Feith - 1968 - Suharto's Search for a Political Format

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Suharto's Search for a Political Format Author(s): Herbert Feith Source: Indonesia, Vol. 6 (Oct., 1968), pp. 88-105 Published by: Southeast Asia Program Publications at Cornell University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3350713 Accessed: 18/06/2009 05:13 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=seap. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]

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March has been the month of big political in decisions Indonesia for three now. In March 1966 President years Soekarno, faced with a tumult of hostile student and with demonstrations, from a self-confident unprecedentedly threatening pressure newly over most of his powers to the comarmy leadership, signed mander of the army, General Suharto. In March 1967, Indonesia's the M.P.R.S. super-parliament, (Interim Consultative met in an atmosphere People's Congress), of great tension. that Suharto had concluded could Soekarno not be persuaded to cooperate with the army on terms which its and so had to be thrown out; it acknowledged hegemony, seemed to many that an attempt to oust the president might lead between to a clash units and of the armed services pro-Soekarno Order But Thanks units. this averted. was militantly pro-New to Suharto's skills to and caution, and his willingness steering leave Soekarno the vestigial it was of his old glory, insignia to strip the president of all his powers without possible giving rise to major disturbances.2 himself Suharto was named acting president. In March 1968 This time there was and much less than were in reasonably excitement rose to no fear of violent

there was a further session of the M.P.R.S. less sense of crisis than a year earlier, in March 1966. and his associates Suharto comfortable control of the country. Political a high pitch at several but there was points, clashes of any size.


An earlier version of this article in Australia's appeared 1968. Because the editors of Indonesia Neighbours, May-June felt that this is an contribution to understudy important the politics of Indonesia's New Order--a standing subject on which far too few studies have as yet appeared--they have endeavored it wider to give circulation by publishing it in revised The editors form here. their wish to express to Australia's for granting them perNeighbours gratitude mission to do so.


over eighty lost their lives when paracommando However, people units the village stormed fortress milof the pro-Soekarno lenarian Mbah Suro, as the M.P.R.S. session was openleader, The Mbah Suro story is most interestingly in David told ing. Dissent and Sukarnoism," Mitchell, "Communists, Mystics Autumn 1968. See also Willard "The A. Hanna, (Melbourne), Part Magical-Mystical Syndrome in the Indonesian Mentality, III: The Rise and Fall of Mbah Suro," American Universities Field Staff Southeast November Asia Series, Service, Reports 1967. 88


The principal of this M.P.R.S. session importance lay in the fact it forced that Suharto and his colleagues to make up minds about the political their which they arrangements through would work thenceforth, about the political and political forces belts of their machinery they would use as the props and conveyor As the in session had to stake power. they approached positions relation to a number of difficult dilemmas format of political on which they had hitherto decisions. postponed If one looks at the three successive months of March in terms of inferred in General Suharto's mind, the quesquestions tion we side with the students up to March 1966 was "Shall Soekarno?" and the question against up to March 1967 "How can we finally oust Soekarno without rebellion among his provoking were followers?". In the months before March 1968 the questions be our partners the "Who will we accord in power?", "To whom shall to in and electoral right participate representative politics, we deny this and "How far shall we allow and to whom shall right?" ourselves to be tied down by civilians, preby constitutional the powers of representative elections, scriptions concerning freedom and of the press, and demonstration, bodies, assembly so on?" Suharto in a situation was in fact similar to that of in 1958-1959, Soekarno when he had defeated the groups which stood in the path of his "Guided Democracy" but had squarely or impose for the yet to forge agreement among his supporters new set of political be which would rationalized machinery by the triumphant The symbolism of the "New Order" did symbol.3 not point as sharply to changes as had of political structure that but it certainly of "Guided Democracy," called for such transformations. The M.P.R.S.

and the




The idea of a People's Consultative as (M.P.R.) Congress the highest had been introduced with the conorgan of state it stitution of 1945. Under this based partly, constitution, a on Nationalist Chinese the Consultaseems, model, People's tive the president and he would be rewould elect Assembly But the congress infreto it. would meet fairly sponsible the constitution of five quently; spoke of a maximum interval between be the And would not resessions. years president to the more frequently (D.P.R.), sponsible parliament meeting that He would thus be a very strong nor could body oust him. chief executive. 3.

S. Lev, The Transition See Daniel to Guided Democracy: 1957-1959 Indonesian Cornell N.Y.: (Ithaca, Politics, Modern Indonesia 164ff. 1966), Project, pp.


the congress assumed that should be Though it was generally a popularly elected none has ever been elected. In Septembody, ber 1960 President Soekarno established an interim or congress, its the 281 men and women who were members included M.P.R.S.; members of the current 335 (nominated) and another parliament who had just been named by the president to represent particular or functional In the case of the party regions groups. reprenames were decided of sentatives, particular upon by a process between Soekarno and his assistants on the one hand bargaining and the party In the case of those chosen leaders on the other. as representatives of particular and functional groups-regions the latter was often mostly paper organizations--the bargaining with leaders of the army. Three sessions were held before Soekarno's of the M.P.R.S. fall. In each case the government that was actively concerned the congress be seen to have prestige, and so was obliged--and make minor concessions to the demands of its members, willing--to and particularly to those of the larger But the legal parties. remained Its pliability was power of the congress slight. of May 1963 to make Soekarno decision highlighted by its President-for-Life. It seems that General Suharto decided soon after his assumption of executive in March 1966 to use the M.P.R.S. as a powers instrument for the political on which he principal remodelling was embarking. Thus a fourth session of the large body was held 136 of its in June-July 1966--after members had been dismissed as Communists or prevented memfrom attending because of their in the Communist-sympathizing Partindo (and another bership party 142 had been replaced and by new men of their parties, regions, functional groups). Suharto to the M.P.R.S. was attracted because as a vehicle he wanted de-Soekarnoization to proceed in an orderly fashion rather than taking the "parliament of the streets" place through as some of the student and other of the New groups pacemakers Order were proposing. But he was in no position to stage-manage the session. he was obliged--partly In fact he was not because in control of the executive and partly because of the yet firmly intense for "democracy" civilian support among many of his supwith greater and more endow the congress porters--to prestige actual decisional And before. power than it had ever enjoyed there is a sense in which he tied as an to the M.P.R.S. himself in that he chose to have institution at its mid-1966 session, this and emergency powers body confer upon him the executive 4.

On this and the politics M.P.R.S. of 1966 genersession, "The Politics: see R. K. Indonesian Military,in ally, Paget, The Burden of Power," Fall and Pacific Affairs (XL, 3-4), Winter 1967-68, pp. 294-314.


which he had held from Soekarno only as a "gift" up to that time. he added to the likelihood that the M.P.R.S. would reFinally, main somewhat autonomous into General Nasution by maneuvering the of Nasution had been main Suharto's body. chairmanship rival for the presidency session of the congress. up to that His acceptance of the M.P.R.S. (and a subsequent chairmanship decision that should the functions Suharto exercise congress of the presidency in the event of Soekarno unable to do being with But it left contest. the general so) removed him from that in maintaining, an interest and perhaps the newly expanding achieved of the M.P.R.S. semi-independence In the following months the political eighteen significance of the M.P.R.S. of early elections receded. grew as the prospect to a decision mid-1966 of the M.P.R.S.'s session, According elections for a new parliament and M.P.R.S. were to be held by But the government's date was commitment to this July 1968. The with more and more scepticism treated as time went on. academic were to reeconomists Suharto known General advising elections as threat to their effort economic a at early gard would their that the parties stabilization, being assumption as they did in the 1955 elections, in siphoning succeed, again off large amounts of government their money to finance campaignAnd there the was considerable in and among ing. army support New Order militants should civilian democrats for the view that not rush to organize in conditions where the enemies elections of democracy (read were likely to emerge forces) pro-Soekarno In mid-1967 times of the victorious. Suharto spoke several that elections would have to be postponed. possibility Within there about the was sharp disagreement parliament electoral In February 1967 the governto be adopted. system ment submitted a bill which provided confor single-member stituencies and took the kabupaten or regency as the constiunit. This was linked in the minds of government leaders tuency and their with ideas braintrusters of forming a political of New Order Forces" or "Grand Alliance (or "New Order Front" "Movement for Pantja which would put forward Sila Democracy") in each constituency. a single candidate The government leaders' this would make it possible to transcend hope was that the older of a plurality of more or less pattern ideological based on cultural It would communities. parties particular 5.

2nd week Indonesia Mahasiswa (Edisi 43), (II, Djawa Barat), the leadwas 1967. This West Java student of April, journal of the for this view. ing spokesman Compare the statement held of the student action front K.A.M.I. Working Conference as a "It is appropriate in June 1967: to hold elections the ideals of democracy as set down by means of realizing to the M.P.R.S., to seeing that priority is given provided the outcome it that the greater ensures freedom of the forces of New Order democracy." June 12, 1967. Kompas (Djakarta),


of in a drastic have resulted under-representation certainly four times the average has almost Java kabupaten Java--for islands. in the outer the population of the average kabupaten in a parliato the bill was understandably strong Opposition P.N.I. and the conment which was dominated by the Nationalist as ideoboth regarded Islamic Nahdatul Ulama (N.U.), servative from most of their and both drawing strength parties logical of parliament commission In November 1967 the special Java. it to provide for some the bill with considering changed charged But this members to be elected representation.6 by proportional and the government and the New Order militants, in turn angered of a outside demonstrations some after group by so, parliament (who were reportedly by the West Java sponsored Bandung students withthe government commander Major General Dharsono), military draw it that would drew the bill up announcing completely, another. nine months of parliaafter almost this action, By taking set its the the earlier discussion of bill, government mentary of elections. on the road to a major postponement foot firmly restrucof political One effect of this was to give questions was to effect related A new a suggest closely turing urgency. talked which was being the next session of the M.P.R.S., that would have to take deto be held in March 1968, of as likely been thought kind which had previously of a far-reaching cisions The manof an elected, of as the business congress. permanent the was till as acting had received date Suharto president session M.P.R.S. Would he ask the forthcoming elections only. as "presior as if for a new mandate, so, and, "acting president" the emergency With or without of time? dent"? For what period as the With a vice-president, in him? vested currently powers If so, with seemed to require? constitution current (1945) whom? Parliament the Party

and the System




were presenting the New Order militants More immediately overhaul for a radical with a dilemma by pressing the government to the M.P.R.S., of parliament (whose members also belonged of the current The origins that one-half body). comprising by President appointed lay in the 283-man D.P.R. parliament 30 Communist members and a number of Its in June 1960. Soekarno in the wake of the coup and counterhad been suspended others in and 108 new members had been appointed 1965, coup of October and intellecthe students' of But the leaders 1967. January that insisted New Order radicals and other fronts action tuals' in the attitude its and adduced Old Order in spirit, it was still 6.

The resulting Bersendjata

"combined (Djakarta),

is described system" November 27, 1967.




In November and as evidence. bill of the electoral question of the student 1967 there in the publications was talk December leaders of the K.A.M.I. of a withdrawal K.A.M.I. front action unless the who had been put into January parliament previous to some kind of further the government purge of the old agreed members. than no less wanted was in fact What the New Order radicals In their of the existing a supersession eyes this system. party had chosen whom Soekarno was dominated by parties through system and not programmewhich were ideological to work, parties and and not committed to modernization, conservative oriented, and to the ideals of the New Order was formal whose adherence the existing that parties They did not advocate hypocritical.7 state be banned or merged in a single that, they felt, party; of democracy. would have been to fly in the face of the symbols in the course of the preceding But they had come forth year with be the several conceivably system might whereby party proposals these of Most in reduced or important significance. sidestepped of military at an all-Java conference was the idea, suggested who had been civilians in early that non-party commanders July, fronts in one or other of the action (and who had not active should then) since of any of the parties to the pull succumbed an "Independent into form themselves Group" which the armed atThis proposal take as their civilian could forces partner. various and tracted interest, politicians, non-party widespread themselves declared Minister Adam Malik downwards, from Foreign to lead an Independent Group of some kind. willing around Dr. Umar 1967 a group of intellectuals By November had sucand television, of radio Kayam, the director-general over the Independent in establishing a rough monopoly ceeded Group civilian to attract intellectuals The efforts of these label. for And their unsuccessful. were largely proposals support a twoof the idea establishing restructuring, notably political and one faster with one change system, promoting party party But the Umar as impractical. were generally slower, regarded radicals of some powerful military Kayam group had the support the of Idris Kemal (head around General Strategic Major centering Dharsono (West Java commander and Command) and Major General division). head of the Siliwangi months suggested over the previous record Suharto's eighteen of the overhaul into a radical be pushed that he would not easily to prevent had consistently for the general sought system, party This was partly reaction from going too far. the anti-Soekarno of stability. in the importance belief of his strong a reflection stabilization and political stabilization economic He had declared 7.

the since the parties have played The role in Daniel discussed is most fully Democracy Journal of Southeast in Indonesia," Parties 52-67. (VIII, 1), March 1967, pp.

of Guided beginning S. Lev, "Political Asian History


of his cabinet, the "Twin Duties" and had presented the nation with the "Five Forms of Order" (Political Social Order, Order, Economic and Security in one of his Order) Order, Legal Order, few attempts to cluster in the style themes of ideological But it also Soekarno. reflected that is a the fact Suharto Javanese (and one of abangan or syncretistic orientareligious rather than of santri Muslim outlook), or strongly and tion, that most of the pressure for radical came de-Soekarnoization from non-Javanese (and a few Javanese As if to desantri).8 that he would not allow clare himself to become what many in East and Central he P.N.I. Java, particularly men, were saying was--an honest Javanese and manipulated costrapped by slick and fanatical Muslims from West Java and Sumatra-mopolitans he had taken a conciliatory towards in such laggards approach of the New Order as the P.N.I. and N.U., and particularly support the Soekarno-sympathizing towards of the armed services, sections the marines and other sections of the navy, and parts of the On the axis between New Order militants and New Order police. was a centrist, Suharto a balancer who sought to laggards, stand with which a strong was preup to the challenges right him by not allowing the already feeble to be left senting weakened further. that On the conNor was Suharto's centrism of one man. it had the become a of trary, position powerful group of genin Djakarta--men of Suharto's erals, strong particularly personal staff the general of the army, and some staff (S.P.R.I.), Most of the officers of this key economic agencies. group were from Suharto's Javanese old Central Java (Diponegoro) division the group also two powerful included Sumatrans, (though Major the head of Suharto's General and Alamsjah, staff, personal the acting General of staff chief of the army). Panggabean, Their hostility New Order generals Kemal Idris to militant like and Dharsono carried of old rivalries between the overtones of Central division Java and the Siliwangi of West Diponegoro which were themselves rivalries ethnic (Javanese Java, partly the rest) versus between close and partly officers considered to the people and nativist and those whose style was more In addition, and cosmopolitan. was an there sophisticated element here of conflict between older and younger officers New Order militancy had greater to the colonels (for appeal between and lieutenant-colonels), interests and regional Djakarta the military held a large number of regional ones (for radicals and between in civil staff officers and soldiers commands), administrative on the one hand and fighting soldiers, posts on the other. of elite This was by no means units, particularly a host a simple of criss-crossing division; loyalties bi-polar 8.

"The MagicalOn Suharto's A. Hanna, see Willard background the in Part V: Indonesian Mystical Syndrome Mentality, Pak Harto--the American Myth, the Man and the Mystery," Universities Field Staff Asia Southeast Service, Reports December 1967. Series,


and associations the sion between

the pattern. and complicated blurred two core groups was persistent.



division ties to the S.P.R.I.-Diponegoro Suharto's generals to as to keep him from making concessions were not so binding of circumstances the And in New Order radicals. the political to do incentives were strong two months of 1967 there the last cautious Suharto's was that One key problem that. style just sense a strong were producing and moderate, policies stabilizing Another in the political and demoralization of drift public. of his immediate several was that key including assistants, of government and top executives staff from his personal figures of a vigorous had come to be principal economic targets agencies, for rice Moreover, prices corruption. against campaign press in the were rising commodities and many other precipitately not only consumer caused and this few months of the year,9 last with the governdisillusionment but increased resentment general necescredit and of ment's restriction, cutting budget policies feature whose one measures redeeming immediately sarily unpopular down of the earlier had been their hyperinflation. dampening to his posireal Suharto danger may have sensed Finally, in November and rumors circulating the numerous behind tion Whether he 1967 of an impending December coup. young officers' of an existence the the rumors did or not, intensely highlighted in the and lieutenant-colonels dissatisfied group of colonels the under units the mobile of some and division Siliwangi and Kemal Idris Dharsono that Command, men who felt Strategic their in too been had corrupagainst protests tepid altogether and drift. tion, compromise, the New Order radicals' reasons these For all ship was to take some incentive had every and Suharto in the sails; full would that In December he announced of the wind out. parliament The term was new, and had little a "redressing." be given recogin Soekarno's was precedent (There nized "retooling" meaning. for or quasi-English word of English an obscure for choosing it was a concession was that What was clear maximum ambiguity!) but one which fell to the demands of the New Order militants, the of of a radical short system. party supersession The P.N.I. Closely system party 9.

and the


to related as a whole

the questions to were those

raised by critics do with the right

of of


of Dahlan Thalib, J. Panglaykim, See D. H. Penny, "Survey Studies Economic of Indonesian Bulletin Recent Developments," (No. 9), February 1968; National (Australian University) Bulletin Recent of H. W. Arndt, also Developments," "Survey June 1968. Studies (No. 10), Economic of Indonesian


to a legal existence. There was no disparticular parties about the Communist Party banned. But agreement remaining what about the P.N.I., which had gone along enthusiastically with many of the dominant trends of the pre-coup and period, of which had remained important segments actively pro-Soekarno even after March 1967? it was clear that the By mid-1967 efforts of an army-supported P.N.I. executive (Osa Maliki, Usep and others) to make the party New Order-minded had Ranawidjaja, run into solid The authority of the new executive opposition. had been fairly well established in Central thanks Java, largeof Hadisubeno the P.N.I. ly to the efforts Sosrowerdojo, a long-time anti-Communist and an old assoregional chairman, ciate of General But its Suharto. remained position very weak in the other of East Java and in many of the key province outside the central and the continuing influregions island; ence in these of leaders as "Old Order" provinces stigmatized to buttress served the conviction of many militants that it was folly to hope that the P.N.I. would change his leopard There had long been local of harassment spots. army-blessed P.N.I. branches in various outside but in the places Java, second half of 1967 commanders in several outer provinces, in Sumatra, banned all P.N.I. particularly activity.10 actually In the months before the M.P.R.S. and the "resession, of parliament which preceded had to Suharto dressing" it, decide whether the P.N.I. would or would not be given a place in the constitutional On December order. all 21, he instructed to "help and provide authorities regional government opportunities for the P.N.I. to effect and New Order crystallization consolidation within itself" and asked the parties, organizafunctional and action fronts to refrain from tions, groups, this Several later he the sent disturbing process. days Acting Chief of Staff of the Army, General to Sumatra to Panggabean, an end to the bans on the party's When activities. negotiate the "redressing" of parliament was completed, P. N. I. representation was down slightly, but the party still the largest remained of the parliamentary groupings. The Masjumi and Socialist which had been banned parties, in 1960 on the ground that some of their leaders by Soekarno had been involved in the Sumatra-Sulawesi rebellion of two years Suharto with an analogous but more complex before, presented set of issues. There was no real in the case of the problem Socialist as the leaders and active members of (P.S.I.), party this little mass support and already exorganization, having influence the action ercising through fronts, non-party press, and the bureaucracy, did not press for their reparty's (An earlier to establish a new party legalization. attempt based on the Socialists and the national-communist Murba Party 10.

This discussion of P.N.I. affairs of Angus P. McIntyre of findings and Yale University.

is the

based heavily of University

on the Sydney


But the leaders of the old Masjumi were had been abandoned.) in their demands for a legitimate active vehicle, political the government and these with a serious pressures presented dilemma. What the Masjumi leaders stood for was highly congruent with some of the central ideas of the New Order. If anyone had stood and the Communists from the beginning it up to Soekarno was they. it was widely the Islamic Moreover, argued that which troubled 1967-Suharto militancy sporadically throughout the anti-Christian most notably after which damaged 21 rioting in Makassar churches on October if lst--could only be contained both the liberal-modernist and fundamentalist of reformstreams the which had found political ist Islam, through expression some kind of legitimate allowed were again Masjumi before 1960, representation. On the other the army convarious within centrists hand, than conthat tended Islamic was better suppressed militancy the also to remove they ciliated; opposed any tendency stigma still attached who had been involved in the rebellion to those that these of 1958, men were every bit as much traitors arguing as the Communists. At the same time, some of the military were against the idea of a neo-Masjumi radicals because they saw this as likely the party to strengthen a sysas a system whole, tem they hoped to see destroyed, or at least radicalsuperseded, a neothere was pressure Finally ly transformed. against old rival, of the Masjumi's Masjumi from some of the leaders the Nahdatul Ulama. had made it clear in late 1966 that he was opposed Suharto but there were to a simple of the Masjumi, rehabilitation 1967 that he would allow in early a new numerous indications to come into at least several party being which would represent the Masjumi. of the groups which had previously worked through in which it seemed that After a short former Vice-President period the initiative the nod to lead such a party, Hatta would be given to a seven-man and anticipated group government blessing passed led by K. H. Fakih Usman, a second-ranking member of the old who had not been involved in the rebellion. Masjumi leadership time forth there were rumors every two months or so From that a new Partai Muslimin Indonesia forthat was about to come into but each set of rumors proved existence; mal, government-endorsed mistaken. The resolution came in early Immediately finally February. which had disof regional commanders after a conference military the members of new party, the question of the proposed cussed them who told Fakih Usman's group were summoned to see Suharto, to come into would be allowed Indonesia that Muslimin a Partai not under their existence almost leadership, immediately--but on tougher terms than previously foreshadowed. and indeed Anyin the 1958 rebellion been involved or had one who had either


at at any level committee been a member of a Masjumi leadership in 1960 would be excluded dissolution the time of the party's at least of any kind in the new party, from executive positions elected. executive held and a new was until a party congress in important of sections caused This decision consternation for it meant that the reformist Muslim community, very few reformto play a part in the new organizawould be allowed leaders ist as members of had political tion who had not previously rights association a large social and educational the Muhammadijah, Those for some years. which had had parliamentary representation than rather the P.M.I. would be a neo-Masjumi who had hoped that But the were sharply a Muhammadijah-writ-large disappointed. leaders were happy to comply with Suharto's specifiMuhammadijah Muslimin was formally and so the Partai Indonesia cations, of the Muhamin February, under the chairmanship established Hadikusumo.11 leader Djarnawi madijah The M.P.R.S.





the terms of 30 the acting disclosed On January president from Its membership would be raised "redressing." parliament's would be 347 to 414. The representation of the armed services would gain 24 new fronts from 43 to 75, and the action raised of seats. As for the parties, they were asked to draw up lists with him lists of and to discuss members they wanted to recall would But each party men they wanted to put in their places. total the same representation. keep roughly On February 67 of them ment, At the recalled. Council Advisory of the appointment actions suggested But the action.

179 new members of parlia13 Suharto installed ones who had been new men and 112 to replace that a new Supreme same time he disclosed was about to be named. (D.P.A.) Coming on top these of a number of new Supreme Court judges, in the pace of governmental a sharp increase to come. drama was still real

met for the 28 the reconstructed On February parliament of Suharto's two from Under strong time. first "project pressure same on that resolution it passed a most far-reaching officers," comof the M.P.R.S. for the consideration working partly night, on the a due which was to morning. following meeting mittee, begin the be called into session should The M.P.R.S. immediately, Suharto it should General resolution said; appoint parliamentary the endorse it should from acting) full (as distinct president; it and a for development plan; five-year proposals government's five to elections for should years. up postpone 11.

Facta Documents S. U. Bajasut, almost contains 1968), (n.p., of the P.M.I. to the founding

VI, Partai all of the

Muslimin documents

Indonesia relevant


the M.P.R.S. committee drew A few days later, working It would meet between session. time-table for the congress Indonesia Suharto to leave March 21 and March 27, enabling state visit to Japan (and to leave March 28 for a scheduled full added). government supporters president,

up a on as

to proof parliament This indecorous gave rise pressuring demonstraand to repeated tests from a wide range of civilians Few of the protesters tions action fronts. from the student (Some Suharto to the renewal mandate. were opposed of Suharto's to oust determined were convinced that Nasution was supporters was his intention when the opportunity Suharto came; but if this for he the time had yet arrived, he evidently did not believe elections were to silent.) postponing Many people opposed kept and they were not only from the for as long as five years, action but also students' from the high school front, parties Muslims. was dominated whose leadership K.A.P.P.I., by reformist the that But the most widespread was government simply feeling in return--particularwas asking for too much and giving nothing of to persistent demands for the investigation ly in relation it to be big-time Indeed, corruptors. leading generals alleged the government but imposing its was not asking was felt demands, disthe country's with frivolous bodies legislative treating exRosihan foremost columnist, Anwar, the country's respect. with the military a common resentment high-handedness pressed when he wrote the whole procedure which seemed to characterize the to "prepare" about the "project officers" assigned mockingly its of the M.P.R.S. so that it would achieve session general within the "time limit" set down and with the "logistics" "target" 12 employed. was tough. The government's to the wave of protests response as was the in the month, leaders were arrested Six student early Student K.A.S.I. action of the intellectuals' chairman front, two occasions. on at least were injured demonstrators by soldiers that he would announced The army commander for Greater Djakarta at the ready battalions for the M.P.R.S. have thirty session, Antara (a of the government and the top civilian newsagency 12.

be emphasized, It should however, Kompas, March 8, 1968. kind of this that only a tiny encompass generalizations The political of the Indonesian population. proportion here is I am trying whose attitudes to picture public in the first aware of the curinstance to people limited is this in the capital; rents of week-to-week politics the group of those who read Djakarta newspapers roughly 115 one million of the country's regularly, perhaps people who are to people And among these it is limited million. in the politics a right of as having to participate thought excludes all of the New Order--which Communists, many number of Chinese. P.N.I. men, and a great


for was sent overseas head) of Antara's subordinate military the opening A few days before months. several day of the of the universities at several were posted soldiers congress In addition, in the capital. and high schools army men checked for the city, all transport looking particularly coming into students. "bullCivilians spoke more and more of the government's on Rosihan tactics. and "steamroller" dozer" Anwar, writing a the M.P.R.S. the eve of Sydney session, approvingly quoted in "an exploas being of Djakarta description Morning Herald More than ever before, mood of disillusion."13 sive politics the civilians. of the army versus was a matter were those tackled the M.P.R.S. issues The most important resolution from the controversial which flowed parliamentary If be named full Would Suharto 28-29. of February president? the of be with a reaffirmation this would emergency sweeping so, and in March 1966, conferred by Soekarno upon him, first powers which of June-July session then by the M.P.R.S. 1967--powers for the he deems necessary him "to take any actions allowed or of the of and government process stability security, peace, How long would his new of the Revolution"? the furtherance to the Five Year Would it be somehow tied mandate be valid? the be date what would And Plan? by which M.P.R.S. Development were raised issues Related must be held? elections by civilians of his account a full to give who wanted to compel Suharto the matter of alleged thus far (including corruption stewardship additional who wanted and by others among his assistants), of human rights. on the subject legislation a number of quite were also But there issues, separate Names bandied the vice-presidency. of the matter particularly of Hatta, those included connection about in this Nasution, the Sultan of Jogjakarta, Adam Malik, Alamsjah, Major General and of the Nahdatul Ulama, H. M. Subchan Z. E. and Imron Rosjadi There was the demand that T. B. Simatupang. General Lieutenant the draft was also and there soon be tried, Soekarno prepared State for a Basic committee Policy, working by the M.P.R.S. to Soekarno's as a kind of successor which was to function item was particularly This last of 1959. Manifesto Political of Islam the old issue it raised because controversial again enunciated first Five Sila (the and the Pantja by Principles in of belief affirmation in June 1945 and including Soekarno to referred draft committee The working "the One Divinity"). of the Djakarta in the Spirit Sila as interpreted "the Pantja which drawn up in June 1945, to the charter Charter," referring law."14 Islamic to adhere to Muslims of the of "obligation spoke March




On the Djakarta pp. 257ff.


1968. Charter







The government seem to have and its army representatives in the M.P.R.S. deal of pressure members under a great placed were the course Almost of the session. all of the proceedings but members made such private comheld behind closed doors, them ever ments as, "They brand you as an enemy if you criticise moral test of one's is a real and "Being in there so slightly," In the end, however, the government showed a measure courage." at to the demands of its critics of flexibility, acceding several important points. was sworn in as On the evening of March 27 General Suharto But and term. for a his five-year powers had emergency president would been specified And elections and thus narrowed somewhat. the end of Suharto's fivehave to be held by July 1971, before the completion of the Five Year Developyear term and long before The which was scheduled 1969. to begin in January ment Plan, did made but Suharto was not of arrangefilled, vice-president post the M.P.R.S.) for Sultan ments (without Hamengku going through Finanthe Minister Buwono of Jogjakarta, of State for Economic, to act as the "Custodian of Presiand Industrial Affairs, cial, The he was away in Japan and Cambodia. dential Functions" while ex-Presiit would take legal declared action government against when the relevant had been completed-dent Soekarno preparations but it did not commit itself And it was deterto a deadline. the president-elect would form a new Development mined that to reduce before made no commitment Cabinet Suharto July 5--but the lessen men in ministerial the number of military posts, new in or members his of of any staff, personal proceed powers way against alleged corruptors. But the M.P.R.S. On the following Suharto flew north. morning on those in session. Two of its continued commissions, working Basic the proposed State and the new human rights statute, Policy In neither in conflict, and argued on for two days. were locked it that the One has was deadlock resolved. however, case, report vote in the taken by majority wanted a decision the Muslim groups the army men in the comand that State Basic commission, Policy for In the was left this. mission any event, prevented problem as was that the next session of human rights. of the M.P.R.S., A New Pattern



was as complex The inside of the M.P.R.S. session politics and fragmentary. and my knowledge of it is scant as it was tense, which had appeared the alignment But it seems that patterns or four months earlier established firmly only three reasonably Muslim groups In the first the various had been shaken. place, the lines were combining (across Masjumi from Nahdatul dividing the militant, and laggard Ulama and separating supcentrist, unified or less the New to more a of Order) present porters which they saw as dominated to a government by challenge


There was orientation. of abangan Javanese religious generals Muslim groups the various that in the fact surprising nothing State on the Basic were able to work together Policy closely well work But they also to issue. fairly together managed and full the president's powers emergency being given against of the elections. a five-year (According postponement against Nasution to one report, by General throughout they were assisted that with the fact This would tally as chairman of the M.P.R.S. one Muslim of the senior Nasution was the most strongly generals, and the one with the greatest of the most isolated, jurisdictional branch.) in the strength of the legislative interest Conversely, were among the strongest P.N.I. of the nationalist leaders supwide of powers. emergency presidential porters The increasing cohesion of the Islamic groups political of the Muslim frustration, can be seen as a manifestation growin the stuto sharp cleavages which gave rise 1966, ing since a in 1967 and reached fronts action dents' and intellectuals' 1 October on in Makassar in the anti-Christian climax rioting the men of because arose This frustration of that partly year. who had been in the forethe Muslim political organizations, 1965 and afterboth before anti-Communist of tle front struggle It was of few were power. positions wards, given subsequently had been which the Christians a response to the advances also among the abangan particularly period, making in the post-coup of the adherents been socio-cultural had Muslims who nominal war of the Middle Eastern In addition, 1965. Communists before And there Muslim feeling. June 1967 did much to fan militant at work, factors and less were many subtler immediately political to which contributed to fundamentalist factors responses of reformist and to a crisis secularization leadership. showed politics session the M.P.R.S. Even more important, and to some the civilians, of the army versus as a matter It is true that the civilians. versus extent the armed forces man siding as a military Nasution to General one can point of the Director-General and to Mashuri, with the civilians "kitchen Suharto's member of a and Education cabinet," key Higher But these are the with as a civilian exceptions army. siding were indeed for the sides a rule: of the kind which proves saw Nasution Most army leaders and the military. the civilians but as a renegade not as a link with the civilians soldier, view of Mashuri. took a similar and most civilian politicians of New Order militants--Major The civil-military partnership Dr. Umar on the one side, and Dharsono Kemal Idris Generals on like-minded and organizations Group Kayam's Independent The Independent in evidence. the other--was Group had scarcely of influand been cut off from one of its key channels split Umar between of an acrimonious ence as a result disagreement close. been who had two men and very Mashuri, previously Kayam who had been such and Kemal Idris, Dharsono And Generals


critics vocal of the men around Suharto, embarrassingly united The army seemed unprecedentedly all but silent. the civilians as never its leaders, place put in their

were now behind before.

much of the officer At the most straightforward level, supand Dharsono which had to Kemal Idris accrued Generals port action decisive because for dynamic, they seemed to stand earlier, the government's fell slowness and drift, and against away when in the months between Suharto himself began to act decisively But to see the change it is and March. necessary January probably of the withering as an aspect in somewhat longer perspective, existence into which had been called by the away of a coalition of It was a coalition of the army with groups events of 1966. academic and and intellectuals students non-party) (predominantly Kemal like and officers Soekarno which forced to shed his power, hero head and students' and the paracommando Dharsono, Idris, relationcoalition were key link in this Sarwo Edhie, figures its relationin the the saddle But once was clearly army ship. Some and intellectuals changed. gradually ship to the students remained academic of the intellectuals, economists, particularly executives of economic as policy advisers, agencies, important because aid negotiators. retained influence Others and foreign But the as legitimizers of the regime. of their significance As far as than a help. were more often an annoyance students become a mere had the were concerned, relationship they special had become a "New Order partnerhip" shadow of what it had been: bare of real of symbolic reassurance, increasingly phrase content. political relations The February-March of military-civilian pattern of General on the part reflects an increased disposition clearly been conhas Suharto In coercion. to govern Suharto general, by in relahis use of coercive cerned to minimize methods--except allies--and and their immediate to the Communists tion willing base even where broad political from a relatively to operate But the need to clear has meant slow decisions. this up a M.P.R.S. the and before of business deal during government great from this led him to depart session approach. evidently months winds of the last In addition, the adverse political to the general some part in disposing of 1967 must have played with his governDissatisfaction methods. use more heavy-handed was there and he had found that ment had been high that year, of demands the to he could do to respond little positively on which he The economic civilian policies groups. political for to remain heavily had embarked were likely deprivational of intra-army the tenuous balances Granted some time. politics, from for him to remove officers it would have been difficult of the many coveted they held positions portion any significant And it firms. and in government in civilian administration to throw out any of the key generals would also have been risky who were economic in the S.P.R.I. and the government agencies


of allegations the principal of corruption. In additargets he may well have been worried of the tion, by the prospect additional strain on his resources from the new vigor arising of Communist guerrilla in activity 1968, early particularly in southern East Java.15 What then,he have asked, may well was the point the civilians of allowing to so much freedom not fanning the general vent their demands? Was this sense of grievance, frustration? Was it not producing gratuitous the critics that had been asking clear for too much? Was it that he, Suharto, not time that this, they were taught taught be tough? also could The Dilemmas



the government's like steamFactors these that suggest roller at the M.P.R.S. session may have been more than style show of force knot a momentary to cut through a particular that the Suharto of problems, government may have committed base itself at that point to working from a narrowed political and to bargain less with organized civilian political groupBut a glance at some of the factors ings. against militating to govern in a generally manner makes an attempt more coercive this one reluctant to suggest as a firm conclusion. view There remains a great deal of truth in Soedjatmoko's that "Indonesia's the rooted in variety political pluralism, the nation . . of her cultural towards history, impels which conflicts and viewpoint of interest arrangements through The political with a minimum of coercion."16 are accommodated means of cultural born of the legacy variety polycentricity that and exclusive to establish any single group aspiring tight a will tend to draw these others into control over all others directed itself. coalition against which But it is not only Indonesia's cultural heritage the more It is also tends to maintain political pluralism. of bureaucratic recent Suharto, legacy power and flaccidity. knit like before Soekarno a tightly him, lacks organization and to which to give coherent effect to his policies through is The regular strike at his enemies. bureaucracy accurately but A of oversuch a ramshackle assemblage weapon. anything but powerful and accessible and undersalaried staffed agencies in a it persistently bends government officials, policies as a of directions at once. Nor does the army serve variety with the regular It is too far intermeshed substitute. 15.

On this 16, 17,

see 18,


Soedjatmoko, Australian

the series 1968. "Indonesia: Outlook (XXI,






and Opportunities," Problems 3) December 1967, p. 281.

May 15,


administration and caught in its web of it and is too arena-like itself, ships, sectional and regional pressures.

relationfavor-trading its parts susceptible


Suharto's to govern is thus subject to capacity coercively a variety of limitations. On the one hand, he cannot to afford too many groups of people in the bureaucracy and reantagonize lated of government (officials organizations firms, heads, village and so on), for he must continually for the support of plead these to secure a modicum of consistency in the way his people are carried into effect. impolicies Moreover, they and their mediate kin make up a large of Indonesian strata part of the higher to which all are effectively accountable. society, governments On the other Suharto must hesitate he introbefore hand, duces measures which will add to the pressure which the government exerts on the great mass of the population, for he knows that most such measures are likely to be implemented in distorted at the local fashion level and to be used as warrants for more the flow of trade. has Government regulatory activity hampering borne down quite on this mass of lower-class heavily great people, and it has done so in fairly the many fashion--witness arbitrary the often of bribes for formally illegal tolls, very high cost free and the not infrequent demands by local government services, for unpaid officials labor. This was the situation in the Soekarno it is much the same now, and is aggravated inasmuch as inperiod; creased numbers of villagers and lower-class now live townsmen under political arrest or in its shadow. Suharto could no doubt of this kind. the Harrassed intensify pressure many demands by made on him by the politically most of whom are socialinfluential, to the bureaucracy, he could well see it as in his interly tied est to tilt the balance of social in favor of further power still the bureaucracy and its for would inthis appendages, probably crease his leverage over them, in the short at least But run. most of the changes he could initiate in this direction would have markedly adverse for the policies of economic consequences to which he is tied both domestic commitregeneration by political ment and international And there financial are no independence. dications the general that has reduced the high priority he has to economic given performance. In the last we can only say the M.P.R.S. instance, therefore, decisions on the formal of political structure produced aspects under the New Order. the For the informal new of qualities and specifically for the fundamental of how much regime, question the government will in on coercion and how much rely bargain with civilian we must wait to for the future dealing groups, reveal a settled of practice. pattern

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