Wahid’s suspension of Wiranto a landmark victory for  Indonesian democratisation and restoration of rule of law

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): President Abdurrahman Wahid’s final suspension of General Wiranto from the Cabinet is a landmark victory for Indonesian democratisation and the restoration of the rule of law as for the first time in post-Suharto Indonesia, civilian supremacy in Indonesian politics and governance is being clearly asserted and established.

It has been said that Wahid thrives on his eccentricity and he likes to joke that Indonesia’s first two presidents were crazy about women or money, the third was crazy and the fourth, Wahid himself, drives everybody else crazy.

However, running through  Wahid’s seemingly zig-zag policies, there is a clear  consistent direction toward democracy, openness, tolerance and the rule of law which deserves the support not only of Indonesians but the neighbouring ASEAN governments and peoples.

Reuters recently filed a report that Malaysian policymakers were concerned that Wahid would not be able to ensure stability in Indonesia and stamp out ethnic and religious violence, threatening neighbouring ASEAN nations and undermining regional stability.

If Indonesia is going to be stable, constitutional civilian government, democracy and the rule of law must be restored in the country.

What disturbs Malaysian policymakers are not just the question of stability in Indonesia, but concerns that the successes in the democratisation process and the restoration of the rule of law in Indonesia would leave Malaysia isolated as the only country affected by the Asian economic crisis which had refused to undertake far-reaching political and economic reforms.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman