Australia is concerned that Try has taken the step of ceasing all assistance towards Indonesia’s banks. He hopes that this step would not cause damage to Indonesia’s economic recovery.

Try explained at length the rationale behind his decision. He gave them a list of the 48 banks, a summary of their audit results and “the lack of effort made at repayment of the BLBI assistance”.

Downer tries again to persuade Try but it was to no avail. Try said that his economic policies had stabilized the currency and that his government had also negotiated a rescheduling of private debt in July where those who have received BLBI assistance would also receive advantage.

Keating remained quiet while Downer tried to protest.

“Why Mr. Downer”, began Try “I thought you in the western world with your free markets would understand the concept of letting economic crisis eliminate inefficient and, in our case, corrupt financial institutions. That’s what I’m doing with these 48 banks.”

“Mr. Keating do you have anything to say?” asked Downer.

“I don’t”, said Keating to Downer’s horror.

“Then we are done here. I have business to attend to as do you I’m sure”, said Try.

On the way back to the Australian Embassy, Downer was unhappy that Keating had kept quiet.

“Don’t you see it you goose?” asked Keating “Try hasn’t gone off the deep end. If he had he would have just gone ahead and taken more drastic measures.”

“Stopping to prop up your banking sector during the crisis isn’t drastic?” asked Downer.

“Only if Try didn’t put in place a Bank Holiday”, said Keating “No, he’s not doing anything drastic. He’s just making sure everybody else isn’t doing anything drastic.”

“What’s the end game?” asked Downer.

“Try wants to get this lot to the negotiating table and talk repayment terms”, said Keating brandishing the paper with the data that Try handed to him and Downer “And I think for all his tough talk, he wants us to help him get them there.”

*
Try reviewed the day’s events with Vice President JB Sumarlin, Mar’ie Muhammad, Soedradjad Djiwandono, Edi Sudrajat, and Deputy State Secretary Soedibyo Rahardjo. Edi said that if Keating is familiar with Indonesia enough, he’d know something is up.

Sumarlin said that he met with Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong. Lee is also worried that the President has lost his mind.

“And what did you say, Mr. Vice President?” asked Try

“I had to act all panicky and urgent but I told him you might just be pulled back from the brink if the owners of those 48 banks are brought to the negotiating table to talk about BLBI repayment”, said Sumarlin.

“Good”, said Try.

“In other news, the ranks of people wanting to negotiate are growing. Sofjan Wanandi is bound to drag a few with him”, reported Edi Sudrajat “Nirwan Bakrie and Fadel Muhammad are also now saying they want to negotiate their banks’ BLBI repayments.”

“Well, at least Ginandjar is using his influence for a good cause”, said Try.

Sumarlin, Mar’ie, and Soedradjad left leaving Try alone with Edi and Soedibyo.

“I don’t know what their game is”, said Try “Taking that much amount of money and then just casually hoping no one will notice or that they don’t have to pay it back.”

There was silence, before Soedibyo Rahardjo spoke up looking at the space in front of him very thoughtful.

“General Benny Moerdani appointed me as ABRI Chief of General Staff in January 1988, a month before you replaced him as Commander of ABRI, Mr. President.

A few days into my tenure, Tutut Soeharto wanted an appointment with me so I gave her the time of day.

Tutut requested that all the procurement of ABRI weapons be handled by her company. She said that President Soeharto has instructed it because weapons procurement could not be handled by just anyone. As a matter of fact, Tutut claimed, President Soeharto had ordered it.

I was aghast. I explained to her in great detail that what she was in effect asking me if she could take over the functions of 350 contractors. I was surprised that she asked that because I knew she was already a successful businesswoman at the time.

So I proposed to her, as a compromise, that she could have all contracts worth over $20 million dollars. But the rest can go to our existing contractors because we’ve got retired officers making a living working for those contractors. She rejected the offer.

Then I said to her “Come on, don’t you have enough money already?”

The meeting didn’t last long after that.”

Try and Edi listened intently to Soedibyo Rahardjo’s story.

“The point is, Mr. President, for these people there is no such thing as enough”, said Soedibyo “The only thing you can do now is stand strong for for the nation because not only do they think there is no such thing as enough."

----
The BLBI is a pretty fucked up for business. Essentially what happened was that Soeharto bailed out 48 Indonesian banks in October 1997. There were no mechanisms for the recipients of the bailout to repay back the funds and there weren't any conditions attached, all the assistance was just given as a matter of course. To this day the total amount there is still money owed to the government and some of the BLBI recipients have ran away overseas to avoid paying back the money they owed the government. It's all very complicated.

Soedibyo Rahardjo's story about Tutut is based on the following link (in Indonesian): https://historia.id/modern/articles/bisnis-senjata-keluarga-cendana-Pdjjg
 
Would like to announce that I'll be taking a hiatus. Real life will not be leaving me much time to do this. Actually, it hasn't been leaving me a lot of time but I just would like to get to a point where it keeps me in enough suspense to continue. Also I need to recharge my AH batteries.

In any case, I think Indonesia is in a good place ITTL. Rp. 4600ish to the dollar, some unemployment though nowhere near the social and racial unrest of May 1998. There are of course people who have become unemployed, disillusioned, and blaming the government,economy and society hopefully we will see that soon.

Try's position as President has been bolstered because of his re-election though as has been seen. Of course you've got also the presence of Soehartoists in the DPR and Prabowo Subianto being elected as Governor of Central Java, standing as potential checks and/or challenges to his authority.

This is late September 1998. I've got things planned out as far as December 1998 and getting more and more vague the further we go along. As I said before, I've got some of the major events already mapped out in my mind but the road there needs to be walked for me to realize what's going to happen. For example, I always knew Try was going to be re-elected (otherwise it'll be a short TL) but I didn't realize till late that he would pick JB Sumarlin as Vice President (thereby giving Indonesia's first Catholic Vice President). I'd always planned for Prabowo to be Governor of Central Java, but I didn't necessarily know what his road to that position would be.

But in any case some things to be expected:
-The negotiation of BLBI Repayment Terms
-The Golkar National Congress
-The Seventh Government Five Year Plan
-Some Army officers will try to seek to define what era Indonesia is in: is it still the New Order or something else?

I'll be around and hopefully make the odd post here or there, time permitting. Thank you so much for all those who have opened this thread, read it, and have commented on it.
 
36: Bringing Them To The Table Part 3
Bringing Them To The Table Part 3
20th September 1998:

It was a slow weekend for the economy as people held on to whatever cash they had out of fear that they would run out and be unable to access their bank accounts.

Chairman of DPR/MPR/Golkar Harmoko made his peace with his immediate predecessor in all three positions Wahono over a breakfast this morning. In the press conference afterwards both Harmoko and Wahono declared their support for President Try Sutrisno’s government and for his present policies regarding the banking sector.

The President himself spent the morning with Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas meeting with Basofi Sudirman. Basofi had been the motor of Harmoko’s still unofficial re-election campaign as Chairman of Golkar and had travelled around Indonesia to most of the Golkar branches.

Basofi said that it’s going to be a fight:
*Wahono will be bringing all of his supporters but Habibie would not be. There are plenty of Habibie’s supporters in Golkar who disagree with him moving into Try’s orbit.

*The East Java provincial branch of Golkar is the most secure at the moment owing to Try, Harmoko, Wahono, and Basofi all being East Javanese. Yogyakarta’s Provincial Branch is also secure because of Hamengkubuwono X’s support for the President.

*Provinces where constituent branches tend towards Harmoko: Bali, South Sumatra, South Sulawesi (Habibie Factor), Central Sulawesi, North Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, Riau

*Provinces where constituent branches are split between Harmoko and Tutut: West Java, Central Java, West Nusa Tenggara, East Timor

*Provinces where constituent branches are leaning towards Tutut: Jakarta, West Sumatra, Lampung, Maluku, Jambi

*Provinces still in play: Aceh, North Sumatra, Bengkulu, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi, Irian Jaya

Meanwhile, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, and Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met with each other. The three agreed that what the President want is not so much to stop propping the banking sector but to bring the recipients of the BLBI to the table to negotiate repayments.

All agreed that they needed what they can to help bring the BLBI recipients to negotiate repayments. There was a question if this would constitute intervention in Indonesian politics from Downer but both Keating and Lee argued that the intervention was for Australian and Singaporean interests not for American, Japanese, or indeed Indonesian interests.

All agreed that such an intervention must be done discreetly. Thus the Australian and Singaporean embassies were ordered to deploy whatever back channels and informal connections they have to reach the owners of the 48 BLBI recipient banks.

It was a busy Sunday for the men and women of the two nations’ diplomats but a productive one, especially once they realized that Liem Sioe Liong and Sofjan Wanandi were trying to gather up the owners of the 48 BLBI recipient banks. The two businessmen combined forces with the two embassies to begin pressuring the owners of the BLBI recipient banks to negotiate repayment terms with the President.

Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo kept tabs on the back channel and informal activities of the two embassies; making contact with attaches from the two embassies when necessary.


21st September 1998:
Paul Keating paid his respects at Soeharto’s tomb in Solo. Keating publicly praised Soeharto and said that “President Soeharto is never afraid of taking decisions in the national interest of Indonesia and I’m sure his family will continue to look after the national interest of Indonesia.”

There was a frown on Tutut’s face as she assembled her siblings plus Soeharto’s cousin Sudwikatmono, and Prabowo Subianto’s brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo that afternoon. Tutut said that Liem Sioe Liong along with other prominent members of the business community as well as Paul Keating and Lee Hsien Loong talking through back channels have all pressured her to and any BLBI recipients from “the family” to negotiate BLBI repayment terms with the government.

Tutut declared that she will take part in BLBI repayment negotiations and encourages Sudwikatmono and Hashim to do the same.

“If the Soeharto family does not go through with this, we’ll be the public enemy”, explained Tutut “And I can’t afford to run for the Chairmanship of Golkar giving the other side free shots at me if I don’t negotiate a repayment.”


22nd September 1998:
Liem Sioe Liong came out of a meeting with President Try Sutrisno. Liem said that all 48 banks which have received BLBI payments have all agreed to negotiate repayment terms with the President. The negotiations will be held tomorrow at Prasetiya Mulya, a business school run by a foundation he had established.

President Try Sutrisno appoints Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Governor of BI Boediono to head the BLBI Repayment Negotiations.

Soedradjad Djiwandono, Mar’ie Muhammad, and Boediono announced that the President have approved of reopening banks which have not received BLBI assistance from the government.


23rd September 1998:
Prasetiya Mulya Business School today played host to BLBI Repayment negotiations. All of the owners of the 48 banks receiving BLBI assistance attended. The government was represented by Vice President JB Sumarlin, Soedradjad Djiwandono, Mar’ie Muhammad, Boediono, Head of IBRA Bambang Subianto, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman, Operational Control of Development Secretary Sugeng Subroto.

The last to arrive but the first to speak was of course the President himself. Try addressed the conference, speaking in measured tones about the economic recovery and the role the BLBI recipients was to play. He did however close his address with ominous tones:

“I hope that all of you will play your rightful part in this nation’s economic recovery. But failing that, know that although I have never named you publicly, your presence here and the banks that has been opened has revealed your identities to the entire nation. Don’t live with the shame because I am willing to forego whatever misuse of funds that you have made if you are willing to do your part.”

With that Try left and the government negotiators, along with their staff, to negotiate the BLBI repayments with the owners, managers, and lawyers of the BLBI recipients.

The negotiations were conducted behind closed doors though the media camped outside of the Prasetiya Mulya premises. True to Try’s predictions, the negotiations revealed to the Indonesian public just who the recipients of BLBI aid were. On the whole, their stocks took a dip, further pressuring them to reach an agreement with the government.

Inside the hall, there were appeals for more time to repay the assistance that had been given as well as appeals for continuing assistance until the banks were ready to pay. The government responded in kind with Boediono playing the good cop, Mar’ie Muhammad playing the bad cop, and Soedradjad Djiwandono as the arbitrator.


21st September-23rd September 1998:
While the wrangling over BLBI repayments continued, other current affairs continued on as usual.

On 21st September, Gatra Magazine published an article entitled “The Government’s Response to Tutut” which focused on those most likely to be nominated as Chairman of Golkar by the government to counter Tutut at the Golkar National Congress. According to the article the following are most likely to be nominated as Chairman:

*Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas
*Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunication Ginandjar Kartasasmita
*Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja
*Minister of Industries, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo
*Minister of Employment and Small Business Oetojo Oesman
*Minister of Civil Service Reform Rachmat Witoelar
*State Secretary Edi Sudrajat

The effect of the article was that the aforementioned ministers could not carry out their agendas without being swamped by reporters asking them about this though Ginandjar seems to be enjoying the attention.

The next day 22nd September, Sarwono and Siswono reported the article to Edi Sudrajat who conveyed the report to Try. Harmoko also phoned in asking what was going on to Try.

The President told both Edi in person and Harmoko that he will get to their concerns in due course because he still has the BLBI Repayment Negotiations to keep abreast of.


24th September 1998
It was around 8 PM on 24th September that a joint 6-men delegation comprising of Soedrajad Djiwandono, Mar’ie Muhammad, and Boediono on behalf of the government as well as Liem Sioe Liong, Sofjan Wanandi, and Nirwan Bakrie on behalf of the BLBI recipients met with the President to talk about the results of the renegotiations. Edi Su

President Try accepted the terms but added some final proposals, which was then discussed in the room next door to the President’s office by the joint delegation. When the joint delegation, after some phonecalls to the other BLBI recipients, returned to the President’s office, they told him that they agree to the President’s proposals. However, they had another issue they wanted to discuss.

Liem said that there are BLBI recipients who at present have contracts with the government, who are worried that they are being targeted. Nirwan Bakrie used the example of Djiteng Marsudi having cancelled a government electricity contract with Sudwikatmono and targeting others. He said that this would be bad for business.

Edi began to open his mouth to say something but was held back by Soedibyo Rahardjo.

“I approved of the Minister of Mining and Energy’s revocation of that contract and I likely will approve whatever proposed revocation because let’s face it, the State Electricity Company is buying electricity at crap prices”, said Try bluntly.

The three businessmen tensed up.

“But let me put it to you this way, I’m willing to continue existing government contracts with all parties provided that they are not a burden to the state’s finances”, said Try “Consider the electricity contracts an aberration. Anything else like roads, airports, factories, whatever kind of infrastructure, I’m willing to let go provided that they do not become a burden on the budget.”

“And if they are a burden, Mr. President?” asked Sofyan.

“In a few months there’ll be something concrete, that’s all I can tell you right now”, said Try “But essentially I want you in the business community to be willing partners in this. I’m not going to revoke contracts but I’m going to want to renegotiate some of those contracts.”

The three businessmen relaxed as the President stood up and there were handshakes all around.

At 11.45 PM, President Try Sutrisno fronted the press to make an announcement. In a live television broadcast, the President announced that the government and the BLBI recipients have come to an agreement regarding the BLBI repayments. The agreement is as follows:

  1. BLBI assistance will cease on the final day of the present fiscal year ie. 31st March 1999
  2. All BLBI repayments will be made in cash over a 5 year payment period.
  3. Capital Adequacy Ratio requirements will be artificially lowered and adjusted throughout the payment period for all BLBI recipients.
  4. Should a bank wish to cease operation it must sign a legally binding “intention to liquidate”. This “intention of liquidate” will include a provision mandating banks to hand over all assets to the government and another provision disqualifying them from repurchasing the assets.
  5. Repayments are to be made each 31st December starting with 31st December 1998
  6. All travel bans will be lifted.
  7. All BLBI recipient banks will be reopened.
  8. The Government will issue a Regulation in Lieu of a Law on Banking

25th September 1998:
A signing ceremony of the BLBI repayment agreement, better known as the Prasetiya Mulya Accords, was held at the Presidential Palace. Try Sutrisno signed on behalf of the government while all the owners of the BLBI recipient banks signed on behalf of their banks.

As their fellow bank owners signed on the dotted line, Tutut, Sudwikatmono, and Hashim Djojohadikusumo sat in the audience and chatted amongst themselves.

“He’s getting to be too powerful”, said Sudwikatmono “He must be stopped.”

“Or at least checked”, added Hashim “No better place to strike at him than at the Golkar National Congress.”

-----
*gasp* *gasp* that took a while. Have been quite busy but there's my post.

Going to go with a bit of a change in format. Normally, I wait until there's enough to form an "episode" (1,500-2,500 words) but considering everything else, I'm going to post when I've got 1-2 days' worth of events.
 
37: Backing The Right Horse
Backing The Right Horse
26th September 1998:

Chairman of ICMI BJ Habibie met with former Commander of ABRI Feisal Tanjung. Feisal said that ICMI should not be neutral at the next Golkar National Congress. Habibie maintained his stance that ICMI members as individuals may support different candidates but that ICMI as an organization will not take sides much less declare one of their own as a candidate. Feisal leaves the meeting disappointed.

At the Palace, the President meets with his four horsemen: State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo, and OCDS Sugeng Subroto.

The focus now turned to the Golkar National Congress. More specifically, they talked about the Gatra article which talked about the possible candidates for the chairmanship the government is considering to take on Tutut.

“I don’t like it, it makes it look like we’re not organized and we’re still making up our minds”, said Edi “When most of those guys have rejected the notion of becoming Chairman.”

“All except for Ginandjar”, said Harsudiono “He seems to really enjoy being asked about whether or not he will nominate for Chairman.”

“He wants to throw his head in the ring” added Sugeng “What’s his support like?”

“He can draw most of West Java, divide South Sulawesi, and can draw Lampung if he nominates”, said Ari.

“I’ll get him to back down”, said Try “I’ll tell him it’s my policy that my ministers are to focus as ministers.”

“I hope you’ll have some sweeteners ready”, said Harsudiono “that’s the only way he’ll back down.”

The talk turned to their candidates: Harmoko as Chairman and Basofi Sudirman as Secretary. They agree they need a Treasurer candidate who is not from East Java.

They also looked at the information shared by Basofi Sudirman to Try and Harsudiono the previous week.

“Kalimantan’s going to be crucial”, said Sugeng to everybody’s "yep" and "agree".

“Ardans’ got that covered, he’s been through Kalimantan this past week and the President’s due to visit there week after the next”, said Edi.

“Ardans is not going to be enough”, interjected Ari “You need more firepower. You need Maulani. He’s a prominent officer and he used to be Commander of the Kalimantan Regional Military Command.”

“That’s why I’ve been trying to get close to Habibie”, Try said “If I get Habibie, I can get Maulani.”

“Habibie’s only given us benign neutrality, Mr. President”, said Harsudiono “That’s different from support.”

“You probably have a better chance of getting Maulani if you can get Feisal Tanjung on board, Mr. President”, suggested Edi.

“Fat chance. We all know Feisal delayed giving me support the day President Soeharto died”, said Try “And we all know he and his group aren’t really big on me…or on us…we’re all Benny Moerdani followers in their books.”

“We still have to fine a way to get to Maulani”, said Ari “He may be the key to all of this.”

28th September 1998:
The President today swore in a batch of ambassadors which included the following:

*Admiral Arief Koeshariadi, former Navy Chief of Staff (1996-1998) as Ambassador to Malaysia
*Lt. Gen. Arie J. Kumaat most recently Commander of the ABRI Staff and Command School (1997-1998) as Ambassador to Philippines
*Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Tarub who until January 1998 was ABRI Chief of General Staff (1996-1998) as Ambassador to Vietnam


Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas says that the appointment of ABRI officers to ambassadors position of ASEAN represents the continuing importance that the government continues to plays on ASEAN in its foreign policy.

President Try Sutrisno chaired a full cabinet meeting after the inauguration of the ambassadors. The following were the results of the meeting:

The Seventh Five Year Development Plan:
All government departments and agencies should have submitted their five year plans to the Minister of Economics and National Development Planning by November so that the plans could be approved and factored into the budget.


Fiscal Policy:
Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad presented on the positive effects the BLBI repayments will have on the government’s budget position. Try said that all the revenue should be computed into preparation for next year’s budget.

The President instructs Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Soeyono to maximize the revenue his department is collecting since his sector is a profitable sector of the economy.


Monetary Policy:
Governor of BI Boediono said that the government will propose its interest rate cut to the IMF the next week. The purpose of the rate cut will be to stimulate economic activity.

Overall Government Strategy:
“All of the above matters discussed today; the next five year development plan, the fiscal policy, and monetary policy; all of these things are set in place so that we can achieve the goal that was set down for us by President Soeharto: A Just and Prosperous Society based on Pancasila.


But key to achieving that wil be for the nation to once and for all get out of this economic crisis. That’s the goal I want to set for the government next year: that Indonesia will be out of the present economic crisis and that all the necessary steps are taken to that end.”


29th September 1998:
Minister of Legal Affairs Albert Hasibuan, accompanied by Edi Sudrajat, announced that the President has today enacted a Government Regulation in Lieu of a Law on Banking. This regulation contains all the provisions which have benn included in the Banking Bill currently in front of the DPR but which has been stuck. Edi Sudrajat calls on the DPR’s support the next time it assembles to pass the bill.

The President met with Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita to talk about various issues in the minister’s area of responsibility.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Ginandjar made an announcement to the gathered media.

“President Try Sutrisno has told me, in response to recent rumblings about the possibility of cabinet ministers nominating for the Chairmanship of Golkar, that he wishes for cabinet ministers to concentrate fully on the task of economic recovery.

Therefore, I can categorically announce that no ministers will be nominating for the chairmanship of Golkar…and that includes me. I can announce to you all that I will not be a candidate for the Chairmanship of Golkar at the Golkar National Congress.”

Edi Sudrajat watched the press conference with the President on television.

“What did you do to buy him not nominating for the chairmanship?” asked Edi.

“I told him he’s going to succeed Habibie as Chairman of the Day-to-Day Presidium and I asked him to recommend one of his guys as candidate for Golkar’s Treasurer.”


30th September 1998
At an event in Yogyakarta’s Sultanate Palace, Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas swore in Hamengkubuwono X as Governor of Yogyakarta to fill in the vacancy left behind by Paku Alam VIII’s passing.

After the event, Harsudiono told Hamengkubuwono that the President has requested him to Chair the Golkar Congress, including the voting process during the election of the chairmanship. Hamengkubuwono agrees.

1st October 1998:
President Try Sutrisno today presided over the Comemmoration of the 30th September Movement/Indonesian Communist Party at Crocodile Hole, East Jakarta.

Among those attending, former Army Chief of Staff and current DPR member Hartono can be seen approaching and then talking to former Commander of ABRI Feisal Tanjung.

3rd October 1998:
This Saturday morning, the President welcomed the visit of Chairman of DPR/MPR Harmoko, Basofi Sudirman, and Jusuf Kalla, a businessman from South Sulawesi. The three were accompanied by Wahono and Ginandjar Kartasasmita. The President was accompanied by Edi Sudrajat and Hayono Isman.

They met for around 30 minutes before Harmoko emerged outside to face the media throng accompanied by Basofi and Kalla.

Hamoko began by outlining the achievements of Try’s presidency which included the stabilization of the Rupiah exchange rate and limiting the damage of the currency crisis on the economy.

“Through it all, Golkar has supported President Try’s efforts to guide this nation towards economic recovery. Through its members in the DPR, Golkar has helped the government pass the Antimonopoly Law and God willing, it will convert the Regulation in Lieu of Law on Banking into a law.

I see this upcoming Golkar National Congress as a referendum on the role Golkar wish to play in this nation’s history. Will it be an important bulwark supporting our nation’s leader in conducting his duties or will it be an obstacle threatening to get in the way of this nation’s noble goals?

I for one know the role that I want Golkar to play and I for one am ready, willing, and able to guide Golkar so that it can play that role.

That is why, I hereby declare that I will be a candidate for the Chairmanship of Golkar at the Golkar National Congress.”

In his office, Try watched with Edi Sudrajat as Harmoko introduced Basofi as candidate for Golkar Secretary and Jusuf Kalla, who is Ginandjar’s recommendation, as candidate for Golkar Treasurer.

“I sure hope that I’m backing the right horse”, Try said.
 
38: Road to the Golkar National Congress Part 1
Road to the Golkar National Congress Pt. 1
4th October 1998:

Appearing on Sunday morning programming, Golkar Secretary Ary Mardjono welcomed Harmoko’s announcement that he will be contesting the chairmanship but resents Harmoko’s comment that anyone who does not show “blind” loyalty to the government is an obstacle. When said that these were harsh words for a secretary to say to his chaiman, Ary said: “It’s a certainty that I won’t be Golkar Secretary, there’s a 50-50 chance that he will be re-elected, either way, my days of working with him will come to an end soon.”


5th October 1998:
From the tribune of honor, President Try Sutrisno presided over ABRI Day celebrations and salued the troops marching past. Accompanying him at the tribune of honour were Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar, Navy Chief of Staff Soeratmin, Air Force Chief of Staff Djatmiko, and Chief of Police Luthfi Dahlan. After the ceremonies, Try had a chat with Wiranto.

“How are the ABRI Headquarters regarding the Golkar National Congress? How are the regional commands?” asked Try.

“ABRI is solidly behind you, the government, and whatever stance you want us to take for the congress, Mr. President”, said Wiranto before adding “I haven’t had the chance to tell you this, Sir, but the “other side” approached me just this last weekend appealing for my support.”

“What did you tell the “other side”?” asked Try.

“Exactly what I just told you”, said Wiranto.

En route to the presidential car at the end of the ceremonies, Try found himself swamped by reporters asking for his opinion about there being two candidates for the chairmanship of Golkar.

“I think that Golkar is indeed lucky to have two fine cadres”, said Try “Who will emerge as the chairman out of the two? I will leave that to the Golkar National Congress.”

Governor of Central Java Prabowo Subianto attended the ceremonies as a recently retired ABRI member. Visiting the Soeharto Family Residence at Cendana Street that day, he discussed tactics ahead of the Golkar National Congress with his sister-in-law Tutut Soeharto. Prabowo says that Tutut will need to pull out all the stops to challenge Harmoko and says not to worry about not getting Wiranto’s support because Wiranto is a “coward” anyway.


6th October 1998:
President Try met with Minister of Industry, Research and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo. Siswono reports that the Rupiah has stabilized enough for large Indonesian businesses and factories to not be afraid of ordering imported material for their enterprise.

President Try, accompanied by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas welcomes the chairmen of the committees in charge of the Golkar National Congress: Chairman of the Organizing Committee Theo Sambuaga, Chairman of the Steering Committee Agung Laksono, and Chairman of the Congress Hamengkubuwono X.

The three came to officially invite Try to attend the Golkar National Congress as well as to talk about preparations of the congress thus far. Agung Laksono reported to the President that the National Leadership Council have requested that each individual member of the national leadership council get voting rights in the chairman’s election. Try, putting on his hat as Chairman of the Council of Patrons for a moment, approved of the changes.

“I supposed it’s only natural that after the Council of Patrons got the right to vote in the chairmanship election that the National Leadership Council would also ask for the vote as well”, said Edi.

“What does that make the magic number of votes Harmoko has to get to win?” asked Try

“301 regency/municipal branches, 27 provincial branches, 44 Council of Patron Members, and 45 National Leadership Council Members”, said Harsudiono “417 people will be voting”.

“209 votes will be required to win the chairmanship of Golkar”, said Edi.

7th-8th October 1998:
Vice President JB Sumarlin, Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, and Governor of BI Boediono welcomed IMF Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer for his visit once every three months.

Over the next two days three Indonesian officials gave the latest updates about the economy. Fischer praised the government on being able to get a deal on the BLBI payments and said that with the currency stabilized, it would be beneficial for the Indonesian economy to lower its interest rates.

While Sumarlin dealt with Fischer, President Try spent the two days touring the province of Riau accompanied by OCDS Sugeng Subroto and Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi. He recognized the natural resource potential of the province and met with community leaders there wanting to have “more of Riau’s destiny” in Riau’s hands.

On the 8th, he visited Batam Island where he was accompanied by Governor of Riau who was also Acting Head of Batam Authority Soeripto. Soeripto also echoed the sentiments Try heard the previous day. Try said he will look into it after the Golkar National Congress because his “in-tray” is full. Soeripto says odds are, Try will have work with his successor because his term is running out in 2 months and he’s not eligible for re-election.

“I know that” said Try “Say, how is Riau doing in relation to the Golkar National Congress?”

“Word on the Riau grapevine that has reached my ear is that Tutut is willing to give a spot on the National Leadership Council to someone from Riau if the Golkar branches here support her for the chairwomanship”, said Soeripto.


9th October 1998:
The President met Stanley Fischer as the latter paid a courtesy visit. Fischer reminded Try that there were still some homework to be done from previous visits but that overall, he is happy with Indonesia’s economic performance.

After Friday prayer, Try had lunch with Chairman of the DPR/MPR Harmoko. Harmoko told him that Basofi is campaigning in West Sumatra and Jusuf Kalla in his native Sulawesi. He tells Try that they are good campaigners. Try tells Harmoko about his conversation in Riau with Soeripto. Harmoko says he knows one Riau person who might fit the bill Tutut is talking about, one of the Vice Chairmen of the DPR/MPR, Syarwan Hamid, is from Riau.

The two appeared to the media throng waiting outside and posed for pictures, saying that the President and the Chairman of the DPR/MPR are on the same page on all “matters on the state”.

11th October 1998:
Deputy State Secretary Soedibyo Rahardjo visited the father-in-law of his daughter, who was none other than BJ Habibie. After some pleasantries, Soedibyo appealed to Habibie for the latter’s support for Harmoko. Habibie said that he was not hostile to the President, that he would not get in the way of Harmoko, but that he will allow ICMI elements within Golkar to whomever they saw fit as Chairman of Golkar.


12th October 1998:
President Try today departed for West Kalimantan ahead of an entourage which included Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Forestry and Environment Ardans, and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman.

Try conducted inspections of projects across West Kalimantan such as defense housing at the Kalimantan-Malaysian border. Try also met with Governor Aspar Aswin, who was a classmate of Wismoyo’s. Aspar told him that West Kalimantan is not secure when it comes to the Golkar National Congress lots of “waverers”.

Try spent the evening and dinner at Central Kalimantan, meeting with Golkar leaders in the province and Governor Warsito Rusman.

“What we want is more Kalimantan faces holding high office in the cabinet and, indeed, in Golkar” they told him.

In Jakarta, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat had dinner with Feisal Tanjung. The two four star generals shot the breeze about being soldiers. The reminiscing culminated with Edi asking Feisal to support by the President by using his influence to sway the vote to Harmoko. Feisal said no and Edi reminded him that five years ago he supported Harmoko.

“I could make the argument that five years ago you and the President didn’t support Harmoko”, said Feisal.

The two at the very least joked about the fact that they were politicians now but it became clear to Edi that Feisal would not budge an inch.

“Then the word on the street these past few days must be true”, said Edi.

“I owe Soeharto a great deal; my military career was looking at a dead end until he put it back on track and put me as Commander of ABRI”, said Feisal “Consider what I’m about to do part of the payment for that debt.”

13th October 1998:
President Try continued his tour around Kalimantan, arriving at the Province of East Kalimantan. Talking with Governor Faroe Ishak and seeing Ardans interacting with East Kalimantan’s Golkar leaders, Try felt that this province could be secure for Harmoko. South Kalimantan could also seemed to be secure

Try was flying back to Jakarta when a phonecall came to him from Edi.

“Mr. President, I have some news”, Edi said “Feisal Tanjung has just come out of a meeting with Tutut. He says he will be supporting Tutut at the Golkar National Congress and will be encouraging his “guys” to vote for Tutut as well.”

The television on the Presidential Aircraft was turned on and there was Feisal Tanjung taking questions from the reporters. Behind him stood Lt. Gen. Syarwan Hamid the Vice Chairman of the DPR/MPR, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) ZA Maulani, and Lt. Gen. Yunus Yosfiah.

“General Feisal”, asked a foreign reporter “Don’t you think that your support for Tutut reveals that the division between a Red and White ABRI as well as a Green ABRI exists?”

“To quote my friend Edi Sudrajat all ABRI is red and white”, said Feisal “But make no mistake, all of ABRI is not represented by the officers orbiting around the State Secretariat at the moment.”
 
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39: Road to the Golkar National Congress Part 1
Road to the Golkar National Congress Pt. 2
14th October 1998:

At ABRI Headquarters, Commander of ABRI Wiranto held a press conference. Flanked by Chief of General Staff Widodo AS and Chief of the Socio-Political Affairs Staff Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Wiranto issued a statement on its stance towards the Golkar National Congress which included the following:

“ABRI continues to stand steadfastly with President Try Sutrisno as ABRI’s constitutional Supreme Commander and it will stand steadfastly with those who have shown their support for the government. At the present moment, it is the stance of ABRI that it will stand with Mr. Harmoko in his bid for re-election at the Golkar National Congress…

As to the matter of certain officers who have declared themselves in support of Mrs. Siti Hardijanti Rukmana, I would say that who retired ABRI officers support is a matter for them as private citizens. However, active duty ABRI officers in this case Lt. Gen. Syarwan Hamid and Lt. Gen. Yunus Yosfiah should support the line that I have just outlined.”

Asked by a media throng just as he emerged from his office, Chairman of the DPR/MPR Harmoko said that he is upbeat because he has the support of the "real" ABRI.

15th October 1998:

In an interview with RCTI, Tutut Soeharto revealed her optimism about her upcoming contest for the chairmanship of Golkar. She thanks those who have declared themselves to be suppoting her.

The President called Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia to congratulate the latter on his swearing-in as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Badawi was elected after UMNO had opted to remove Mahathir Mohammad and Anwar Ibrahim from their positions in an Emergency UMNO General Assembly after their rivalry has only caused political uncertainty in the midst of the Asian Financial Crisis which in turn had led Malaysia to enter a recession.

16th October 1998:

At the DPR, Golkar members who are part of what is unofficially known as the Hartono Caucus gathered for a press conference. These members, who had voted against the Anti-Monopoly Bill, now gathered to declare their support for Tutut. At the same time as they made fun of Harmoko saying that he does not enjoy support both in Golkar and the DPR otherwise he would have been president rather than contesting for the chairmanship of Golkar.

In 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, and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, the President approved of interest rate cuts to stimulate economic activity.

As explained by Soedradjad, Mar’ie, Boediono, and Edi in their joint press conference after the meeting, interest rates had been hiked when the value of the Rupiah had started to fall back in August 1997. Now the economy has stabilized and the currency has stabilized but the economy still needs to grow.


18th October 1998:

In a press conference at Soeharto Family Residence at Cendana Street in Jakarta, Tutut Soeharto announced that her candidate for Golkar Secretary will be Lt. Gen. (Ret.) ZA Maulani. When given the chance to speak, Maulani promised that with Tutut and himself at Golkar’s helm, Golkar will be a force that will be friendly to the ummah.

President Try met with Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo, and OCDS Sugeng Subroto. They five discussed how to handle Maulani being Tutut’s Golkar Secretary Candidate.

“It’s the smart pick”, said Ari Sudewo “He has a military background, he’ll for sure bring some of Habibie’s supporters over, and he’s from Kalimantan, where there are still votes to be fought for. Tutut is planning to cross the line with this pick.”

Edi says he feels Harmoko is not going to win. Sugeng Subroto agrees. The two suggested withdrawing Harmoko’s candidacy and nominating Siswono Yudohusodo as Chairman of Golkar, who was from Kalimantan, if the Kalimatan provinces are still in play.

“It’s too late in the game”, said Harsudiono “I don’t know how Harmoko or Ginandjar would react or whether or not they will play along. If we do that and they bolt, that’s the anti-Tutut votes divided and she’ll win easily.”

“In other words”, said Try “We’ve got to fight with what we have.”


19th October 1998:

By the time President Try arrived at Astana Giribangun in Solo, Central Java, the mausoleum which housed Soeharto’s tomb was covered in the yellow from all of the Golkar delegates presently crowding around and wearing their yellow jackets.

They gathered in the mausoleum with Try sitting front row center directly in front of Soeharto’s tomb flanked on his right by Harmoko as the incumbent Chairman of Golkar and on his left by Tutut. Minister of Religious Affairs Quraish Shihab led those present to pray for the “Success of the Golkar National Congress due to start tomorrow”.

Then, one by one and starting with the President, all present began to scatter flowers on Soeharto’s tomb. Try watched behind him as Harmoko scattered fllowers on Soeharto’s tomb while Tutut held the basket and then Tutut scattered flowers on her father’s grave while Harmoko held the basket. Try looked around and saw television cameras, the image of these two rivals showing unity, at least while paying their respects to Soeharto, were being beamed live across the nation.
 
40: The Sixth Golkar National Congress
The Sixth Golkar National Congress
20th October 1998:

“While saying Bismillah, I hereby declare the Sixth Golkar National Congress open”, President Try Sutrisno said, concluding his speech. Not long thereafter, Try hits a gong to officially open the Golkar National Congress with Chairman of Golkar Harmoko standing beside him.

The odd thing about Golkar National Congress openings is that there was always a pretense of neutrality on the part of the President. Soeharto had attended such congresses in his capacity as President despite being also the Chairman of Golkar’s Council of Patrons and Try, not having any improvements to offer, did the same. It was why Try wore a black suit and tie rather than the yellow jackets all the congress delegates wore.

After opening the congress, Try toured Solo accompanied by Governor of Central Java Prabowo Subianto and Commander of the Central Java Regional Military Command Syahrir MS. Governor was most enthusiastic talking about the government projects that are under way. Try took the opportunity to ask Prabowo what his priorities were as governor.

“Facilitating the government’s stimulus package, maximizing revenue collection and utilization to implement the provincial government’s programs, and attracting university graduates to become civil servants in Central Java”, Prabowo said.

“Prabowo’s overly ambitious, impulsive, emotional, unpredictable”, said Try to State Secretary Edi Sudrajat “But Goddamn, he’s got brains.

While Try headed to the Presidential Palace, Harmoko just barely survived his end of term address. Throughout the address, there were audible laughter and boos when he would claim a success during his term as chairman. It was when a certain part of the audience began singing derisively Mari pulang…marilah pulang…marilah pulang….bersama-sama (“Let’s go…let’s go home together”, a song normally sung in boredom) that Hamengkubuwono X laid down the law as Chairman of the Congress and declared that Harmoko will be heard.

That night Try played host as the entire delegates attending the Golkar National Congress visited the Presidential Palace in Yogyakarta to celebrate the 34th Anniversary of Golkar’s foundation.

21st October 1998:
President Try returned to Jakarta to carry on with his duties of as president while the Golkar National Congress carried on without him.

That day the Golkar National Congress passed amendments to standing orders which made the chairmen of the Golkar regency branches, the members of the Council of Patrons, and the members of the Central Leadership Council voting delegates in the chairmanship election.

The Golkar National Congress also unanimously elected Try Sutrisno to a full five year term as Chairman of the Council of Patrons. This election was never in doubt.

At the end of the day, Try, accompanied by Edi Sudrajat and Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita spoke on the phone with Harmoko, Basofi Sudirman, and Jusuf Kalla to talk about progress.

Harmoko thanked Ginandjar for successfully securing all the votes in West Java while Ginandjar said “You’re welcome” with a self-satisfied smile. Kalla says that he is “fighting” for South Sulawesi’s votes because thereis Yunus Yosfiah campaigning heavily on Tutut’s behalf.

After this larger conference call, Try and Edi called in Ari Sudewo and Sugeng Subroto then together called Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas whose ministerial responsibilities including keeping an eye on such political events. All five agreed that the situation was still fluid.

22nd October 1998:
Things started happening today…and not in Harmoko’s, or Try’s for that matter, favor.

Just as debate and discussion about the rules of the chairmanship election had finished, Ary Mardjono stood up. He called for a motion to be passed calling for the Golkar National Congress to give sole authority to appoint members of the Central Leadership Council to the elected chairman, whoever that may be.

That roused Harmoko, who was sleepy from lobbying for support all night long. Agung Laksono as Chairman of the Steering Committee protested that “This was not in the script”.

Try was also paying attention as was Edi and Sugeng Subroto who joined him in his office to watch what was happening on television. The delegates voted and then counting began. It was in the middle of this, a call came in from Harsudiono.

“The Tutut supporters motioned for this, Mr. President and they wouldn’t have done this if they didn’t think they would win”, said Harsudiono “Someone big just switched over to Tutut.”

Joining his close friends, Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo confirmed that someone has just declared for Tutut and bringing a large bloc of votes over to her.

The motion was passed decisively. Whoever was voted chairman would have sole authority to determine their Central Leadership Council instead of having to share that authority with a team of formateurs as was past practice.

After the vote was over and the congress broke off for recess, all of the reporters, journalists, and cameramen looked for Akbar Tandjung. They found the former Minister of Housing walking down a hallway. In a short statement, Akbar Tandjung declared that he has accepted Tutut’s offer to become the Treasurer of Golkar should Tutut be elected.

In their conference call, Try, Edi, and Ginandjar in Jakarta, Harmoko, Basofi, and Kalla in Solo were all dejected. Harmoko was livid.

“YOU NEVER OPENLY DECLARED FOR ME, MR. PRESIDENT! YOU NEVER DID AND THAT’S WHY I’M IN THIS SITUATION!” Harmoko yelled down the phone.

“WATCH IT, YOU’RE SPEAKING TO THE PRESIDENT, AND HE DOESN’T HAVE TO DECLARE ANYTHING!” yelled Edi back.

“What do we do now?” asked Basofi “Maybe the President ought to do what Mr. Harmoko is suggesting.”

“Things are now too far in motion”, said Ginandjar “Akbar Tandjung’s going to bring with him all of his network, going as far as his student activist days. That's a lot of people who he's calling in favors from. We’re in deep shit.”

After the call was over, Ginandjar walked with slumped shoulders.

“You should have given me the chance to…” Ginandjar said while walking in Try’s direction before Edi got in his way.

“Back off”, Edi growled.

Ginandjar walked to the door with a slumped shoulder.

23rd October 1998:
The President never declared for Harmoko. Not in the months leading up to the congress because the precedent set by Soeharto was that the President never declared for anyone even if he had someone to favor. And especially not now.

In the meantime, others declared against Harmoko. In a press conference accompanied by outgoing Golkar Secretary Ary Mardjono and fellow Vice Chairman of DPR Syarwan Hamid, Vice Chairman of DPR Abdul Gafur declared that he is supporting Tutut and urged his “comrade-in-arms” who have voting rights to vote for Tutut.

Try was in Solo by afternoon. After dinner, the Golkar National Congress got underway again. Hamengkubuwono X first declared that there will be 417 delegates of at the Golkar National Congress with voting rights

After confirming that there are only two candidates for the position of chairman, the voting began. Starting with Try, all 417 delegates voted. There was a loud cheer for Tutut that just utterly crushed Harmoko and made Try think “Oh dear God”.

The votes were then counted one by one. Try sat between Harmoko and Tutut trying to look dignified. Harmoko tried to look cheerful. Tutut was relaxed.

It was not even close, though Harmoko got a fair amount of votes. After a while the congress disintegrated into prolonged cheering, though there were enough who looked dejected at what was happening.

For appearance’s sake, Try shook hands with Tutut and patted her shoulder. Then he shook hands with Harmoko, whose chairmanship of Golkar will be ending soon, and patted his shoulder.

The chanting of “Tutut! Tutut!” and “Soeharto! Soeharto!” only stopped after a piece of paper was handed to Hamengkubuwono X.

“The results are as follows:
Harmoko: 178 votes
Siti Hardijanti Rukmana: 239 votes

I declare Siti Hardijanti Rukmana elected as Chairman…or should I say Chairwoman…of Golkar!”


Later, while Try and Harmoko made quiet exits, Tutut was hoisted on the shoulders of her supporters and paraded around. Struggling to keep her headscarf intact, Tutut spoke into a microphone that was handed to her.

“This is a victory for Golkar! This is a victory for the New Order! This is a victory for those who believe in President Soeharto!” she proudly declared.

24th October 1998:
At the closing session of the Golkar National Congress, President Try Sutrisno officially swore in Tutut as the new Chairwoman of Golkar.

At the conclusion of the small ceremony, Try was the first to shake hands with Tutut.

“I guess it’s official now, Madam Chairwoman”, said Try “Congratulations and looking forward to work with you.”

“Thank you very much, Mr. President”, replied Tutut “Looking forward to you too.”

Both wondered how long cordial relations would last.

----
Tutut Soeharto’s official name is Siti Hardijanti Rukmana for all those wondering.

I suppose things can’t always go smoothly for Try. The situation that he’s entering now is akin to the President of the United States having a Chairman of the Republican/Democratic National Committee who is hostile to him.

In this TL nation never saw the Rupiah plummet to $1= Rp. 17,000, May 1998 riots, and Soeharto lose all credibility. So it's not beyond ridiculous or laughable to be a supporter of Soeharto unlike in OTL where you facepalm at the sight of Tommy Soeharto creating his own political party and wanting to bring back "The good old days".
 
Well shit. This will be hard for Try but we might see the decline of Golkar if the former New Order leadership keeps blocking government effort to recovery.
 
@deepoceanblue and @Pilatypus:
I'd figure that would be the reaction to Chairwoman Tutut.

The idea of a Golkar National Congress where Tutut emerges victorious is something which I had always thought about since first formulating this TL. I wanted it to parallel what happened OTL to Habibie.

In OTL May 1998, Habibie takes over as president after Soeharto resigns. In June, Golkar agrees to hold an Extraordinary Congress in July (Extraordinary because it will be held 3 months ahead of schedule). In the maneuverings that follow, Habibie backs State Secretary Akbar Tandjung as chairman while Harmoko chooses not to renominate and back Akbar instead. Meanwhile the other candidate facing off against Akbar for the chairmanship is Edi Sudrajat, backed by none other than Try Sutrisno and Soeharto.

Habibie survives this challenge to his presidency when Akbar Tandjung finally emerges victorious over Edi after Habibie deploys Wiranto to mobilize the ABRI vote for Akbar. Try botches things for Edi by emphasizing the fact that Soeharto was backing them a little too much and turning the congress off Edi.

The difference between OTL Habibie and ITTL Try is that Habibie survives the challenge while Try now has to co-exist with Tutut. But the other difference is that the economy is in a better shape ITTL than OTL. Some interesting dynamics ahead.
 
When is the next election coming up?
April-June 2002 for the legislative elections. March 2003 for the MPR Session.

At the moment, I don't think there's an urgency to go to an early election the way Habibie had to OTL.

But that may or may not change. As I've said in another post, I write in this day-to-day format because it allows me to get a feel of whether or not something is or isn't going to happen.
 
41: The Shadow of Soeharto
The Shadow of Soeharto
25th October 1998:

Tutut had remained in Solo after the Golkar National Congress had closed to celebrate her victory with the rest of the Soeharto family. She makes special acknowledgement of her brother-in-law Prabowo and thanks him for recommending ZA Maulani and Akbar Tandjung to be her Golkar Secretary and Treasurer.


26th October 1998:
President Try Sutrisno, accompanied by Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat today attended the opening of the Jakarta Stock Exchange. Though the event had been set in his calendar months ago, his attendance made it look like he was trying hard to make sure that it was still okay to do business in Indonesia after Tutut’s rise as Chairwoman.

“Were you defeated at the Golkar National Congress yesterday?” asked a foreign reporter, always asking such helpful questions.

“The Golkar National Congress is over and we should respect the results”, said Try before Edi helped escort him away.

In the car, Try asked Edi to get into contact with Harmoko and asked that a vote be held to pass the Government Regulation in Lieu of a Law on Banking into a law.

Harmoko swears in Marzuki Darusman and Jacob Tobing as DPR members. The two filled in the vacancy left behind by Roesdi Roesli (who became Assistant State Secretary for Legislative Affairs) and Burhan Magenda (who became Governor of West Nusa Tenggara). The two were also appointed to give teeth for Try supporters in the DPR in the face of the Hartono Caucus.

27th October 1998:
Harmoko officially hands over the keys to the Golkar Central Leadership Council building to Tutut, who will begin to go to office there as Chairwoman of Golkar.

That afternoon, with the cameras of the media trained on her, Tutut reads out the list of her 45-strong Central Leadership Council. She said that she has asked for time to meet with the President to introduce her team and for the President “to get a good look at us”.

Edi Sudrajat had dinner at Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita’s office. Ginandjar seemed frustrated and began ranting about how it should have been him facing off against Tutut at the Golkar National Congress.

“The rice has turned to porridge on that, pal”, said Edi “What I want you to know is whether you’re still loyal to the President.”

“He’s the best we’ve got right now”, said Ginandjar calming down “How’s he holding up? What gameplan he wants to try?”

Edi told him what the President wants to do.

“Don’t”, said Ginandjar “It won’t go unnoticed that the President has not punished the two vice chairmen of the DPR that supports the other side. The waverers will go over to the other side because they’re not seeing strength. The Tutut supporters will for sure test the President with a vote.”

“What should his play be?” asked Edi.

“Get Harmoko to remove both Syarwan and Abdul Gafur. Take down two vice chairmen of the DPR, people will take notice.”

“They’ll still try to test him with a vote”, said Edi.

“They’ll test him either way”, replied Ginandjar “But there’ll be less wavering because people will see that the President has strength.”


28th October 1998:
President Try Sutrisno accompanied by Minister of Employment and Small Business Oetojo Oesman as well as Minister of Female Empowerment, Youth and Sports Khofifah Indar Parawansa attended a Youth Day event hosted by the Indonesian Youth National Committee and the Indonesian Young Businessmen Association which also included an exhibition of small businesses.

Chairwoman of Golkar Tutut lunched with members of the Hartono Caucus to get to know them as well as to learn what’s on the legislative agenda at the moment.

29th October 1998:
The President accompanied by Edi Sudrajat lunched with Chairman of DPR/MPR Harmoko. The latter has recovered from his defeat. Try told Harmoko that he would like to see the Banking Law officially passed in the DPR. Harmoko said that the best step now is to hit back at Syarwan Hamid and Abdul Gafur for openly flaunting the fact that they voted for Tutut. Harmoko also said that as Chairman of DPR, it’s difficult to work with two vice chairmen who are undermining him.

Harmoko said the mechanism’s easy:

*For Syarwan Hamid, since he’s an ABRI officer, the Chairman of the DPR in consultation with the Commander of ABRI can recall the member.

*For Abdul Gafur, the Chairman of the DPR in consultation with the Chairman of Golkar can recall the member.

“How likely are you that you can convince Tutut to consult with you about removing Gafur?” asked Try.

Harmoko produced a letter he had written in his last days as Chairman of Golkar. The letter was addressed to himself in his capacity as Chairman of the DPR asking for the removal of Gafur.

Edi smiled at Harmoko’s ingenuity but was surprised that Try was less than enthusiastic. He thanked Harmoko on the President’s behalf and said that orders will be passed along to Wiranto to begin the procedures to remove Syarwan Hamid from the DPR.

As the day himself, Edi chatted with Sugeng Subroto about how the President seems to want to pass the Banking Law rather than assert his leadership. Both agreed it looks like the President is taking the loss at the Golkar National Congress worst than Harmoko and that he should be “guided along”.

30th October 1998:
President Try met with Commander of ABRI Wiranto who came with ABRI Chief of Socio-Political Affairs Staff Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Yudhoyono wanted to meet with the President to seek permission to hold an Army Seminar. The Seminar will look at the situation in Indonesia after the death of President Soeharto in a wholistic way and present recommendations as to what step to take in the future. Yudhoyono estimates that it will be held in February. Try gave his approval and asked Yudhoyono to ask for as many input as possible from society.

Edi noted that the President did not discuss with Wiranto about Syarwan Hamid.

1st November 1998:
Benny Murdani came to the Presidential Palace today. He and the President had afternoon tea and talked about light subjects. It was the President who began to talk about the “heavy stuff”.

“Why did our side lose at the Golkar National Congress?” asked Try.

“Because the other side wanted it more, Mr. President”, said Benny “They control the governorship of Central Java and 49 seats in the DPR but all that is nothing compared to the chairmanship of Golkar. That chairmanship, that’s where they can really be the thorn in your flesh.”

Try and Benny shoot the breeze some more before a quiet lull provided Benny with the opportunity to discuss what he wanted with the President.

“Your State Secretary worries about you”, said Benny “He says you’re shying away from removing Syarwan Hamid and Abdul Gafur as Vice Chairmen of the DPR and from the DPR.”

“It’s not a productive exercise”, rebutted Try.

“It’s showing you have authority, Mr. President”, said Benny “I can assure you there’ll be plenty more than 49 members in Hartono’s caucus, there’ll be plenty of governors who’ll switch sides, and God knows what your cabinet will be thinking…”

“I’d rather get on with the Banking Law…” Try said before turning away his face.

“Mr. President…Mr. President”, said Benny but not getting a response “Try!”

“I know it’s Tutut I’m facing off with”, began Try “But I can’t help but feel her father’s shadow hanging behind her and over me.”

Benny sighed.

“Try…only 40% of my life has been about my family and myself. The other 60% has been about Soeharto. When he made me Commander of ABRI, the last unit I commanded was a battalion. After that I was in intelligence. I owe him, I admire him, and I’m loyal to him.”

“Then you know what I’m dealing with”, said Try.

“More than you know”, said Benny “But loyalty doesn’t always mean submission and I considered it loyalty when I warned Soeharto that he was losing control of his children.

It was Soeharto’s good fortune that he died when he did. If what I heard was true, he was wavering beween doing what knew was right and listening to his children. That doesn’t bode well for him or for the country.

Maybe in some other dimension he survives his stroke and leads the country into such a bad situation that he fell from power in some massive unrest and the idea that people can chant his name the way his name was chanted at that congress would be laughable at best.

But you’ve been so good at dealing with this economic crisis that we never got to see how bad things can get. Instead, you’ve got Soeharto’s children, his cronies, and that son-in-law of his looking at you with disdain for taking away from them what they think is their right.

I don’t blame you for feeling indebted to Soeharto, Mr. President. It shows that you are loyal. But those people: Tutut, Prabowo, Hartono, and God knows who else, they’re going to tear this country apart if they’re able to get to where you’re sitting now.

Don’t be afraid to get out of his shadow and do what’s best for the country, Mr. President.”

---
Wikipedia article of Benny Murdani https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardus_Benjamin_Moerdani

Try is essentially suffering from guilt of having to face off with the daughter of someone who had been his patron. In the process acknowledging Tutut's status as his most prominent political opponent.
 
42: Recovery From Defeat
Recovery From Defeat
2nd November 1998:

President Try, accompanied by Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Deputy State Secretary Soedibyo Rahardjo, and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman, were today visited by Chairwoman of Golkar Tutut Soeharto who brought her entire 45-member Center Leadership Council.

It went well enough for what it was though Try got the sense that the officials who were with him were sizing up those in the audience while those who were with Tutut had a look of “slight sarcasm” on theirs. Lots of handshaking, a group photograph, and the meeting was over

“They’re pretty hostile people if you ask me”, said Harsudiono when they were finished.


3rd November 1998:
President Try met with Minister of Education Wardiman Djojonegoro. Wardiman came to introduce Director General of Vocational, Technical, and Further Eduation Dr. Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, a new official appointed to a newly created position.

“We have to empower the future generations and we do that by giving them options”, said Try “We want to empower them so that they want to become employees, entrepreneurs, civil servants or learn a trade and vocation.”

4th November 1998:
The President today chaired a full cabinet meeting with the only item on the agenda being a report by Operational Control of Development Secretary (OCDS) Sugeng Subroto on the implementation of the Stimulus Package which includes the following:

-Roads, schools, housing, or any piece of physical infrastructure of bad quality need to be followed up. The contractors have to be put under review. The people from the departments who deal with them should also be reviewed lest there be some bribery involved in the tendering process.

-Reports are coming in of jobs in infrastructure projects being sold to the highest bidder by field managers. Again contractors need to be put under review.

-The Governments’ business crash course continue to have course providers charging money to those attending when in fact the official price for attending such a course is free.

The President instructed all ministers to follow through on the recommendations given by the OCDS.


5th November 1998:
A busy morning for Harmoko as he met with Commander of ABRI Wiranto and then chaired internal meetings with the Leader of Golkar in the DPR Irsyad Sudiro and the other leaders of Golkar in the DPR.

At 10 AM, Harmoko held a press conference in which he announced that Wiranto has written and consulted with him about the recalling of Syarwan Hamid from his DPR seat and his position as Vice Chairman of the DPR. Harmoko also pointed to a letter he wrote whilst still Chairman of Golkar asking for the recall of Abdul Gafur. Harmoko says that such requests are “well within legislation” and he will get to them.

The DPR building was a locus of activity. Syarwan Hamid said that “I’m about to leave active duty anyway” while Abdul Gafur sarcastically said this “Had nothing to do with who they supported at the Golkar National Congress”. Irsyad Sudiro meanwhile issued a statement that regardless of what happened at the National Congress, the majority of those in the DPR building still support the Presidency of Try Sutrisno and the Chairmanship of Harmoko.

Hartono went to Harmoko but did not get a sympathetic hearing from the latter who simply said that he had signed on the dotted line for both Syarwan and Abdul Gafur.

At the State Secretariat, when asked what was the government’s stance on the matter, Edi Sudrajat said “This is a matter for the DPR to solve and I believe it is being solved.”

It was afternoon when Tutut called a press conference. She said that the recalling of Syarwan and Gafur was done “subjectively and unilaterally” and said that she would like to revoke the letter which her predecessor as Chairman of Golkar had sent.

Tutut did not give up and arrived at Harmoko’s office in the evening, whereupon Harmoko made her wait for 3 hours. Harmoko only met with Tutut because he was about to head home. It was a tense scene that had security getting ready to break up a fight because Harmoko had Irsyad Sudiro the Leader of Golkar in the DPR with him while Tutut had Hartono and Ary Mardjono with her. Thankfully it never eventuated with Tutut challenging Harmoko to put Abdul Gafur’s removal to a vote the next morning on the DPR and Harmoko accepting.


6th November 1998:
Edi, Harsudiono Hartas, and Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo sat around a table as the votes for the motion “This Council Has No Confidence in Abdul Gafur as Vice Chairman of the DPR and that He Should Be Recalled as DPR Member”. The PPP, PDI, and ABRI members had abstained thinking that this was an internal Golkar matter.

The final votes were:
*325 votes in favor
*175 votes in abstention

The DPR has no confidence in Abdul Gafur as Vice Chairman of the DPR and that he should be recalled as a DPR member.

“This is a victory for us isn’t it?” asked Edi.

“Not so fast”, said Harsudiono “Either they don’t have the numbers or they don’t want to reveal how much support they have on a vote like this. Poor Abdul Gafur just became a fall guy.”

“Why bring on the vote then?”

“Maybe Tutut’s a novice and miscalculated”, Ari Sudewo said “Then she got advice that it's best not to reveal her hand and show how much support they have on a needless vote. But these things happen when Tutut's real political brains is busy being Governor of Central Java.”

7th November 1998:
Try Sutrisno, in his capacity as Chairman of Golkar’s Council of Patron, names a new 45-person Council of Patron.

8th November 1998:
The President invited his “Four Horsemen” for breakfast at the Presidential Palace: Edi Sudrajat, Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto. After the four busted the President’s balls about finally recovering from the Golkar National Congress, they conducted a post-mortem about the Golkar National Congress.

It was widely agreed by all that Tutut’s picks for Golkar Secretary (ZA Maulani) and Golkar Treasurer (Akbar Tandjung) brought a lot of votes her way. ZA Maulani collected votes from the Kalimantan branches while Akbar Tandjung collected votes from branches with links to the Islamic Youth Association which the latter is a senior at.

“Based on my intel, while Tutut has her hardcore supporters within Golkar, a sizeable chunk of the votes that went her way said that they are genuinely 100% behind the President but that between Tutut and Harmoko, the choice for them is simple”, reported Ari.

“So you’re saying we should’ve backed a different candidate for Chairman?” asked Try.

“We ddidn’t have a lot of choice”, said Harsudiono “It’s either we back someone else, divide the anti-Tutut vote, and make it easy for her to win or we hold our noses, support one candidate, and have a tight contest.”

“Except it wasn’t a tight contest”, said Sugeng Subroto.

“OK, OK that’s enough”, said Edi “Let’s get on to the next question, what should the President do now?”

“This is how I read it”, began Harsudiono “There’s at least 49 DPR members in the Hartono Caucus if the vote against the Antimonopoly Law a few months back is anything to go by. There will be those wavering to join that caucus but any the moment, they’ll think twice or risk losing their DPR seat if they go ahead. That said, I think the President should protect his flank in the DPR. Time to consolidate the DPR members that are supportive of the government.
 
43: Legislative Deadlocks, Summits, and Unsubstantiated Rumours
Legislative Deadlocks, Summits, and Unsubstantiated Rumours
9th November 1998:

In a short ceremony at the Presidential Palace, President Try Sutrisno names Mrs. Fatmawati, Indonesia’s 1st First Lady as a National Hero. Accepting the award on Fatmawati’s behalf is her eldest daughter, Megawati Soekarnoputri.

In the meet and greet with the Soekarno family, Try accompanied by Edi Sudrajat, took Megawati Soekarnoputri and her husband Taufiq Kiemas aside to talk about political issues. Try asked if there was anything Megawati could do to get the PDI to support the Banking Law. Megawati joked that Try named her mother a national hero just so he could talk to her. On a more serious note, she said that the only way she can be of assistance to Try is if she’s “inside the political system” and the fact of the matter is, she’s been out of it since removed as Chairwoman of the PDI by Soeharto. Try looks grim.

On the way home, Megawati told her husband Taufiq Kiemas that she could not understand why Try cares so much about 11 PDI votes. Even without the PDI votes in the DPR and even without the 49 members of the Hartono Caucus, Golkar still has 276 votes.

“For lesser mortals like us, it doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day it’s Golkar who rules the DPR”, explained Taufiq “But for them, so used to large majorities and unanimous passing of bills, 49 votes against one of their laws from within Golkar, that has to hurt. It’s all psychological here.”


10th November 1998:
The President today led Heroes’ Day commemoration at Kalibata Heroes’ Cemetery. He laid flowers at the tomb of Captain (Posthumous) Pierre Tendean, who died at the hands of the 30th September Movement. Tendean was Try’s junior and like him, an Army Engineer.

Try invited Vice President JB Sumarlin into his car on the way back to the Presidential Palace. Try asked Sumarlin how are the markets perceiving “recent political events”.

“The Rupiah has remained stable, maybe even a bit stronger”, said Sumarlin “That’s either a vote of confidence in your continuing leadership or, as the other side may like to see it, a sign that the Chairwoman of Golkar is accepted by the markets.”


11th November 1998:
The President, accompanied by Chairman of BP-7 Soegiarto, opened a P4 Session attended by Athletes as he had promised a few months ago.

Chairman of PDI Soerjadi paid a courtesy call to Chairwoman of Golkar Tutut Soeharto. The two posed for pictures. Soerjadi said that people should not forget that the PDI which he led is the one acknowledged by the government is the one that was recognized by the then-President Soeharto and then-Vice President Try Sutrisno.


13th November 1998:
Governor of BI Boediono and Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad fronted a DPR hearing today to introduce Government Regulation In Lieu of a Law Regarding Banking as a bill to be passed as a law.

“The Government has introduced the bill and obviously there’s some kind of a logjam, so the Government has issued a Regulation In Lieu of a Law”, said Mar’ie “And now it asks this honorable institution’s cooperation to pass this regulation"

It was the two ministers’ misfortune that there were members of the Hartono Caucus in the committee they fronted. They were asked whether or not it was the correct decision for the economy that the nation’s “captains of industry” be more susceptible to prosecution in the new law.

“I should hope that anyone in the banking industry, be they owners or employees, should be more susceptible to prosecution if they break the law”, said Boediono.


15th November 1998:
In a small party at the Presidential Palace and accompanied by First Lady Tuti Setiawati, Try Sutrisno celebrates his first birthday as president. The youthful looking President turns 63 today.

16th November 1998:
President Try today welcomes Prime Minister John Howard of Australia who was re-elected at an election the previous month. Try and Howard talked about cooperation in various areas. In education, cooperation was already germinating with Minister of Education Wardiman Djojonegoro and Minister for Education David Kemp which will see two Australian university open campuses in Indonesia.

17th November 1998:
The President this morning departed for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the APEC Summit at the head of a delegation which included:

*Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas
*Minister of Trade and Investment Dorojadtun Kuntjoro-Jakti
*Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo
*Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Soeyono
*State Secretary Edi Sudrajat
*Head of BKPM Mari Elka Pangestu

Try met a lot of people. He met with Vice President Al Gore from the USA. who came representing Bill Clinton. Try also sat down with President of Russia Boris Yeltsin saying that he regrets the purchase of the Sukhoi has not eventuated yet because of the crisis but that he is open to closer Indonesian-Russian ties in other areas. Try and Yeltsin commits to facilitating trade between the two countries.

Try also attended Isra Miraj commemoration hosted by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

There was some controversy when before dinner, Al Gore made a speech that drew outrage from the hosts: “"Democracy confers a stamp of legitimacy that reforms must have in order to be effective." He went on: "And so, among nations suffering economic crises, we continue to hear calls for democracy, calls for reform, in many languages - People Power, doi moi, reformasi. We hear them today - right here, right now - among the brave people of Malaysia."

18th November 1998:
Today is the photo-op session with all the other APEC economies leaders.

Today’s key meeting is with President of China Jiang Zemin where Try promoted Indonesian tourist sites as places where Chinese tourists could go to. Jiang said that he would allow Indonesia to set up tourist promotion offices in China provided China could do the same. Try agrees.

In between meetings, Ali Alatas was asked about whether or not Gore’s speech applies to Indonesia. “There have been no calls for democracy because Indonesia is a Pancasila Democracy, there have been no calls for reforms because Indonesia is conducting reforms, and while Indonesia is suffering economic crisis, Indonesia is coping with it”, said Alatas.

The news from Indonesia today is that the Banking Regulation In Lieu of a Law and the government’s request that it be upgraded to a law is still stuck in the DPR because it has tuned into a cross-examination of the Try government’s economic policy.

19th November 1998:
In the morning, the President and his delegation flew from Kuala Lumpur for Tokyo, Japan. Arriving at Tokyo after lunch, Try and his delegation were entertained by Emperor Akihito. The evening was spent dining, meeting, and greeting the members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The last agenda for the day was preparing for tomorrow’s meetings as well as talking about developments from home with Edi.

“So the DPR passed a Consumer Protection Law?” asked Try skimming a piece of paper “Giving me the authority to go after false advertising is good but what about the banking law?”

“The Hartono Caucus passed that to make it look like they’re not obstructionist”, said Edi “But I’m hearing they’re still grilling Boediono and Mar’ie about it.”

Try told Edi to look for away for the bill to pass the DPR’s Economics and Finance Committee and into the general assembly of the DPR when they get back from Japan.


20th November 1998:
Try met with Prime Minister of Japan Keizo Obuchi. Obuchi said that the Japanese economy is struggling but that the Japanese cabinet had passed a stimulus package. Try said that Japanese economic recovery is welcome because Japan is an export market for Indonesia. Try also welcomed Japan’s continuing aid package throughout the crisis.

Just as they had wrapped up for the day, Try and Edi got a phonecall from Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman and Deputy State Secretary Soedibyo Rahardjo. They reported that a mysterious brochure is doing the rounds in Jakarta claiming that “Try Sutrisno and Edi Sudrajat Fighting Over A Widow”.


21st November 1998:
Touring a factory with their delegation in Yokohama, Try and Edi had a difficult time concentrating. Try read the fax of the mysterious brochure which had been sent to them. The brochure claims that a widow called N had become a “Lady of the Night” in Jakarta where Try Sutrisno and Edi Sudrajat, both majors general, “fought over her”. The lady chose to become Try’s paramour and their relationship only ended when Try became Vice President.

The matter spread across Indonesian newspapers and on the internet, that by the time Try met the Indonesian community in Tokyo at the Indonesian Embassy in Tokyo, a member of the audience asked the question.

“The First Lady is here with us, I can tell her with a straight face and I can tell you all that I don’t know what the story in that brochure is talking about”, said Try “And I can speak for the State Secretary as well.”

22nd November 1998:
The President had a conference call with Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Attorney General Soedjono C. Atmonegoro, and Chief of Police Luthfi Dahlan. He ordered all the brochures seized and charges laid against the origins of the brochure. He also asked that newspapers be given one more day to cover the news before a government statement is released and all coverage of this matter must cease.

With his delegation, President Try then flew back home. On the flight he took the opportunity to repeat what he said to the Indonesian community living in Tokyo. The President had a meeting with his delegation to discuss the visit to Japan. The consensus was that Japan’s economic recovery is what is best for Indonesia not only because Japan is an export market but also because if Japan is forced to rely on its own exports for recovery, it will be another competitor for Indonesia in the world export market.

The President’s plane landed in the evening at Palembang, South Sumatra where he will spend the night there.

23rd November 1998:
Accompanied by Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar, new Governor of South Sumatra Maj. Gen. Bimo Prakoso, and Commander of the Southern Sumatra Regional Military Command Ryamizard Ryacudu, Try inaugurated a refurbished defense housing complex, the result of the stimulus package launched six months ago. The President spent the day touring Palembang and its surrounds before flying back to Jakarta in the afternoon.

In Jakarta, Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunication Ginandjar Kartasasmita and Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman held a press conference. Hayono Isman said that the government has taken steps to seize the brochures and identify the person who originally distributed the brochures to be arrested. The two officials called for all newspapers, television channels, and various other forms of media to cease from reporting the news regarding the “brochure with the false rumor” because this will only disturb stability. The government, through the Department of Information, Post, and Telecommunication will take steps if this warning is unheeded.

---
Covered two weeks with lots of things going on from the Hartono Caucus dragging things out with the Banking Law, APEC and the visit to Japan, and a rumor about Try and Edi Sudrajat.

The spread of the rumor about Try and Edi happened in OTL around this time as well. The only thing I changed about it is the fact that the rumour was spread on an anonymous brochure that has been photocopied and spread around. In OTL, the rumour was spread by Warta Republik Magazine, a magazine that used the newfound freedom of the press after Soeharto’s fall.

In OTL, Try pressed charges on the magazine though what became of the case has never been made clear. Here, given that he is the president, he uses the might of the apparatus that’s available to him.

This is the story in question: http://arsip.gatra.com/1999-01-04/majalah/artikel.php?pil=23&id=75219 (In Indonesian)
 
44: One Year of Try
One Year of Try
24th November 1998:

The President breakfasted with Chairman of DPR/MPR Harmoko and talked about the latest developments in the legislature. Harmoko told Try that the Consumer Protection Law was a bone thrown to appease him while the run-around continues for the Banking Law.

The two talked about the two vacant Vice Chairman of DPR positions. Harmoko said regarding the Vice Chairman of DPR’s position from ABRI, he will leave that to the President’s discretion. Regarding the Vice Chairman of DPR’s position from Golkar, Harmoko advised to take a “consensus” candidate that is acceptable to both Try and Tutut.


25th November 1998:
President Try Sutrisno and Vice President JB Sumarlin co-chaired a social policy meeting attended by Minister of Education Wardiman Djojonegoro, Minister of Health Broto Wasisto, Minister of Religion Quraish Shihab, Minister of Social Affairs Meutia Hatta, and Minister of Female Empowerment, Youth, and Sports Khofifah Indar Parawansa. State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman, Head of Bulog I Gede Awet Sara, Head of BKKBN Nafsiah Mboi and Head of BPS Gunawan Sumodiningrat also attended.

The meeting results are as follows:
-The general consensus is that the measures have been implemented more smoothly than the economic stimulus though I Gede Awet Sara said that Bulog will review the employees it is using to drive the rice distribution trucks because of reports that they are soliciting “tips”.

-Those deemed by BPS data to be below the poverty line will have their children’s primary school fees abolished. This is to prevent school children from dropping out as a result of their parents’ decreased financial capacity.

-Gunawan Sumodiningrat reported that 1998’s poverty level is set to be 18%. This is up from 11% in 1996 but not as bad as expected.

The day ended with minutes of Golkar’s Central Leadership Council meeting from the previous day, led by Chairwoman of Golkar Tutut, being submitted to Try. The meeting agreed that no DPR members would be removed from their seats on account of their stance at the Golkar National Congress. The meeting also nominates Theo Sambuaga to take up the vacant Vice Chairman of the DPR position left behind by Abdul Gafur.


26th November 1998:
Try, accompanied by Edi Sudrajat, met with Ginandjar Kartasasmita accompanied by CEO of TVRI Roni Sikap Sinuraya. The guests today came to report about the editorial line to be taken by the TVRI on the 29th November to commemorate the 1 year anniversaries of Soeharto’s death and Try’s accession to the Presidency. Try approved of a coverage which would highlight Soeharto’s achievements in life but would also emphasize the fact that he is Soeharto’s constitutional and legitimate successor.

In a later meeting, Presidential Secretary Soedjoko reported that Tutut had written a latter to the President saying that they could not attend prayers for Soeharto’s 1 year anniversary to be held at the Presidential Palace because they would like to have their own private event. Try and Edi agreed that it was reasonable.

27th November 1998:
Edi Sudrajat met Matori Abdul Djalil of the PPP. Matori explained that the PPP’s official stance is to wait and see until Golkar gets a consensus on the Banking Law. Edi said that the PPP will be waiting for a long time if that's what is aiming for. He asks for Matori and his PPP faction’s support should the bill be put to a vote. Matori said he will help and says he will bring as much votes with him as possible.


29th November 1998:
The one year anniversary of Soeharto’s death was marked by TVRI with special coverage but which was not the wall-to-wall coverage of the previous year which began with news trickling through that Soeharto had died and ended with his funeral. The special coverage was to be simulcast by all the private television networks.

A four hour bloc after lunch was set aside for a 2 hour documentary of Soeharto’s life, a 1 hour special report on Try Sutrisno’s 1 year presidency, and a 1 hour interview with former State Secretary Moerdiono.

What captured the attention of the nation was the interview with Moerdiono who spoke about what happened from a year ago.
On the moments after Soeharto’s death:
“The President was pronounced dead at 5.50 PM. Those of us who were present shed tears, prayed, and wondered how all this was going to play out.

Some were very much thinking about how all this was going to play out, they were the first to stop praying and began talking about “arrangements”…who was going to be what in the new government…it’s unethical for me to say who these people are but I will only say that they are very much still in public life today.

Someone slid over next to me, it was General Wiranto, who was then still Army Chief of Staff. “What do we now?” He asked.

“We’ve got to get to the Vice President, tell him what happened, and get him sworn in”, I replied “And we’ve got to do it before these vultures get to the crown.”

“Okay”, said Wiranto “I’ve got the Presidential Bodyguard and the West Java Regional Military Command on standby.”

“That will do for now”, I said standing up “We have to be quick.”

On Try:
“For me, he is this nation’s legitimate leader and I’m saying this not just as a form of lip-service. He’s legitimate in three ways:

He’s legitimate because he was President Soeharto’s last Vice President and so he is the constitutional successor of President Soeharto.

He’s legitimate because he’s put himself forward at the 1998 MPR Session and he’s been given the trust to become president once more and he has that mandate to govern the nation for a five year term.

And he’s legitimate because look at what’s happening around us as a result of the Economic Crisis and look and what’s happening to us. Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand all in recession and Indonesia surviving this crisis, though we can’t just take things for granted, of course.”
---

The nation witnessed a visual spectacle that night on television. At the Presidential Palace, Try Sutrisno and Chairman of the DPR/MPR Harmoko sat front row center and said their prayers in an event attended by ministers, state officials, and ABRI’s top officers.

At Cendana Street, Soeharto’s former residence, the six Soeharto children and their spouses (including Governor of Central Java Prabowo Subianto) presided over a prayer service attended by former ministers, longtime associates, and diehards of the deceased president.

The mistake was that all the television channels broadcasted showed live shots from both events and placed the shots side by side on the television screen showing that Try and Tutut’s events were happening separately but simultaneously.

At his house, Chairman of NU Abdurrahman Wahid nodded sagely when he was told what was happening by his daughter Yenny.

“The President has limited the damage of the financial crisis and is trying to position our nation for economic recovery and this will be his main achievement in one year of office”, said Wahid “But where has he fallen short? I would say that he has fallen short in uniting the political elite the way Soeharto had. He’s in a partnership with Harmoko but only because he has to; he has tried to buy Habibie’s support by continuing the latter’s projects but has thus far only gotten neutrality; and that Golkar National Congress, boy oh boy that showed that Tutut and the die hard Soehartoists are most definitely not on his side.”
 
Headaches
30th November 1998:

President Try Sutrisno today officially transferred the functions of the Department of Transportation’s Coast Guards, the Department of Finance’s Customs and Excise marine patrol, and the Department of Defense and Security’s Marine Security Coordinating Agency to the Department of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Tanto Kuswanto expressed his gratitude for the President’s confidence in the new department in a press conference after his meeting with the President.

1st December 1998:
President Try Sutrisno and Vice President JB Sumarlin co-chairs a full cabinet meeting to discuss the upcoming Ramadhan Month. The results of the meeting includes the following:
-Minister of Religious Affairs Quraish Shihab said that Ramadhan is predicted to begin on 20th December 1998 though his department will conduct calculations.
-Minister of Population, Transmigration, and Rural Development Hendropriyono proposes that the government takes advantage of the “migration” period at the end of Ramadhan to provide free transport out of Indonesia’s major cities for the urban unemployed back to rural towns where they might find better employment prospects. The President approves of the plan.

2nd December 1998:
RCTI aired a special feature tonight after the news, a special one hour event covering Governor of Central Java Prabowo Subianto’s first 100 days in that position. Prabowo said he has emphasized the improvement of revenue collection and conducting a thorough audit of the provincial government’s spending to ensure that Central Java is getting every Rupiah’s worth of money in the first 100 days. Prabowo also said that he will be prioritizing provincially-funded projects that are nearby central government projects so that both central and provincial government projects alike will help generate economic growth for Central Java and contribute to the national economic growth.

3rd December 1998:
The President met with Commander of ABRI Wiranto. The two agreed that Maj. Gen. Hari Sabarno will take over ABRI’s DPR Vice Chairmanship and will be promoted to lieutenant general. Maj. Gen. Fachrul Rozi, presently Operations Assistant at ABRI Heaquarters, will take over Hari Sabarno’s position as Leader of ABRI in the DPR.

Wiranto said that these changes will result in a chain reaction and an ABRI Command Shuffle will be on the cards. Try gives Wiranto a week to prepare the command shuffle.

4th December 1998:
President Try invited Chairwoman of Golkar Tutut and Golkar Secretary ZA Maulani to Friday prayer at the Presidential Palace. After the prayer, the President had lunch with his two guests with State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Deputy State Secretary Soedibyo Rahardjo also attending.

Tutut asked for assurance that those who had voted for her at the Golkar National Congress would not receive repercussions the way Abdul Gafur and Syarwan Hamid had the previous month.

“All those who had not openly bragged that they had voted for your election are still in their positions, Madam Chairwoman”, snapped Edi with annoyance that Tutut was asking for reassurances from the President.

“What happened to them are still legal according to the law”, said Try.

“Mr. President, if I may”, said ZA Maulani “What do you think about Theo Sambuaga for Golkar’s Vice Chairman of DPR position? We think that he's someone everybody can accept.”

“He is indeed”, replied Soedibyo Rahardjo “If by acceptable to all meant that he began by voting for Chairman Harmoko at the MPR Session, switched over to the Chairwoman and ended up voting for the President.”

“The political situation at that MPR Session is fluid as you may well know”, said ZA Maulani.

“Theo Sambuaga is acceptable to me, Madam Chairwoman”, said Try “Provided that you get Hartono, Ary Mardjono, and all those other guys to back off the Banking Bill and help pass it into law.”

“Why, Mr. President”, said Tutut pleasantly “Hartono and his men are just expressing their opinions. It’s common for DPR members, even from Golkar, to have differing opinions than those of the President and the government. My father went through this phenomenon as you would have known.”

“I’m aware, Madam Chairwoman”, said Try “Though during President Soeharto’s time, those dissenting Golkar members didn’t vote against a government bill as they did when the Anti-Monopoly Law was passed. You’re the Chairwoman. You should be disciplining these unruly members.”

There was a tense quiet in the room as Try and Tutut stared each other down.

“My stance is as before, Mr. President”, said Tutut “But you are the President and the Leader of Golkar. I will get Hartono and his men to give their support for the Banking Law though I hope that you wil give your approval for Theo Sambuaga as Vice Chairman of DPR.”

6th December 1998:
President Try Sutrisno was the guest of honour today at the 8th anniversary of ICMI’s Foundation. He had the seat of honor with Chairman of ICMI BJ Habibie sitting besides him. Try delivered the keynote address, which included praise that ICMI was a “force for good” in today’s Indonesia. Habibie was also effusive about Try. The real chat between the two however, happened during the Islamic arts and culture performance on stage.

“We both talked very highly of each other today, Mr. Chairman, but I wish that you would throw your weight and that of ICMI behind the government”, said Try.

“There are ICMI members who have asked what you have jus asked for from me, Mr. President”, said Habibie “But there are a great deal many more who still remember you as the person who never issued an official security permit when we held our first meeting. I have to take them into account.”

Try knew that was his weak point. As Commander of ABRI, he had adviced Soeharto against approving the formation of ICMI and Habibie’s chairmanship of the organization.

“That’s in the past”, Try said “I’m not hostile against ICMI. ICMI’s television network is still going ahead and of course there’s the IPTN and your other projects which are still continuing.”

“For which I’m thankful”, said Habibie “But like I’ve said to Tutut, I won’t get in her way and I won’t get in yours, I just want a good relationship with both of you.”


7th December 1998:
Busy day in the DPR as Chairman of DPR Harmoko conducted a ceremony comprising of the following:
*Basofi Sudirman sworn in as a new DPR member from Golkar to replace Abdul Gafur
*Fachrul Rozi sworn in as a new DPR member from ABRI to replace Syarwan Hamid

Votes were taken and the results are as follows:
*Theo Sambuaga becomes the new Vice Chairman of DPR representing Golkar
*Hari Sabarno becomes the new Vice Chairman of DPR representing ABRI
*Fachrul Rozi becomes the leader of ABRI in the DPR


9th December 1998:
President Try Sutrisno accompanied by Edi Sudrajat met with Chairman of the PPP Ismail Hasan Metareum and the PPP’s top members. Metareum pledged the PPP’s support to pass the Banking Bill into Law.

Later that day, Try also met with Chairman of the PDI Soerjadi and the PDI’s top members. When asked to support the banking bill, Soerjadi said that he will on the condition that the President removes Sutijipto as Minister of Public Works, Housing, and Urban Development because the minister is not a member of the “legitimate PDI”. The President rejects this offer with Edi dismissing PDI’s 11 members in the DPR as insignificant.


10th December 1998:
Commander of ABRI Wiranto announced an ABRI Command shuffle, the highlight of which are as follows:
*Maj. Gen. Djaja Suparman becomes ABRI’s new Operations Assistant. He is a Wiranto ally.
*The President’s son-in-law Maj. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu takes over Suparman’s old post of Commander of the East Java Regional Command
* Maj. Gen. Agus Wirahadikusumah becomes Assistant of Socio-Political Affairs. He will be working closely with Lt. Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the latter’s role as Socio-Political Affairs Chief of Staff.

In other news the Riau Provincial DPRD has elected Syarwan Hamid as the new Governor of Riau.

11th December 1998:
In an important development at the DPR, the Banking Bill was passed by its committee this morning with Hartono Caucus member Ary Mardjono speaking strongly in favor of the bill saying that he “merely” wanted to test the bill for possible “defects”.

After lunch and Friday prayer, the DPR sat down for a plenary session to vote on the bill. As Harmoko begins reading the text to officially call for a vote, DPR member Soerjadi, representing the PDI interrupted. Harmoko recognized Soerjadi and called on him to speak.

“Mr. Chairman, honorable members of the DPR. I have nothing but praise for this bill and could not wait to see it passed into law.

That said, I believe that the new Banking Law should not only protect our people from those in the banking industry but that it should also provide for alternative ways for people to go about their banking activities.

Accordingly, the PDI would like to introduce amendments so that Sharia Banking could also be included as a legally acknowledged type of banking. I hereby table the PDI’s proposed amendments and ask that the proposed amendments be distributed to the honorable members of the DPR.”

***
The President gathered Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo, and OCDS Sugeng Subroto for a late night meeting.

“What do you all make of this?” asked Try.

“I’d say they just pulled the religion card on you, Mr. President”, said Sugeng Subroto “But the PDI? I can’t imagine them to be the one pulling this on you.”

“I don't think so”, said Ari “This has got Tutut all over it. Look at it this way, she’s pledged support for the bill in exchange for Theo Sambuaga’s elevation as Vice Chairman of the DPR and she’s done that because her guys in the DPR aren’t blocking the bill anymore. So the only way she can do this is through Soerjadi.”

“They’ve only got 11 seats”, said Sugeng “We can afford passing this without the PDI’s 11 seats right?”

“I wish it was that easy”, said Edi “Our man in the PPP, Matori, he’s saying that the PPP is considering backing out of their pledge to support the bill unless the government supports the amendments. They’re the “Islamic party”. They’ve got a lot to lose and that, in addition to whatever Islamist sentiments their DPR members may have.”

“We’ve got to work the DPR again next week, Edi”, said Try “You don’t have to make the trip to the ASEAN Summit.”

The President looked around and saw that Harsudiono was silent.

“What do you think?” Try asked “You’re silent.”

“I think we really have got to think about what’s going to end up happening between our side and Tutut’s”, Harsudiono replied “All I’ve seen in the close to two months she’s been Chairwoman of Golkar is the two of you trying to one-up each other.”

“Not entirely true”, said Try “We got a Consumer Protection Law and agreed on a Vice Chairman of the DPR.”

“She’s playing nice so nobody can say she’s undermining the government”, said Harsudiono “You don't really buy that do you, Mr. President?”

“I don’t, Harsudiono”, said Try “But we’ve got to play nice as well.”

“Why?” asked Harsudiono.

“Because I need a good 1999 for the economy to recover and I can’t have that if the Chairwoman and I are at odds with one another”, said Try “We need to create political stability.”

“I think Mr. President, we need to look beyond 1999”, said Edi “This DPR’s term finishes in October 2002. I can’t imagine what else Tutut has in store for you in the DPR.”

“Or outside of it”, said Ari “Prabowo’s Governor of Central of Java and Syarwan Hamid’s been elected Governor of Riau. That’s a resource-rich province in the hands of a hostile.”

Try massaged his scalp. He didn’t quite know how Soeharto could’ve held on for three decades at such a stressful job.
 
45: Headaches
Just some notes regarding the situation that has developed between Try Sutrisno and Tutut Soeharto:

-One of the rumors swirling around in Jakarta in the years and months leading to Soeharto’s fall from power was that Soeharto was preparing his eldest daughter Tutut. It’s unsubstantiated but there are signs heading in that direction, most notably Soeharto’s decision to appoint Tutut as Minister of Social Affairs in 1998 and the support Tutut enjoys within elements of Golkar to the extend that these elements preferred her to be VP.

-How Tutut will eventually succeed to the presidency is also speculation. But the path there was thought to have also included the Chairwomanship of Golkar. That she will be minister and concurrently Chairwoman of Golkar is not without precedent because since 1983, the Chairman of Golkar had also been ministers, sub-cabinet officials, and Chairmen of the DPR/MPR at the same time.

-ITTL Tutut does not command enough power to become president but has more than enough to build a winning coalition to win the chairwomanship of Golkar.

-Try is uncomfortable taking on Tutut. Out of his inner circle (Try plus Edi, Harsudiono, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng) , he’s the one that is most sympathetic to Soeharto. All the others have in some way, shape or form ran afoul of Soeharto or have not been liked by him.
 
46: The End of 1998
The End of 1998:
12th December 1998:

President Try Sutrisno breakfasted with Chairman of DPR Harmoko at the Bogor Presidential Palace. Harmoko agreed with the analysis of Try’s inner circle that “Tutut and co.” had just pulled the religious card on him. Try asked if Harmoko could call an emergency session of the DPR.

“The DPR’s gone into recess now and it’ll be at recess until 4th January when you’re due to introduce your draft budget”, said Harmoko “In any case most of the DPR members would’ve already jetted off for their end of year holidays by the end of the weekend. That or they wil be thinking about how they will respond to the amendments introduced by Soerjadi.”

“What are my options, Mr. Chairman?” asked Try.

“Get something that is acceptable and will pass”, said Harmoko “And pass it early in the next seating period otherwise they’ll try to get concessions out of your budget as the price for passing the banking bill.”

Meanwhile, in a press conference at Golkar Headquarters, Chairwoman of Golkar Tutut said that she has told the President that she will support the Banking Bill and that remains her stance. However the amendments introduced the previous day is a matter of “conscience” and not one of “party discipline.”

14th December 1998:
State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Finance Ma’rie Muhammad, Minister of Religious Affairs Quraish Shihab, and Governor of BI Boediono held a joint press conference after their meeting with the President.

-Mar’ie Muhammad and Boediono explained that both the existing Banking Law and the bill proposed already recognized the existence of Sharia Banking. It is just the case that Sharia Banking is acknowledged as “Profit-sharing banks”.

-Quraish Shihab said that these “Profit-sharing banks” share the characteristics of Sharia Banking and there isn’t an urgent requirement to have “Sharia Banking” explicitly acknowledged as such.

-Edi said that the President respects DPR Member Soerjadi’s rights to introduce amendments or for Golkar, PPP, and ABRI members in the DPR to revise their stance towards the bill in light of the amendments. That said, the government will prepare a response to the amendments introduced.

15th-16th December 1998:
President Try accompanied by Edi Sudrajat and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas spent these two days attending the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. Ali Alatas looked on with a wry smile as both publicly during the sessions and in private meetings, ASEAN’s Heads of State and Governments acknowledged Try’s success in limiting the damage of the Asian Financial Crisis. Try took it all in good stead with a bashful smile. The only downer came from the Malaysian and Singaporean delegation who complained about smoke from forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra being blown in their directions.

Back in Jakarta, a small group of protesters representing the Indonesian Committee for World Islamic Solidarity (KISDI) gathered outside the Vice Presidential Palace. They demonstrated against Sumarlin’s role of as the “Architect” of the “Sharialess Banking Law”. Sumarlin was Minister of Finance when the present Banking Law was proposed nad passed.

The next day the demonstrations were larger and a combined force of Jakarta Regional Military Command and Jakarta Metropolitan Police Personnel had to disband the crowd.

17th December 1998:
En route back from Hanoi, President Try landed in Manila where he met with President Josef Estrada on a short 1 day visit. Try and Estrada discussed closer relations and pledged cooperation fighting piracy.

18th December 1998:
The President touched down in Jakarta at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. He decided to answer questions and have an impromptu press conference just as he was about to get into his car.

“I think the people demonstrating in front of the Vice Presidential Palace over the course of two days should learn about our political system”, Try said when asked what he thought of the protests in front of the Vice Presidential palace “We’ve got the channels through which those aspiratios can be expressed.”

“What about the comment of the present Banking Law being “Sharialess”?” asked a reporter

“I recognize the sentiments which the proposed amendments introduced in the DPR had given rise to and would like to reiterate that the government will have some proposals of its own just as soon as the DPR gets back into session”, said Try.

21st December 1998:
Trucks bringing quite literally a wad of money arrived at the Bank Indonesia (BI) building. Overseeing the large amount of cash being unloaded were Mar’ie Muhammad, Boediono, and Head of IBRA Bambang Subianto.

“This represents the first installment of the BLBI Repayments as agreed to in September”, announced Bambang Subianto.

22nd December 1998:
After a meeting with President Try, Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja announced the deregulation of orange, cashew nuts, and vanilla trade. Farmers of these agricultural commodities are now free to sell their products to whomever they want rather than to government-selected distributors and cooperatives. This fulfills the commitment made by the government to the IMF in April 1998.

23rd December 1998:
The President had an iftar dinner with Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Abdurrahman Wahid, Chairman of Muhammadiyah Amien Rais, and Chairman of the Indonesian Clerics Association (MUI) Ali Yafie to discuss what has become known as the “Sharia Banking Amendments”. Minister of Religion Quraish Shihab sat in on the meeting.

The meeting ended in a deadlock with Wahid favoring the status quo (Sharia Banking mentioned as “profit-sharing banks”, Amien in favor of the amendment (Sharia Banking explicitly acknowledged), and Ali Yafie saying that the MUI would like to leave the decision to the discretion of the government.

24th December 1998:
President Try attended the final day of the Indonesian Furniture and Handicraft Expo at the Jakarta Convention Center accompanied by Minister of Trade and Investment Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo, and Minister of Forestry and Environment Ardans. The furniture and handicraft sectors did well in the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis with the drop in the Rupiah’s value making Indonesian-made furnitures and handicraft prices cheaper in the world market.

Among the many furniture businessmen he met that day, Try met a Solo furniture businessman who stressed the importance of branding. This thin businessman said he nicknamed himself Jokowi to differentiate himself from the other Indonesian “Jokos” and “Widodos” on the international market.

28th December 1998:
Try met with ABRI Chief of Socio-Political Affairs Staff Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Governor of the National Defence Institute (Lemhanas) Agus Widjojo, and Assistant of Socio-Political Affairs Agus Wirahadikusumah. The three officers came to officially invite him to the Army Seminar to be held on 15th February 1999 to discuss the direction which Indonesia will be heading in the wake of Soeharto’s death. Try accepted the invitation.

30th December 1998:
Try lunched with Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas. Harsudiono reported that he had inaugurated Syarwan Hamid as Governor of Riau two days prior. He said that since Prabowo’s inauguration as Governor of Central Java, the following governors have been appointed:

*I Made Bandem as Governor of Bali
*Burhan Magenda as Governor of West Nusa Tenggara
*Hamengkubuwono X as Governor of Yogyakarta
*Bimo Prakoso as Governor of South Sumatra
*Syarwan Hamid as Governor of Riau.

In the discussion that followed, Harsudiono asked Try about whether the latter still intended to look into the provinces getting a larger share of government revenues.

“I want to”, said Try “But you’ve got Prabowo in Central Java, Syarwan Hamid in Riau and God knows who else is going to make it tough for us.”

“We’ve got to raise the issue sooner or later”, said Harsudiono “Otherwise we’ll be in a lot of trouble if more of the provinces elects governors who are not friendly to us or worse, switches over to the other side. We’ve got to be sure that when we’re in a tough situation that the provinces are going to side with us rather than with them.”

Try shrugged in agreement ordered Harsudiono to start looking at the options available for the provinces getting a larger share of the government revenue.

31st December 1998:
Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Soedradjad Djiwandono, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman, and Head of BPS Gunawan Sumodiningrat held a joint press conference to reveal some indicators about the economy at the end of the year.

The key indicators are as follows:
-Economic growth: 3.9%
-Unemployment Rate: 9%
-Inflation: 14% (mostly driven by the rapid drop in Rupiah value in January 1998)

On a sector per sector basis, construction was the sector hardest hit by the crisis. Manufacturing was a mixed bag with slowdown in domestic demand (Ie. Electronics and automotive) but increased demand in terms of exported manufacture (ie. clothing and shoes). Tourism is a successful sector.

“The government has been successful in halting the slowdown in our economy as a result of the crisis and will be looking to switch policymaking from damage limitation to recovery in 1999”, announced Soedradjad Djiwandono.
----
Well, we’ve arrived at the end of 1998.

Comparison with Indonesia’s OTL 1998 Economic report card:
-Economic growth: -13% (https://ekonomi.kompas.com/read/2012/10/05/11473246/indonesia.perlu.10.tahun.pulih.dari.krisis)
-Unemployment Rate: 20% (https://news.detik.com/kolom/4032343/memori-krisis-moneter-19971998)
-Inflation: 78% (https://databoks.katadata.co.id/datapublish/2018/05/21/inflasi-sempat-melambung-hingga-77-pada-1998)
 
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