Malaysian Government should issue clear-cut policy statement of support  to President Wahid, the democratisation process and pledge by  senior Indonesian military officers of  no military coup which is a major contribution to regional stability and peace

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The open declaration and backing by senior Indonesian military officers for the first time for President Abdurrahman Wahid in his  bid to force his chief security minister General Wiranto to step down over last year's violence in East Timor is a most important  development signifying that democratisation in Indonesia is still on track  and not about to be derailed by a military coup.

The open declaration of support had been made by:

The Indonesian military leadership should be commended for its loyalty to the Indonesian Constitution and the democratisation process, which gives hope that Indonesian democracy  could successfully negotiate an important milestone to demilitarise Indonesian politics and develop a strictly professional militarty force committed to the defence and security of the country without any political roles.

There are many inside and outside Indonesia who are uncomfortable with the democratisation process and would want it to fail, and who would approve a military coup and the toppling of President Wahid.

There are such elements inside Malaysia as well, who exercise positions of power and influence, as seen by the very anti-Wahid slant in certain mainstream media, whether in their editorials, commentaries or even reporting of events in Indonesia.

For instance, when the world is asking for a fair trial  of those responsible for the carnage in East Timor following the findings of  Indonesia’s National Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations in East Timor (KPP-HAM) which   implicated six generals, including former armed forces chief Wiranto in the  destruction of East Timor, one Malaysian daily carried an article with the heading: "Keadilan atau konspirasi Barat" in reference to the Indonesian inquiry findings, and in today’s issue  continuing to express support for Wiranto in the stand-off with Wahid with an article under the heading "Wiranto tunjukkan kepahlawanan".

Although there are influential forces in the country which are uncomfortable with the democratisation process, as well as the anti-corruption drive resulting in the latest development where the Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman had  named the former Indonesian President Suharto as a "suspect"  for corruption and therefore liable to prosecution,  the Malaysian government must not be seen or perceived as supporting anti-reform and  anti-democratisation  forces in Indonesia.

This is why the first major policy speech of the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last week, where he said that Indonesia's "political cataclysm" is proof that  Western-style liberal democracy does not work for every country has given rise to the impression that the Malaysian government backs Wiranto in the general’s stand-off with Wahid.

DAP calls on the Malaysian Government to come out with a clear-cut  policy statement giving full support to President Wahid, the democratisation process as well as the pledge  by  senior Indonesian military officers that there would be no military coup which is a major contribution to regional stability and peace.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman