Indonesia: Vengeance with a Smile

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Suharto works in league with two civilians, the Sultan of Jogjakarta and Adam Malik, who with him form a triumvirate that combines the best of power, brains and traditionalism—with a maximum of dedication and a mini mum of personal ambition. Suharto provides the power of army backing. Malik, a Sumatran with practical diplomatic experience, provides the brains. And Hamengku Buwono IX, the Sultan of Jogjakarta, adds the traditionalism and prestige.

The Sultan, 54, is Deputy Premier for Economic Affairs. As traditional ruler of Jogjakarta, to whom most Central Javanese attribute mystical as well as governmental authority, he stands slightly aloof from the murky power struggles. Even General Suharto believes to an extent in the Sultan's cosmological powers, which, according to Javanese tradition, were transmitted to him through his family kris, an ornate, curving dagger. The Sultan's kris is special. It was once owned by his ancestor, Prince Diponegoro, whose 19th century revolt against the Dutch made him one of Indonesia's foremost heroes.

Despite his mysticism and nobility, the Sultan is regarded by his fellow citizens as a genuine Indonesian revolutionary. One of the first Javanese royal princes to study abroad, Hamengku Buwono was educated at the University of Indology at Leiden in The Netherlands, hurried home to become Sultan when his father died in 1940. He immediately joined the 1945 independence movement and, from his position as both spiritual leader and governor of the city of Jogjakarta, provided a powerful political foe for the Dutch—who were afraid to remove him, afraid to allow him to stay and ended up by confining him to his palace. It was then that Suharto and the Sultan first met, and throughout the revolution they kept in regular touch with each other through couriers.

The Sultan's ancient roots and prestige, as well as his Western education and reputation as a revolutionary, make him a likely successor to President Sukarno in the elections now scheduled for 1968. For now, however, he labors long hours in a neat white building next to the American embassy in Djakarta.

The Sultan is desperate to reschedule foreign debts and get emergency credits. He flew to Japan in May to start the ball rolling with a $30 million emergency loan to buy spare parts, takes off next week to put his case before Indonesia's creditors in Western Europe. Once those emergency steps are completed he might be able to get on with the urgent task of rebuilding exports and imposing rigid austerity at home.

At the same time, Deputy Premier for Social and Political Affairs Adam Malik, 48, a no-nonsense Sumatran who is the third member of the triumvirate that Suharto heads, will be touring Eastern Europe in search of the same kind of aid. Malik, who was once Sukarno's Minister of Trade, is well liked in Moscow and hopeful of getting results.

A former newspaperman, Malik from the beginning took a hard line against Sukarno, daring to stand up and argue with him while Suharto preferred to keep silence. And from the moment he took office, Malik was a vocal advocate of an end to konfrontasi, led the Indonesian delegation to Bangkok last month for the talks with Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Razak that halted the three-year-old war.

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