Tuesday, March 8, 2016

History Revealed: Soeharto - Who is Suharto?

       Siapa yang tidak kenal dengan Jenderal Besar TNI H. M. Soeharto. Beliau adalah presiden Indonesia yang ke-2 (periode 1967-1998). Dalam masa order baru, Soeharto melakukan berbagai pembangunan infrastruktur dan ekonomi, yang masih bisa kita rasakan manfaatnya hingga saat ini.

       Kini, tahun 2015, dosen pembimbing saya di Taiwan bertanya: "Do you know Soeharto? I heard he did so many things to your country. I know it from the history book when I was a student. He is a very good president, isn't he?" 
That is what the Taiwan school say about Soeharto. Well, he is pretty famous. "If you ask me, I think he was not that good. He did nepotism when he was a president." 
       Then, I read a book in the library with title International Business An Asian Perspective (Hill et al., 2012). The book tells a little about Soeharto:
Di tahun 1996, ketika Jenderal Besar TNI H.M. Soeharto memiliki jabatan sebagai Presiden, majalah TIME menggambarkan beliau sebagai sosok seorang professional kantoran dengan rambut hitam keriting, mata coklat, dan wajah terbuka dan innocent.
30 tahun kemudian, majalah TIME tersebut melacak $9 billion uang Soeharto yang ada di akun bank Swiss.
"It was just a part of the huge wealth amassed by the former President and his family; a fortune that included a $4-million penthouse in Singapore and a $12 million masnion in an exclusive neighborhood of Los Angeles, as well as a fleet of planes including a Boeing 747-200 jumbo jet, a DC-10, and a Boeing 737.
Suharto began his political career on a strong anticommunist platform, cleansing the nation of all traces of the previous Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI), and ushering in a new era of development and prosperity. For many years, Indonesia was a paradigm of industrialization. Suharto centralized power and authority in the military but wielded that power to allow the privatization of Indonesia's valuable natural resources. Suharto also modified labor laws, making the investment in Indonesia much more attractive to multinationals. From 1980 to the mid-1990s, Indonesia's GDP rose at rate of about 6.5 percent per year.
However, the same tightly-controlled and well-net-worked systems that allowed Suharto to transform Indonesia was also the basis of a system of patronage, kickbacks, and corruption. Companies involved as agents, distributors, and importers int he overall business environment tended to be owned by family members and close friends, These businesses were often granted preferential contracts, some even holding monopolies on the distribution of major products such as petrochemicals. Indonesia's privatized natural resources, including real estate, became concentrated in the hands of Suharto's family and some of his close allies. Banks lent these family-owned ventures at ridiculously low interest rates, and would often forgo repayment.
The same regime that had brought about rapid economic development was now laying the foundation of deep-rooted corruption and patronage, so much so that it became a way of doing business in Indonesia. The World Bank once estimated that as much as 30 percent of Indonesia's development budget was lost -over a period of two decades- through widespread corruption throughout its civil service. Suharto himself was dubbed one of the most corrupted leaders in the worlds, with Transparency International estimating his personal plunder at anything between $15 billion to $35 billion.
The later part of Suharto's rule was also filled with accusations of human rights violations and other crimes arising from a 24-year occupation of East Timor by Indonesian forces.
Finally, after nearly 32 years in power, Suharto was forced to step down in 1998. The reason: the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 left more than half of Indonesia's population below the poverty line. The growth of Indoensia's Gross Domestic Product tell to indicate regression, with the rate at about -13 percent."
The history revealed. 

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