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Article in Jakarta Post titled 'An appeal to Bapak Soeharto' PDF Print E-mail

THE JAKARTA POST

November 19, 1998

An appeal to
'Bapak' Soeharto

Indonesia is the largest Moslem country in the world, and as such it is of enormous interest to all Moslems, including myself. The events surrounding the last day of the Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), both inside the Assembly and outside - will remain forever etched in my mind. On one hand the speaker of the House of Representatives/Assembly was conducting the session in a very casual, joking and happy mood, whereas outside the Assembly the tragic and bloody events were taking place.

It was a stunning contrast ecstasy inside and agony outside. One must admire the young students who are willing to put their lives on the line to struggle for democratic reforms that will benefit all Indonesians. Blessed be the youth for their energy and determination. Where others flinch, rash youth will dare, One hopes that the events of the last few days will motivate Indonesian's leaders to listen to the voice of the students to find a unified approach to solve the problems in a peaceful and dignified manner. As a long-time well-wisher of Indonesia, I focus my appeal, as follows, to only one senior leader, Bapak Soeharto, who still has the capacity and the financial power to defuse the current crisis.

Bapak Soeharto, newspaper stories indicate that Indonesia is in far worse shape than any other Asian country. Between 40 million to 100 million Indonesians now have only one meal a day. Nobody cares about these people except the students who want to bring an end to their suffering. I am sure you can help.

I have read many news reports which indicate that you have a lot of money, Earlier this year, Forbes magazine put your personal wealth at US$16 billion and that of your children at $ 14 billion. People say that money is the root of

evil, but I believe that the love of money is the root of all evil. Money has power that can be used to do more good for others. Therefore I respectfully appeal to you to please use only a few billion dollars of your own money to set up a trust - the Soeharto Legacy Foundation
to create new companies in order to provide jobs for graduating students and poor people. Once again, you should ask the western-educated economic advisers - known as the Berkeley Mafia - to help develop the trust's companies and get them going in a proper way. You should personally control the overall supervision of the trust. This would be better for your physical and 'mental health. It is not healthy for you to sit in the house all day, be sad, watch TV, and do nothing.

Bapak Soeharto, please call a meeting of the top 10 students of various universities, sit down with them in the presence of President Habibie, Gen, Wiranto and the economic advisers and inform them about your plans concerning the creation of a trust to help provide jobs for students and the poor. I am sure that the students will favorably -listen to your honest intentions and plea. This approach will put you on a new course that will gradually build your credibility and reestablish your respect in the eyes of your people. It will make you feel good, once again, and also it will be better for the future of your children.

I have always admired you for the lot of good things you have done for Indonesia, and I feel that it will be a great tragedy if you end your life in disrespect and humiliation like the shah of Iran and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines.


A. KHALIQ QURESHI
Jakarta

 

1998

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