DAP expresses grave concern at the crackdowns in Indonesia and the detention of critics on subversion charges and calls for their immediate and unconditional release

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP expresses grave concern at the crackdowns by the Indonesian Government against critics and their detention, including former Indonesian Member of Parliament and prominent pro-democracy activist, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, Saleh Abdullah and Julius Usman on subversion charges.

Sri Bintang was arrested on Wednesday on subversion charges carrying a maximum penalty of death. His family said he was arrested on charges of subversion and defaming President Suharto by using greeting cards, celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month.

The cards, signed by Sri Bintang Pamungkas, contained the three point agenda of the recently formed United Democratic Party of Indonesia (Partai Uni Demokrasi Indonesia - PUDI):

  • Boycott the 1997 Parliamentary Election
  • Reject the re-election of President Suharto in the 1998 Presidential elections
  • Prepare a new government for the post-Suharto period.

    Abdullah is the PUDI secretary general and Usman the deputy chairman.

    The arrest follows President Suharto's recent warning that he would "clobber anyone who attempted to unseat him unconstitutionally" and heralds a new crackdown by the Indonesian Government to curtail all political dissent and remove its opponents to ensure its smooth return to power in an election free of dissidence.

    It is matter of grave concern that the Indonesian government’s response to mounting calls for political change has resulted in the arrest of peaceful political opponents including 12 people who are currently on trial in Jakarta on subversion charges in relation to the raid on the PDI office and subsequent riots. Political and labour activists, human rights defenders, members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others have also been subjected to harassment and intimidation in recent months.

    DAP is gravely concerned about the latest arrests and detentions under the Anti-subversion Law and calls on the Indonesian Government to release Sri Bintang, Abdullah and Usman immediately and unconditionally.


    *Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong