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Jakarta, 16 August 2001
Unofficial Translation


Honorable Speaker, Vice Speakers and Members of the House of People’s Representatives, Honorable Chairmen and Members of  the Highest and High State Institutions, Your Excellencies Ambassadors of friendly countries, Distinguished Guests, and my beloved fellow countrymen,

Assalamu ‘alaikum Warrahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,
May peace and prosperity befallen upon all of us,

At the outset, allow me to invite all of us to jointly praise and thank God the most merciful and the most compassionate, for only with his Mercy can we gather together in this noble and esteemed Assembly Hall. At this juncture, such praise and gratitude certainly are very meaningful for us. 

First, tomorrow morning our beloved Republic will celebrate its 56th Anniversary. During the last year we together could also show to ourselves and to the outside world, that this complex multi-ethnic nation at a glance, although seemingly prone to conflict, in fact has an endurance beyond the expectations of many people. We must be indeed very thankful for that.

Secondly, after going through tense months, laden with political conflict, even constitutional one, we all, from whatever group, finally succeeded to prove that we are capable of settling our differences of opinion peacefully. With all the criticisms, we also witness that the Constitution of Proclamation still in fact serves us well.

Previously, many observers and our friendly nations were truly worried that we would slide into an even deeper anarchy. Thanks to God the Almighty, all this did not happen. The spirit of togetherness which we built with perseverance and determination since the beginning of the 20th Century, turned out to be far stronger than all short-term challenges that we faced. Now, God willing, we are ready again to roll up our sleeves to handle many difficult problems long awaiting for us to solve. In my observation, it is one of the indications that we are becoming more mature as a nation.

Yet, above all, there is really something more important. Since the beginning, when this nation was formed, we agreed that to form and maintain our beloved nation was only made possible by the blessings of the Almighty Allah. I am sure that this is not only the declaration of faith from our very religious people, but also the explanation that cannot be denied by anybody. Seemingly, there is no other explanation which can be given as to why we were able to overcome the so many throbbing problems.

Once again, indeed we are obliged to be thankful, without slipping into complacency. During the last four years our whole nation lived under a constant fear, because we were stricken by the monetary, economic, security, political crises, coming just one after the other and, worse still, we felt that there had been institutional crisis and conflict. This was not only felt at the central level, but also in the villages. It is then understandable that many were worried, even very worried, of whether or not the Republic painstakingly established by our founding fathers, would be able to survive or otherwise disintegrate.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With such a condition, it is not surprising if then many questions arise whether we are able to resolve the multi-faceted problems quickly and holistically. Certainly, it is not the case. Like a disease, a crisis can erupt very suddenly, however, its recovery is obviously a time-consuming process. Many problems and arrangement which we have to correct are not only technical and small in nature, but also there are instances when we have to correct the functions, structures and working methods of our national and state institutions, both at the supra-structure as well as infra-structure levels. 

Beyond our expectations, the weakness of the political supra-structure and infrastructure in fact instigates also a chance for various conflicts among people to emerge in an unprecedented form and intensity. There have been already many losses, both in human casualties and material losses. There are many things we have to correct before we can enter the normal life as a society, nation and state, at least in accordance with common standards generally recognized in modern nations. The question is what we should do to implement the correction.

We need to make corrections based on our own vision and strength notwithstanding the many shortcomings and weaknesses we have. Clearly, we have the ability to do so. We have so far succeeded in developing adequately our human resources at all levels and professions, which can be utilized to the maximum possible extent in managing the national resources for the prosperity of the people.

Only a few countries in the world are as blessed as Indonesia which is laden with abundance of natural resources. If only would those natural resources be well managed, our people would have been living in a much prosperous environment. Now, we should find out the root of the problem as to why it did not so happen. Would it be possible that there could be a mistake in the vision and strategy of development, which we applied in the past? Or is it due to the mechanism and working procedure we now use? Or is it because there are many deviations in the implementation?
We can only accomplish this gradually, starting from the most urgent needs, which cannot be delayed. Indeed the so many crises cannot be possibly resolved all at once. In the short-term, we need to restore the living condition of the people, nation and state, bringing a breath of fresh air, secured feelings and a better living environment for all of our people. This is closely related to normalizing the situation, which among other things is needed for the functioning of democracy and the upholding of law. We are aware that there is not much we can do unless these minimum conditions are met.

More or less, we have started to achieve these minimum requirements. In the environment which is already becoming better, we are witnessing that our people are able to develop and make use of their endurance, perseverance and creativity to survive and improve their prosperity. We ought to admire the tough endurance and creativity of our people. During the four years of monetary and economic crises, their creativity did not only succeed in supporting their lives, even perhaps rescuing the Republic.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In order to make these short-term steps beneficial fundamentally, we also need to take medium and long-term strategic steps, not excluding the systemic one. We should perhaps ask ourselves, taking into account the recurrence of the crises in our constitutional life; is there anything that we can do to perfect our constitutional principles or rules?

Recently, at the level of leadership and the educated people, there emerged an awareness of a need to make more comprehensive and more conceptual amendments to matters pertaining to the system of state based on the 1945 Constitution. The founding fathers themselves identified such need as mentioned in Article 37 of the 1945 Constitution. 

However, even if we agree to make the amendment it should be done with great care as well as with basic and mature thinking, fulfilling thereby the long-term needs of our nation. We desire that the constitutional amendments we are going to make would not only serve as a political framework and togetherness, but also stepping stones for us to advance toward a more just, democratic and peaceful future.

It is for that reason that in preparing, formulating and implementing the amendments we have to hold firm the basic intention establishing this country. This basic intention is included and clearly stipulated in the Preamble of the Constitution. The founding fathers of our nation characterized the Unitary Republic of Indonesia as a “free, united, sovereign, just and prosperous” nation. I believe that this content-value of this simple formula which we are familiar with is indeed clear and needs no meticulous explanation. 

The task given to the government of the Republic of Indonesia is also clear, simple and understandable, that is “to protect all the people of Indonesia and the country of Indonesia, to promote general prosperity, to improve the living standard of the people and to participate in the implementation of world order, based on freedom, eternal peace and social justice”.

The basic morale is thus also clear, simple, distinct and fundamental viz. “Belief in the One Supreme God, Just and Civilized Humanity, the Unity of Indonesia, Democracy Led by the Wisdom of Deliberations among Representatives and Social Justice for the Whole of the People of Indonesia”. 

For us, what we need to jointly conduct is to follow up these clear and bold axioms, turning them into reality to be enjoyed by every citizen in the entire archipelago. This state vision should be used as a yardstick not only for the national and state livelihood in general, but also for the conduct of the central and local governments entrusted by the people to continuously carry it forward.

The honor to modernize the 1945 Constitution certainly lies in the hands of the People’s Consultative Assembly that constitutionally is the embodiment of the Indonesian people. 

In this context – taking into account the intensive public discourse on the need to amend the 1945 Constitution and in order to give as widest as possible opportunity for all segments of the society to contribute to the perfection of the Constitution – it seems to be more beneficial should the Assembly focus its attention to assemble a term of reference that hopefully could function as a main guidance for preparing the amendment’s concept. This main framework could also be utilized to widen the public political discourse. The substance of the discussion, which is increasingly dynamic, can also in turn be crystallized and drafted comprehensively, systematically, and professionally by a constitution commission, to be then reviewed and endorsed by the Assembly’s General Session. I am of the opinion that not only would these measures be able to modernize the 1945 Constitution that contains important historical values and solidifies its openness and democratic nature, but it also would smoothen its future implementation. 

The Honorable Session of the House

In building up comprehensively and conceptually the basis for the amendment, there seems to be some points that need further contemplation and require us to address them fundamentally. These cover, inter alia: clarifying the nature of state unity that institutionally and operationally gives and acknowledges the rights for regional autonomy; a basic policy to maintain the political unity and national territorial integrity; the institutional relations between legislative and executive branches; the general election’s system; the relations between the regional and central governments; the response to the implications sustained by the government caused by our national diversity, including respect for local customs, cultures, and institutions of our traditional society. The essence is the composition of concrete materialization of the society’s infrastructures, the nationhood and the statehood in a constitutional format, as to allow us to bring into reality the national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika enshrined in our National Arm Coat.

In particular we have to draw our attention to the relations of, and interconnections between, our traditional society spreading through out the Indonesian archipelago with the national spirit as well as with the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Our clarity in understanding the relations among these three elements is a constant factor, and becomes one of the keys for the continuity and progress of our beloved republic. 

The 1945 Constitution itself acknowledges the existence of this traditional society together with its own backyard and refers it as ‘special region’. 

Our long history has recorded wide and intensive relations among members of these various traditional societies. It may take a form of family relation, custom and culture relation, or even of religious relation as well as a close economic relation between members of a given island with another island. These complex historical bonds can be considered as a solid social and cultural foundation for the emergence and the development of a sense of nationalism in modern terms. 

The development of a new Indonesia also requires restructuring the relations between the central and local governments. We are aware of the fact that not only have the overly centralistic infrastructures been inefficient so far, but they also have not been able to provide an opportunity for the emergence and development of initiatives and creativities of our citizens. In the framework of relations between the central and regional governments, much of the authorities and state budget supports should be allotted to the districts and mayoralties. Whereas the central government’s tasks and authorities will only be focused on a number of strategic fields that are really needed by the nation.

In a more operational mode, which would directly or indirectly influence the policy of law and the policy of law enforcement, there is also a need to draw a clearer line on the essence, character, method and materialization of the reforms movement as well as the democratization process that we have embarked upon since 1998. I observe and carefully listen to complaints lodged by some members of the society indicating that under the banner of reforms and democratization there have been many flaws committed forcing us to question whether or not they are still considered to be legitimate reform drives or have instead exceeded their proportion. In several instances, we witnessed the outbreak of various mass riots, some of which have been conducted in the name of reforms and democratization. These series of actions have arisen concerns over the possibility of the emergence of anarchy in the midst of our society be it in soft, mild, or harsh forms. These have forced us to ponder on the need to gradually carry out genuine reforms and democratization drives with a clear agenda and conducted in the framework of our indirect and representative democratic system namely through the Houses of Representatives. These Houses of Representatives consisted of people’s representatives who are chosen by us through general elections organized directly, generally, freely, confidentially, fairly, and justly, hence command our trust. 

We do not indeed need to address these problems from the scratch. Apart from self-crystallizing the many experiences of our national and state livelihood, we can also benefit from various ideas, especially those related to the promotion and fulfillment of civil rights and political rights as well as social, economic and cultural rights in our concerted respect for human rights within the framework of the United Nations’ system.

We have to admit that our understanding on human rights in the context of today’s modern life is indeed insufficient and hollow. We need to observe this important point, for human rights are progressively advancing and becoming one of those basic cornerstones or, better still, they have become widely acknowledged parameters to judge whether or not a given nation-state has managed to reach a modern stage. 

Another important point that we need to ponder upon in drafting and implementing the modernization of the 1945 Constitution is the decrease of our social discipline. There have been cases in which we are not consistent in implementing what we have so far agreed upon as manifested in our disrespect of the laws and the rules of the game normally found in a modern nation-state.  All of these create an impression that there has been a missing link between what we think, see, and do in real life. 

Our difficulty in eradicating the KKN  practices, directly or indirectly, has put us into crisis sweeping the nation since 1997. In contrast to the feudalistic society’s framework that seemingly fails to see these KKN practices as a major issue, in the democratic framework it will be instead considered to be a formidable problem. The KKN practices regardless of how trivial they are, will transgress the public’s trust and at the same time violate the official oath.

In this context, allow me to humbly report to this august gathering that I have privately gathered all members of my extended family, requesting them to solemnly pledge not to open a slightest window of opportunity to allow the recurrence of these KKN practices entrapping them. 

They have given me their solemn pledge, and I hope that they would be able to also resist any temptation arising from their environment. 

I am sure that we will be able to undertake a major breakthrough to stop and overcome these KKN practices if we in this Nusantara Room promise – at least in our heart – not to redo them.

I have also requested all my cabinet members to report their wealth and as soon as possible submit it to the State Officials’ Wealth Audit Commission.

Although it looks simple, perhaps this small step will become a starting point of a much bigger social change that we have to carry out promptly. We need to start from our respective family and ourselves. God willing, gradually, but in the not-so-distant future, we will be able to become one of those highly rated governments that are well managed. More importantly, with this step we will be able to utilize effectively and efficiently our national resources chiefly for the welfare of the nation.

The Honorable Session of the House, 

There have been many lessons to derive from our neighboring countries indicating that the people’s welfare has tended to run parallel with good governance that, in turn, will become an important factor in the maintenance of social, political, and security stabilities. The experience has also shown that these stabilities are indeed prerequisite for the economic advancement to be enjoyed by the people. 

Recently, there have been discourses in the society on the concept of people’s economy. It has to be admitted that actually its understanding, scope, and contents of the concept have not been really clear. It is to be hoped that the Honorable Session of the House may also agree that during this transitional situation, we need first to solidify our understanding on these fundamental issues, before introducing the concept to the public. Lacking such an approach, I am afraid that confusion will arise in the society, or we would instill false hope that is difficult to deliver. 

As any normal concept, we also require the ability to deliver a concrete form or illustration on the concept under consideration. As a concept that is hoped to be featured as a national system, the ability to translate it into an operational strategy and program is indeed required. We have many experiences with various concepts; we ourselves however encountered difficulties in implementing them. That is why I really hope that we were wise in fielding new concepts, which are hoped to be featured as a national system. For, in relation to these welfare and economic issues, we have actually had clear references in the 1945 Constitution: ‘to promote general welfare, to educate the nation’s livelihood…’ etc. What we need is to advance and implement these fields to enable it to be featured as a national system.

It is within this context that the need to conceptualize a national vision and development strategy, as I previously touched upon, could hopefully become a source of inspiration for all of us.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

To operate a modern economic system without the support of a reliable national banking system is apparently impossible. We need to learn a lot from the past bitter experience in managing the banking sector, especially after the economic liberalization in 1983. We have violated so many conservative norms of managing the banking sectors traditionally cultivated by the world. We need indeed to derive lessons from it, so that we would not lose track for the second time.

Like it or not, to date we have been part of a new world characterized by the globalization in the field of politics, economics, and socio-cultural. What happens in another country influences also our nation, and vice versa. In pursuing economic interests, we have even ventured into formal commitments with other countries both bilaterally and multilaterally. 

Generally these commitments are purposely designed with the spirit of mutual benefit. It has to be admitted that some of them have been recently burdensome. Therefore, it is not absolutely wrong if amidst us there emerges a thought to demand to adjust these burdensome commitments. Notwithstanding the reasons, and without attempting to prejudge the goodwill behind this thinking: commitments are commitments. Agreement is agreement, be it national or international in nature. 

We have to do our utmost in order to honor the obligations contained in each of this commitment. Nonetheless, it is more than apparent that we will be more than thankful if our friendly countries as well as other donors are ready to provide us with enough room to maneuver and also give us ample time to respite, enabling us thereby to restructure our national live in this difficult transitional period. 

We are also facing a short-term challenge to be seriously dealt with through an uphill struggle, which is our participation in the AFTA and the WTO. Indeed, I believe it is not easy a task to maintain the national competitiveness in an open and highly competitive international trade when our economy is entrapped in a meager bargaining position. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Allow me now to touch upon the issues of recovery and the efforts to maintain the stability of our national security and defense. Not much we can do should there be no guaranty of security, or should there be no prevention or resistance on our part while our territorial integrity is being threatened. We do need an effective, highly discipline system as well as security apparatus, which are under the control of the government but remain inspired by the people’s aspiration.

In tandem with the process of national reforms aimed at creating a more democratic Indonesian society, the TNI  has pledged its commitment to continue carrying out its internal reforms by way of taking concrete measures to position itself professionally and functionally as the instrument of state defense and to uphold the enforcement of democracy as well as to abide by the law and to respect human rights. 

We also are consistently able to set apart the National Police from the TNI, notwithstanding the fact that there are cases where the military should provide assistance to the police. Yet, it is lucid that the TNI must focus its tasks on defending the territorial integrity, while the police would concentrate more on creating and maintaining security and feeling of secure among the people at large.

In this regard, together with the mounting need to complement and improve the professional capacity of the TNI and the National Police, it is incumbent upon the state to ensure the availability of the equipments and the minimum backups aimed at supporting the conduct of the maintenance of defense and security as mandated. It would be simply unfair if we give an uphill task to the TNI but fall short of providing them with proper equipments and logistical supports in an appropriate quantity and high quality.

As a result, there is a compelling need of an agenda and clear schedule to follow up the national policy on the TNI and the National Police. There are a lot of regulations to be amended, basic and implementing doctrines to be revised, and education and training programs to be conducted. 

I am aware of the fact that there are issues we are inheriting from the past with regard to the reposition of the TNI and the National Police that need to be dealt with carefully, in particular those relating to the alleged human rights violations in the conflict-hit regions. We learned some of the violations from the international media right after they took place, but some come to the fore only recently.

It has to be admitted that some contents of the news have pinned us down. Nevertheless, we also have a clear stance in this regard. Should there be any convincing proofs that human rights are violated outside the battleground, those who are found guilty should be held responsible according to the prevailing rules and regulations. We will not entertain any impression that we turn a blind eye to serious violations of human rights. For, it is clear that Indonesia is a state based on law. There are no single person is beyond the reach of law, even a president.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In preparing ourselves to embark upon a better future, allow me to dwell on the three questions from the past that need a comprehensive solution. They are the questions of East Timor, Aceh and Irian Jaya. 

Right from the outset, the issue of East Timor has an international dimension, especially in the framework of de-colonization. There was no specific design of the Republic of Indonesia on that region. Our involvement in the region should have been inadvertent, for it was the stance adopted by the state founding fathers that the territory of the Republic of Indonesia was the ex-territory of the Dutch Indies. No more, no less.

Leaving behind any intention to find out the background of this bitter experience, we have disentangled the question of East Timor in 1999 and honestly respected the choice of our brothers and sisters in the region to have their own state. Yet, some lingering issues remain to be solved, such as the solution for a considerable amount of the refugees and displaced persons in the province of East Nusa Tenggara, and the assistance for our East Timorese who feel more comfortable to remain living in our soil or to become the citizens of the Republic of Indonesia.

On the other hand, the context of the questions of Aceh and Irian Jaya is far different with that of the East Timor’s. These questions are strictly the internal matter of Indonesia, especially in the context of nation- and state-building. We have to honestly admit that the crux of the issues is the various policies of the past, which are considered compromising the interests of the people of those regions. It is therefore normal that we as a nation offer a sincere apology to our fellow citizens who have long been suffering from those inappropriate policies. 

It is indeed true that an apology does not suffice. It has to be accompanied by a series of rearrangement aimed at ensuring the recovery of the condition in a soonest possible fashion. Therefore, we are now doing basic corrections on the condition of the two regions, not only by way of paying respect to cultural identities and specific characteristics of the people in those regions, but also by means of granting the regional administrations more authorities to manage their respective regions in the framework of special autonomy. Yet, one thing is clear, all these should remain within the context of preserving the territorial integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

Allow me now to take this opportunity to ponder upon the urgency of maintaining the territorial integrity of the country. Territorial integrity is not only of high importance to the attribute of a nation-state, but also serves as an integral part of a stable world order, which has permanent boundaries. In this context, any movements carrying an intention to secede from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia would not only face our strong rejection, but also would never win the support from the international communities.

This very fact has to be taken into due consideration by those advocating such movements, especially those taking on violent actions that claim many lives of innocent people. From this august forum I call on my brothers and sisters who, due to many reasons, have involved in the armed conflict, to return to their society and together develop a new Indonesia, the one better than what we have now. As I said earlier, now we have at our disposal the instruments of special autonomy, which I believe could serve as a proper vehicle to bring the wish and aspiration as well as legitimate interests of all of you.

Honorable Speaker and Vice-Speakers,
Members of the House, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was based on my comprehension on all of those conditions that I formed the Gotong Royong  Cabinet in order to carry out the mandate you have entrusted to me until the end of my tenure in 2004. 

I do apologize for being late in announcing the line up of the new cabinet. The reasons was simply because it was not easy to pick up the most accurate ministers among the many nominees who are all of excellent quality and respected personage. It was due to the limited posts that I could not accommodate more candidates to take up the posts of coordinating ministers, ministers, or state ministers. I wish they would have the chance to assume their turn in the future.

In an attempt to withstand the questions I have stated earlier, allow me to recap the six programs of the Gotong Royong Cabinet.

1. Maintaining the unity of the nation in the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia; 
2. Continuing the process of reforms and democratization in all aspects of national life through clearer framework, direction and agenda, while improving the respect for human rights; 
3. Normalizing economic life and strengthening the basis for people’s economy; 
4. Implementing law enforcement consistently, creating feeling of safe and secure in people’s life, eradicating corruption, collusion and nepotism; 
5. Conducting the free and active foreign policy, recovering state’s and nation’s dignity and returning the trust of foreign countries, including international donor institutions and investors, to the government; and 
6. Preparing safe, orderly, secret and direct general elections of 2004.

I am fully aware that this cabinet would be unable to perform without understanding, cooperation and support from every quarters of the society. From this majestic forum, I, again, ask for those understanding, cooperation and support. Only through this approach will we be able to slowly but surely come out of this painful crisis.

May God the Almighty shower us with His blessings. Amen.

Wassalamu’alaikum warrahmatullahi wabarakatuh.


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