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The History of Indonesia

1965 - 1998

The Suharto years

Available period links :

  •   100 - 1500
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  • 1500 - 1670
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  • 1800 - 1830
  • Chaos and Resistance
  • 1830 - 1910
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  • 1910 - 1940
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  • 1940 - 1945
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  • 1945 - 1950
  • War of Independence
  • 1950 - 1965
  • The Sukarno years
  • 1965 - 1998
  • The Suharto years


    January Roundups continue of PKI supporters, degenerate into random, unplanned violence in many areas.

    January 15 Sukarno holds cabinet meeting in Bogor, and invites members of student organizations to attend. Anti-communist students demonstrate outside.

    February 13 "Mahmillub" tribunals begin of persons accused of involvment in the September 30th coup. (Almost 900 are tried in these special tribunals through 1978.)

    February 21 Sukarno names new cabinet, including Omar Dhani and Subandrio, who are wanted for arrest.

    February 24 Student demonstrations stop traffic in Jakarta. Sukarno uses helicopters to fly his new cabinet to swearing-in ceremonies. Presidential guards fire on students, killing two.

    February 25 Sukarno and Suharto meet. Student organizations are declared dissolved and demonstrations are banned.

    February 28 Subandrio declares that "terror will be met with terror". Students hang Subandrio in effigy.

    March 6 Suharto warns Sukarno of dissatisfaction among the officer corps in ABRI.

    March 8 Sukarno issues orders to ABRI reminding them that he is still president.

    March 11 Sukarno tries to hold cabinet meeting while students demonstrate outside. Suharto does not attend. Suharto's troops surround the building; Sukarno flees to Bogor by helicopter with Subandrio and Chaerul Saleh. Three major generals follow Sukarno to Bogor, and discuss the situation with him for several hours. Sukarno signs a document giving broad powers to Suharto, the "Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret" or "Supersemar" letter.

    March 12 Suharto, using the new "Supersemar" powers, officially bans the PKI.

    March 18 Subandrio and most of Sukarno's cabinet are arrested.

    Suharto receives support from Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya, who helps coordinate economic policy. Adam Malik is new foreign minister.

    April Purge of Sukarno supporters in the PNI, in the Diponegoro Division, and the National Assembly (MPR/DPR).

    Ali Sadikin becomes governor of Jakarta.

    SOBSI labor organization is banned.

    Adam Malik travels to New York, announces that Indonesia will rejoin the United Nations.

    April 12 Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya issues a frank statement on the poor state of the economy.

    May Adam Malik meets with Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia in Bangkok, and announces that "konfrontasi" with Malaysia has ended.

    Japanese government gives Indonesia emergency aid.

    June 21 Smaller Assembly approves the "Supersemar" transfer of powers to Suharto, and the ban on the PKI.

    July Indonesia begins rescheduling debt payments. IMF is brought back in.

    August 11 Indonesia normalizes relations with Malaysia.

    September 19 Conference meets in Tokyo to discuss Indonesia's foreign debt. Sultan of Yogya represents Indonesia. Western trade powers and the IMF attend; the Soviet Union is not invited. Indonesia gains an 18-month moratorium on debt payments.

    October Subandrio given death sentence, but not executed.

    October 3 Suharto announces broad, liberal economic reforms.

    November Plot to take Sukarno and restore him to power fails; Sukarno would not cooperate.

    December Omar Dhani given death sentence, but not executed.

    Bulog (Badan Urusan Logistik) is founded to manage rice procurements for the government.

    Former Republik Maluku Selatan leader Soumokil is executed; Moluccans in the Netherlands burn the Indonesian embassy there.

    All Chinese-language schools are closed.

    New Press Law tightens existing the existing censorship process.

    Assembly (MPR) declares that the preamble to the 1945 constitution, including Pancasila, is inalterable.

    "Supersemar": Sukarno and Suharto in 1966. The abbreviation "Supersemar" is also a reference to the character Semar from traditional wayang kulit stories. Officially, Sukarno gave emergency powers to Suharto, which were then approved by the Assembly--but Sukarno was under pressure from military powers and street demonstrations, and by then, the Assembly had been purged of many of Sukarno's supporters.

    Under the powers of "Supersemar", Suharto founded Kopkamtib, a special forces detail originally assigned to tracking down PKI members. It was later used for general political purposes, including for enforcing restrictions on the press. Suharto also expanded the role of the special forces group called "Opsus" using these special powers. Opsus was used for covert operations and was headed by Gen. Ali Murtopo.

    At the beginning, Suharto shared many policy decisions with Adam Malik as foreign minister and the Sultan of Yogya regarding domestic affairs. During the 1960s, Suharto's government repaired the economy with the help of foreign-trained "technocrat" economists, many of whom worked in the Bappenas planning group.



    January Sukarno says he had no foreknowledge of coup attempt.

    Economic reforms are passed, including a government guarantee that no further properties will be nationalized, a three-year tax holiday, and a guarantee that profits earned can be sent overseas.

    February British and USA properties returned to owners.

    March 12 Assembly (MPR) takes all power away from Sukarno, names Suharto acting president.

    April Christian churches are attacked in Aceh. Several days of anti-Chinese demonstrations break out in Jakarta.

    Indonesia breaks diplomatic relations with China.

    Most Chinese-language newspapers closed by government.

    Freeport copper mine opens in Irian Jaya.

    July 27 Compromise announced in the Assembly after long debate on how parties and constituencies should be represented. Government gets to appoint up to one-third of members.

    August Suharto places all armed forces under his control.

    August 8 ASEAN is founded. Original members are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand.

    Bengkulu is made a province.

    October Anti-Christian riots in Makassar; Suharto speaks against religious violence.

    Series of bank failures involving deposits by Bulog raise questions of corruption.

    IGGI group of countries giving foreign aid to Indonesia is organized.

    Suharto was President of Indonesia from 1967 until 1998. Most of his long presidency was marked by economic growth and enforced consensus.

    The parliamentary compromise of July 1967 began a long period where the legislative branch of government was mostly controlled by Suharto himself. Some ABRI generals, including Nasution and recent Suharto allies Kemal Idris and Gen. Dharsono, commander of the Siliwangi division, were opposed to the plan. Dharsono was soon sent away as ambassador to Thailand to reduce his influence.



    Foreign Minister Adam Malik says that Indonesia will make an independent foreign policy, but one friendly with the USA.

    February 20 Parmusi party founded, including some former Masyumi supporters.

    March 27 Suharto wins Presidential election.

    August Army-run oil companies, including Permina, are merged into Pertamina, headed by Ibnu Sutowo. Pertamina now has a monopoly on the oil industry in Indonesia, but work is contracted out to foreign firms as well.

    Monopoly on clove imports is granted to Suharto's half-brother Probosutejo and Liem Sioe Liong.

    December Bulog loses significant funds in another bank failure, damaging its ability to buy rice in 1969.

    In the aftermath of the 1965 events, many people who had not professed a religion before signed up as a member of one of Indonesia's five recognized religions: Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, or Kristen (Protestant). A person without a religion was seen as a possible Communist. As a result, the number of Catholics and Christians/Protestants grew rapidly in the late 1960s, although Muslims remained 90% or so of the total population.

    In the late 1960s, and again in the late 1970s, there were suggestions within the government, possibly from Suharto himself, to have "kebatinan" or "Islam-abangan" added as an official religion that citizens could register under. By "kebatinan" was meant the traditions of Javanese mysticism, much of which had survived for centuries and had little to do with standard Islam. The effect would have been to reduce the number of registered Muslims in the census, and so to reduce the political power of Islamic parties and politicians across the board.

    The Parmusi party was supposed to be a replacement for the Masyumi party, which had been banned due to the 1958 rebellions. Parmusi was never able to win support of most former Masyumi supporters, though.



    April Repelita I, the first five-year development plan, begins. Its goal is to restore the economy, build infrastructure, and make Indonesia self-sufficient in rice cultivation.

    Indonesia repudiates earlier citizenship treaties with China. 80,000 ethnic Chinese lose their Indonesian citizenship.

    July Prison camp is opened on Buru in Maluku for former PKI members.

    July 15-August 2 Village councils in Irian Jaya, under pressure from Opsus special forces in the region, vote in favor of joining Indonesia.

    September 17 Irian Jaya is formally made a province.

    November Assembly finally passes bills to approve the July 1967 compromises. A certain proportion of seats will be appointed as representatives of "Functional Groups": Golkar.

    November 22 Mochtar Lubis publishes newspaper articles detailing corruption in Pertamina.

    December 4 Members of "functional groups" on local councils are prohibited from belonging to political parties, with the exception of Golkar.

    U.S. President Nixon visits Jakarta.

    Starting in 1969, Suharto's government decreed a number of restrictions on political activities, parties and organizations. However, the government claimed that Golkar was not actually a political organization, and therefore was not covered by the restrictions. The result was that Golkar was able to be the only political party without restrictions.

    Also in 1969, the government under Suharto elevated Sukarno's 1963 presidential censorship decree to the status of law.

    Under Repelita I, the first five-year plan of Suharto's government, 60% of the government's budget was funded by foreign aid through IGGI, the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia.


    Suharto visits Washington.

    January 22 Student protests are banned after series of demonstrations against corruption.

    January 31 Suharto appoints a commission to investigate corruption in government.

    February Government employees are told to be loyal to the government and to support Golkar. Civil servants are told to avoid political activities and organizations.

    June 21 Sukarno dies at Bogor.

    July Results of anti-corruption commission's investigation-- that corruption is widespread throughout government--are leaked to the press.

    August Pro-PKI remnant is purged near Blitar, East Java.

    August 16 Suharto announces that only two corruption cases will be brought to court. Anti-corruption commission is closed.

    Mrs. Tien Suharto and businessman Liem Sioe Liong found PT Bogasari flour mills.

    Liem Sioe Liong and Probosutedjo (Suharto's brother) gain a monopoly on the import of cloves.

    Around 1970, the New Order government started heavy promotion of family planning programs.



    Government, following Suharto's lead, refuses to remove ban on the Masyumi party.

    July 3 Golkar wins 2/3 of seats in Assembly in elections. PNI and NU trail far behind.

    New Assembly (DPR) consists of 360 elected members, 75 appointed ABRI officers, and 25 appointed members from other groups. New MPR now has 920 members: the 460 total members of the DPR, 207 members chosen directly by Suharto, 123 chosen by the political parties, and 130 chosen to represent the provinces.

    Liquefied natural gas exports begin from Aceh and East Kalimantan.

    Bulog takes over the pricing and distribution of sugar.

    December KORPRI (Korps Karyawan Pegawai Republik Indonesia) is founded by the government to replace all other organizations of civil servants and government employees. Dharma Wanita is founded for the wives of civil servants.

    Makassar is officially renamed Ujung Pandang.

    Candidates for the elections of 1971 were screened by military security; many PNI, NU and Parmusi members were disqualified by the military to stand for election. Political parties--except for Golkar--were restricted from campaigning in rural areas. Golkar enjoyed an advantage from its support from the military, and the compelled support from civil servants and government employees. Golkar also received substantial financial support from various sources. The Opsus special forces group influenced political activity as well.



    March IMF obtains agreement from Indonesian government to limit its borrowing, and borrowing by Pertamina and other agencies under government control.

    June Dry weather and government inaction lead to rice shortages on Java. International prices for rice increase as the Indonesian government is forced to start importing. Beginning of "rice crisis".

    October Suharto, under IMF pressure, issues decree that all international loans to state enterprises must be approved by Bank Indonesia and the Minister of Finance.




    January 5 Smaller political parties are merged into two organizations by the government. Nahdatul Ulama, Parmusi and other Islamic groups are merged into the PPP (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, or United Development Party).

    Murba, PNI, and smaller Christian and Catholic parties are merged into the PDI.

    Many labor unions merged into umbrella organization.

    March Assembly (MPR) elects Suharto to second term.

    U.S. and Japan cut back on rice aid to Indonesia. Rice prices remain high.

    May Suharto promises IMF that future borrowings by Pertamina will be limited to short-term loans.

    August 5 Dispute over a traffic accident leads to widespread anti-Chinese violence in Bandung. One person is killed, property damage is substantial.

    September 27 Islamic students demonstrate and take over the Assembly in protest of proposed secular marriage laws.

    War in the Middle East leads to increase in international oil prices.

    November Student protests against foreign influences, poor economic conditions, and corruption in government spread. Gen. sumitro speaks to student groups.

    November 30 Several prominent persons, including former Vice-President Hatta, sign a statement critical of the power of foreign investments in Indonesia.

    The "rice crisis" of 1972 and 1973 pushed many Indonesians back into hard economic times, and led to political instability, espressed mostly by student demonstrations.

    After 1973 until the end of Suharto's presidency, there were only three political parties in Indonesia: Golkar, which had special status and the backing of the government, the PPP, which was to represent Islamic interests, and the PDI, which combined the remnants of Sukarno's PNI party and smaller Christian-oriented parties. Only Golkar was allowed to campaign outside the cities, only Golkar was allowed to conduct activities outside of a strictly controlled campaign season, and government employees, including teachers and minor local officials, were compelled to vote for Golkar.

    The protest by Muslims against the marriage laws not so much because of the laws themselves. Islamic advocates thought that a secular government should not be making decisions on behalf of the Muslim community, even though they agreed with the intention of the laws.


    Repelita II (beginning of second five-year development plan). Its goal is to raise living standards, concentrating especially on food, clothing and housing.

    January 12 Suharto meets with student protesters.

    January 14-17 Japanese P.M. Tanaka visits Jakarta. "Malari" riots ("Malari" standing for "January 15th Disaster") break out during visit: student demonstrations involving tens of thousands lead to violence, looting and fires. Eleven demonstrators are killed. Gen. Sumitro, as head of Kopkamtib, does not act to stop the protests.

    Widespread arrests follow the "Malari" riots. Most public meetings are banned, newspapers and magazines are closed, including Indonesia Raya, headed by Mochtar Lubis. Gen. Sumitro is demoted.

    Intelligence agencies are consolidated under the command of Gen. Benny Murdani. Opsus is disbanded.

    April Coup in Portugal supports decolonization; political parties form in East Timor: UDT (centrist), Fretilin (communist), Apodeti (integrationist)

    The government's response to the "Malari" riots was to increase suppression of free expression and restrictions on foreign investment. Some questioned the military's handling of the riots, suggesting that individual commanders or factions might have delayed action against either protesters or rioters, possibly due to sympathy with the students, but possibly also to allow violence to break out and so discredit the protesters.

    After 1974, economic policies were more restrictive and nationalist, a change from the relative liberalism of the early Suharto years.

    The global oil crisis of 1974 led to much higher prices for Indonesian oil, but it also created an economic recession in America and Europe, so sales of the higher-priced oil actually fell.

    Masjid Istiqlal is one of the largest mosques in the world-- another project dreamed of by Sukarno, but finished by Suharto.



    Suharto dedicates MONAS, completed now after 14 years.

    Taman Mini Indonesia opens in Jakarta.

    February 18 Pertamina, the state oil company, defaults on a $40 million short-term loan from a consortium of U.S. banks.

    March 10 Pertamina defaults on a $60 million Canadian loan.

    March 14 Bank Indonesia tells Pertamina's creditors that it will pay Pertamina's debts up to $650 million, and that Pertamina would not be borrowing on the international market.

    April Bank Indonesia stops publishing financial statistics.

    May 20 Report to the Assembly states that Pertamina's total debt is more than $10 billion, much of it in enterprises that have nothing to do with oil. Major General Harjono is appointed to oversee Pertamina's finances.

    June Commission on Timor meets in Macao; Apodeti and UDT attend, Fretilin does not.

    August 26 UDT takes control in Timor by coup; Portuguese simply leave.

    September Fretilin declares rebellion, drives UDT out of Dili into Indonesian territory, begins killing enemies.

    September 16 Papua New Guinea gains independence from Australia.

    October Indonesian commando units start limited operations in East Timor.

    November Fretilin declares independence, demands withdrawal of Indonesian units.

    December Indonesia launches full invasion of East Timor at Dili and Baucau, installs new government at Dili with UDT and Apodeti members.

    Suharto finally orders reforms in Pertamina's corporate structure.

    It was widely known before 1975 that corruption was a problem within Pertamina, but it was only when the company began to default on its debts that the remarkable size of the problem became clear. Pertamina's total debts may have been as high as $10 billion at their peak. In 1974 Pertamina had a larger fleet than the Indonesian Navy. Fixing the mess left by Ibnu Sutowo and Pertamina was very expensive for the Indonesian government-- foreign debt literally doubled due to the affair.

    Many people died after Indonesian troops entered East Timor, mostly from the side-effects of war: famine due to dislocation and disease. The government of Indonesia has said that 30,000 died, a number which is too low; foreign leftists often say 200,000, a number which is probably too high. The Indonesian military suffered casualties that were probably higher than they had planned, as well. Heavy operations seem to have lasted for three or four years.

    The architects of the takeover were Ali Murtopo, head of the Opsus covert operations force, and Gen. Benny Murdani, who had gained control of all intelligence agencies. Suharto himself is said to have been uncomfortable with the way events in East Timor finally proceeded.

    In 1975 and 1977, some refugees from Maluku who had fought against the Republic of Indonesia as "Republik Maluku Selatan" took hostages in terrorist incidents in the Netherlands. In spite of the heavy media coverage of these events, the actions drew little support inside Indonesia, partly because so many RMS supporters had fled to the Netherlands in the early 1950s.



    February ASEAN leaders meet on Bali.

    March 3 Ibnu Sutowo is removed as head of Pertamina.

    March Indonesia receives over $2 billion in financing and credits from governments in America, Europe and Japan to meet the Pertamina crisis.

    May Government begins to cut back on Pertamina's non-oil projects, cancelling some, transferring other projects to other state enterprises. Several top officials of Pertamina are fired.

    May 31 "People's Assembly" in East Timor declares for integration with Indonesia.

    July 17 East Timor officially becomes a province.

    August First Palapa communications satellite is launched.

    In the late 1970s, two new waves of popular music swept Indonesia. From Bandung, a new and sensual sound called Jaipongan arrived about 1976. Another new development was the explosion of Dangdut, popular music from singers such as Rhoma Irama, that showed both Arabic and rock influences, and expressed the disaffection of Muslim youths.

    Ibnu Sutowo, an old friend of Suharto, finally fell from power when Suharto hosted a meeting of ASEAN heads of state on Bali. Ibnu Sutowo appeared in a helicopter, and took President Marcos of the Philippines away on a golfing trip, leaving Suharto behind. Suharto never forgave him, and Ibnu Sutowo was out of Pertamina within days.



    Adm. Sudomo announces that a plot against the government by an Islamic group called "Komando Jihad" has been stopped.

    May Golkar wins 2/3 of vote in elections; PPP party wins majority in Jakarta. PPP alleges fraud in Central Java, East Java and South Sulawesi.

    Adam Malik becomes Vice-President.

    Ali Sadikin retires as governor of Jakarta.

    Indonesia lands paratroopers in Baliem Valley, Irian Jaya, to stop OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka) raids.

    September ABRI begins heavy operations against Fretilin on East Timor--operations continue for 18 months.

    November 10 Student protests are held around the country on Hari Pahlawan (anniversary of the Battle of Surabaya, 1945).

    December Release of most remaining prisoners from 1965 events begins.

    December 12 Nasution speaks against the government at a public rally of Muslims in Jakarta.

    The leader of the "Komando Jihad" was later shown to have ties with ABRI intelligence. Some said that the whole affair might have been manufactured to discredit the Islamic PPP party before the elections.



    January 18 Student council at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) issues "White Book", an extensive paper criticizing the government, and calling for Suharto to be replaced. Dharsono gives speech in Bandung saying that the military should be more responsive to the people's desires.

    February Government troops occupy ITB campus. Student leaders are arrested in Bandung, Yogya, Surabaya, Jakarta, and Medan. Many newspapers are shut down for a week.

    Sultan of Yogya announces that he will not run for vice-president again.

    March 22 Suharto elected by Assembly (MPR) to third term. Adam Malik is vice-president. PPP members walk out over the use of the word "beliefs" rather than "religion" (a perceived motion for "kebatinan" and against orthodox Islam).

    March 28 Group of retired ABRI officers, led by Dharsono, complains to army chief of staff about excessive military presence in Jakarta during the Assembly session.

    "P4" courses in Pancasila introduced into schools, companies, goverment offices.

    B. J. Habibie becomes Minister for Technology.

    July Attorney General's office announces that investigations into the Pertamina affair are over. Ibnu Sutowo is not charged.

    October 17 Meeting of top ABRI officers publish paper on dwifungsi doctrine, stating that the military should probably reduce its presence in civilian life.

    Majlis Dakwah Islamiyah is founded as a Muslim organization associated with Golkar.

    Use of Chinese characters in almost all printed materials is banned, including labels on imported goods.

    Department of Religion forbids members of the five official religions to seek converts from among the other official religions.

    See also Notes on Pancasila.



    Repelita III calls for shift toward manufacturing in the economy, creating more jobs, and closing the gap in income between rich and poor.

    May Former Gen. Sumitro publishes article saying that the succession to the presidency should be conducted fairly and openly.

    June 1 Vice-President Adam Malik gives a speech saying that the government has make mistakes and violated the spirit of the 1945 constitution, but that dissatisfaction should not lead to violence.

    October Legislation is introduced into the Assembly to reform the election laws. Government critics try to increase the number of elected seats in government.

    Oil prices jump up again following the Iranian revolution.

    December Government issues a series of weekly magazines for distribution in small villages.

    Unlike the 1973-1974 oil crisis, the 1979-1980 rise in oil prices led to a huge influx of cash for the Indonesian government.

    Repelita III had a goal to bridge the income gap between classes in society, but it did not succeed in this.



    February "ABRI Masuk Desa" program, involving military involvement in local development, begins.

    February 20 A group of 26 politicians and military figures issues a petition for fair elections.

    March 27 Suharto tells a meeting of regional ABRI commanders that they should defend their appointed seats in the Assembly, even with force.

    April Suharto publicly denies charges of corruption and immorality.

    May 13 Petisi Limapuluh/Petition of Fifty criticizes Suharto's role in government. Signers include Nasution, former governor of Jakarta Ali Sadikin and former Prime Ministers Natsir and Harahap. The petition is not reported in the Indonesian media.

    June 3 Government announces discovery of a plot against the government. No charges are filed, but restrictions are placed on the business activities and foreign travel of "Petition of 50" signers.

    Procedures for ethnic Chinese to apply for citizenship are reformed.

    July Members of PPP and PDI in assembly ask Suharto to respond to the issues in the "Petition of 50".

    August Suharto responds to critics in Assembly that existing committees in the Assembly could investigate any issues regarding his speeches or positions. No action is taken.

    November 19 Three days of anti-Chinese rioting break out in Surakarta. Violence spreads to Semarang, Pekalongan, and Kudus. Military is brought in to restore order.

    The "Petition of Fifty" urged that Indonesia hold free elections without coercion or special privileges. It criticized Suharto for redefining "Pancasila" to mean "loyalty to the president". It asked members of ABRI to put their loyalty to the nation above loyalty to any person or faction.

    In March and April of 1980, Suharto gave speeches stating or implying that he was the "embodiment of Pancasila". Some saw his statements as irreligious, others as anti-democratic. These speeches were an important factor that brought together many prominent figures to sign the "Petition of 50".



    March 11 Radical Muslims attack a police station at Cicendo, Jawa Barat.

    March 28 Radical Muslims hijack a Garuda airliner bound from Palembang to Medan. The plane is stormed by Indonesian troops in Bangkok; seven are killed.

    World Bank report criticizes the spending of oil money on large-scale industrial projects that create few jobs.

    Xanana Gusmao becomes leader of Fretilin.

    Even as oil money flowed into Indonesia in the late 1970s and early 1980s, foreign investment was falling due to heavy restrictions on foreign investment, and due to the high subsidies for state-owned companies which made private competition difficult.


    Forest fires in East Kalimantan.

    April Nearly one million turn out for PPP rally in Jakarta. Competing Golkar rally is attacked by PPP supporters, who are then fired on by security forces. Seven are killed. Tempo Magazine is closed for two months for reporting on the incident.

    May Dwifungsi doctrine for the armed forces becomes law.

    Golkar wins a reported 2/3 of vote in elections. PPP party wins majority of votes in Jakarta.

    September Publication Licenses are replaced by a new Surat Ijin Usaha Penerbitan Pers (SIUPP: Permit to Operate a Media Organization).

    November Import controls are instituted for a wide range of agricultural and industrial goods.

    Gen. Benny Murdani is appointed head of ABRI.

    In 1982, the Indonesian government began promoting transmigrasi (resettlement) of people from Java and other central islands to Irian Jaya.

    The SIUPP licensing was more harsh than previous censorship. Before, a newspaper which published an article that the government did not like would be shut down. The SIUPP license covered all publications belonging to a corporation, so if one magazine published an article which was banned, the government could use that to stop publication of every newspaper and magazine belonging to that company.



    March 23 Cease-fire agreement signed between Indonesian government and representatives of Fretilin (East Timor guerillas).

    April Suharto elected by Assembly (MPR) to fourth term.

    "Petrus" anti-crime initiative begins in large cities.

    May Government announces that it will scale back plans for heavy industry development.

    Rupiah devalued due to falling oil prices.

    August 31 ABRI resumes attacks on Fretilin in East Timor.

    Gen. Murdani becomes head of ABRI.

    Sudharmono becomes Golkar chair.

    October Golkar membership, originally intended for "functional groups", is opened to the general public. An aggressive membership campaign is started.

    Abdurrahman Wahid becomes administrative chair of Nahdlatul Ulama.

    By 1983, the economic boost from high oil prices in 1979-1980 had gone away, as the rest of the world fell into recession.

    Xanana Gusmao and an ABRI commander during the brief cease-fire in East Timor in 1983. Gusmao led a low-level guerilla action (Fretilin) against Indonesian forces in East Timor throughout the 1980s. By 1989, the Indonesian government felt comfortable enough to reopen East Timor to foreign travelers. Gusmao was captured in 1992.


    Repelita IV begins.

    Suharto states that all organizations must adopt Pancasila.

    May 30 Bill introduced into Assembly that organizations must adopt Pancasila as their doctrine.

    Unrest around Jayapura in Irian Jaya; some rebels retreat from Indonesia to Papua New Guinea.

    August Radical Islamic speakers give anti-Chinese, anti-Christian and anti-government sermons in poor areas of Jakarta, including Tanjung Priok.

    August 20-22 PPP congress accepts Pancasila as guiding doctrine.

    September 8-10 Disputes between local mosques in Tanjung Priok district of Jakarta and security officers sent to investigate anti-government leafleting turn to violence and arrests.

    September 12 A demonstration in Tanjung Priok demanding the release of arrested activists is fired on by troops; 63 are killed. General rioting breaks out in the area. Hundreds of arrests are made.

    September 18 Group of government critics, including Dharsono, issues paper describing the Tanjung Priok incident.

    October 4 Bombing attacks kill two in Jakarta; targets are Bank Central Asia and a shopping center in Glodok, the Chinese quarter.

    October 29 Explosions rock an ABRI munitions dump near Jakarta, 15 are killed.

    November 8 Dharsono is arrested for subversion.

    December Muhammadiyah accepts Pancasila as doctrine.

    December 22 Assembly passes law requiring all political parties to adopt Pancasila as doctrine.

    December 24 Church bombings in East Java.

    The Tanjung Priok incident remains a sore point to this day. The head of ABRI at that time was Gen. Benny Moerdani, a Christian. The response of moderate Islamic politicians was to call for a freer and more equitable society, while a minority of radical Muslims used the incident to justify the scapegoating of Christians and Chinese that had helped spark the tragedy in the first place.

    In October and November, a series of spectacular fires occurred in and around Jakarta, causing expensive, but scattered, property damage. No cause was ever reported.



    January 10 Trials begin for those arrested during and after the Tanjung Priok incident.

    January 21 Radical Muslims explode bombs at Borobudur, damaging the monument.

    All labor unions are merged into SPSI.

    Nahdatul Ulama votes to leave the PPP party and withdraw from politics.

    April 1 VAT (value added tax) is introduced.

    May 1 Customs service is contracted to Société Générale de Surveillance, a private Swiss firm, in an attempt to stop corruption.

    May Government issues first public financial report on Pertamina in ten years.

    Assembly passes law requiring all organizations to adopt Pancasila.

    June Trials against Islamic activists occur across Java.

    July Mysterious fires destroy several buildings in Jakarta, including the state radio and TV stations.

    August Hundreds of alleged PKI supporters are removed from government jobs. Many PKI prisoners from the 1965 events are executed.

    Ginanjar Kartasasmita is named to head Capital Investment Coordinating Agency, which permits or restricts foreign investments.




    April 10 Sydney Morning Herald publishes article on corruption by Suharto and his family.

    April 30 U.S. President Reagan visits Indonesia; two reporters in the entourage are denied entry.

    May Relations between Indonesia and Australia deteriorate due to the Sydney Morning Herald article. Plane of Australian tourists is turned back at Denpasar, Bali.

    May 6 Fiscal and monetary reforms are instituted.

    September Rupiah devalued again; oil prices hit bottom; exports begin growing.

    October Friendship treaty between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

    October 9 Sinar Harapan newspaper is banned.

    Jakarta authorities order becaks off of city streets; 20,000 becaks are dumped in the sea.




    April 23 Golkar receives 3/4 of vote in elections.

    Number of seats in Assembly (DPR) is increased. Of 500 members, 100 are appointed ABRI officers.

    Gold rush in East Kalimantan province.

    December 25 Government announces that most regulations on exports will be dropped, many other economic reforms.




    January 5 Government budget reveals that 36% of projected income for the year will go to service the national debt.

    March 10 Suharto is elected by the Assembly (MPR) to a fifth term.

    March Ali Alatas is foreign minister.

    May Gunung Api on Banda erupts.

    September 5 Kopkamtib security force, established during events of 1965, headed by Gen. Murdani, is replaced by Bakorstanas, headed by Gen. Try Sutrisno. Unlike Kopkamtib, Bakorstanas is answerable directly to President Suharto.

    October 27 Banking deregulation is instituted. Capital markets and foreign investment are partially deregulated. Economic liberalization takes hold.

    November 21 Import controls are loosened; shipping and trade are partially deregulated. Economy starts rapid growth.

    November 28 Government announces restrictions on the activities of foreign missionaries.

    Sudharmono is replaced as Golkar chair under army pressure, but is chosen by Suharto to be Vice-President.

    Gen. Benny Murdani is removed as head of ABRI, but is made defense minister. Try Sutrisno becomes head of ABRI.




    February 6-8 Army suppresses clash over land rights in Lampung; as many as 100 are killed.

    March Clandestine operations against rebels in Irian Jaya begin; continue through August.

    Commerical television begins broadcasting in Jakarta.

    March 7 Hamengkubuwono X becomes Sultan of Yogyakarta.

    June Government audit shows that two-thirds of state-run businesses are financially unsound.

    East Timor reopened to foreign tourists; restrictions on internal travel are lifted.

    Clash between Islamic activists and ABRI troops at Bima.

    Repelita V begins.

    September Suharto visits Moscow.

    October Censorship board is founded to make recommendations to the Attorney General regarding bans on books and publications. Members include the ABRI and intelligence officers.

    October 12 Pope visits East Timor. Riots in Dili.

    Economic growth started to speed up in 1989, with a variety of moves toward economic liberalization. Some government figures called for free markets and globalization, while others called for subsidizing development in the national interest.


    Indonesia and China restore diplomatic ties.

    March Suharto gathers 30 of the top businessmen in Indonesia to his ranch in West Java, and tells them publicly that they should sell up to 25% of their businesses to "cooperatives".

    April Indonesia and Papua New Guinea sign security agreement.

    Stock market in Jakarta begins steep fall.

    June Indonesian forces pursue Irian Jaya rebels into Papua New Guinea territory.

    Tommy Suharto granted monopoly in clove trade.

    October Indonesia and Papua New Guinea ratify the April security agreement.

    December 7 B.J. Habibie founds ICMI.

    Army suppresses rural unrest in Aceh.

    ICMI (the Indonesian Association of Muslim Intellectuals) received encouragement from Suharto as a competitor to Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, organizations that were beyond the government's control.



    Indonesia begins hosting talks on Spratly Islands dispute.

    Protests by Muslims over a proposed government lottery.

    April Democracy Forum founded, led by Abdurrahman Wahid of NU.

    November 12 Unrest in East Timor; soldiers fire on demonstrators in Dili, resulting in over 200 dead.

    Bank Mualamat Indonesia founded for observant Muslims.




    March 200,000 attend mass NU rally in Jakarta.

    Indonesia and Papua New Guinea officials meet to discuss the disposition of more than 6000 refugees that had fled Irian Jaya to Papua New Guinea after fighting between Indonesian forces and rebels.

    April Suharto abolishes IGGI consortium of foreign-aid organizations; tells Dutch in particular to "go to hell" with aid.

    June Golkar wins 70% of vote in elections. PPP gains 17%.

    September Indonesia takes chairmanship of Non-Aligned Movement for three years.

    November 20 Xanana Gusmao is captured in East Timor and sentenced to life in prison. Fretilin rebellion weakens.

    December 12 Severe earthquake hits Flores; 2200 are killed.

    Bank Summa collapses.

    The Dutch and other western countries had been pressuring the Indonesian government on human rights issues. Suharto's "go to hell" remark was a reminder of the aggressive (and popular) stance against foreign influence that Sukarno took in the 1950s.


    January Pressure from rank and file in PDI not to renominate Suharto for president is deflected by PDI head Suryadi.

    March Suharto elected by Assembly to sixth term; shuffles cabinet, B.J. Habibie and Ginanjar Kartasasmita gain prestige. Try Sutrisno is Vice-President.

    Feisal Tanjung becomes head of ABRI.

    May Leader of OPM (Irian Jaya rebels, Organisasi Papua Merdeka) Marthen Luther Prawar is killed in a clash with Indonesian forces.

    October Harmoko becomes Golkar chairman.

    December Megawati Sukarnoputri is chosen new PDI chair.




    Government cancels publishing license for "Tempo", largest magazine in Indonesia; continues to be published on Internet.

    November Indonesia is APEC chair for 1994, hosting summit conference at Bogor. Bogor Declaration calls for free trade and investment throughout the APEC nations by 2020.

    Repelita VI begins.

    In late 1994 and early 1995, there were reports that Indonesian forces had killed as many as 37 people who were protesting the activities of the Freeport copper mine in Irian Jaya.



    February Sri Bintang Pamungkas is expelled from the PPP party for criticizing the government.

    September Christian mobs burn down homes and shops belonging to Muslims in Dili and other cities in East Timor.

    October OPM rebels burn the Indonesian