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U.S. Upholds Myanmar Sanctions and

U.S. Upholds Myanmar Sanctions
I'nesian army supports Suharto
Relatives of slain activists demand Suharto quit
Suharto must go say leaders
Army chief rejects parliamentary leader's call
Students enter parliament while armed troops look on
Students look to lessons of Tiananmen
Opposition groups band together to oust Suharto

May 18, 1998.  Washington Post
U.S. Upholds Myanmar Sanctions 
Monday, May 18, 1998; 3:47 p.m. EDT 
GENEVA (AP) -- The United States will maintain economic sanctions against
Myanmar as long as the Asian nation is guilty of large-scale political
repression, President Clinton said Monday. 
Clinton issued a notice keeping in place an order he issued a year ago
banning new investments by Americans in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
He declared a national emergency then to impose the sanctions. 
The president said the declaration will remain in force ``as long as the
government of Burma continues its policies of committing large-scale
repression of the democratic opposition in Burma.'' 
Clinton issued the order during a brief speechmaking visit here at the end
of a six-day European trip. 
 Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

The Nation (May 19, 1998)
I'nesian army supports Suharto
JAKARTA -- Indonesian military commander Gen Wiranto Monday turned down a
parliamentarian proposal to ask President Suharto to step down and said
the Indonesian armed forces preferred to see a cabinet reshuffle and
moderate reform over presidential succession. 
''Abri [the armed forces] perceives the proposal to be the opinion of some
individuals, presented collectively, but not representative of the House
of Representatives,'' Wiranto said. 
All of Indonesia's six television and more than 600 radio stations
broadcast the military announcement, repeating it every five minutes and
giving the impression that the military was quite disturbed by the
proposal in Parliament. 
Wiranto held the impromptu press conference after meeting with the chiefs
of staff of the army, air force, navy and the police. 
Clad in their star-studded green uniforms, the generals sat next to
Wiranto to face more than 100 foreign and local journalists at the
Ministry of Defence in central Jakarta. 
Lt Gen Prabowo Subianto, Suharto's son-in-law who is also the commander of
the army strategic and reserve command (Kostrad), also attended the
meeting and accompanied Wiranto in the conference. 
The meeting was held some hours after House speaker Harmoko along with
four deputies made their unexpected move. They supported the public call
for reform and surprisingly called on President Suharto to step down. 
''We believe that President Suharto has the wisdom and the heart to give
way to another leader to lead the reform,'' said Harmoko, who is also the
chairman of Suharto's ruling Golkar party and a 15-year member of the
The call in parliament for Suharto to step down came after growing
pressure to do so by various organisations of students, opposition
politicians, Muslim and Christian leaders, union leaders, as well as
business managers. 
Jakarta remained a gloomy capital Monday night, with thousands of burned
and looted buildings, from Bekasi in the eastern part of the city to
Tangerang in the west. Huge shopping malls turned off their lights as
bodies of burned-out cars still littered the quiet streets. 
In housing areas from the kampungs to middle class areas, men were seen
wielding clubs and knives to guard their houses. 
In a move to soften his backing of Suharto, Wiranto said the military
would help set up a reform council to work closely with intellectuals,
students and parliamentarians to organise moderate reforms. 
''Abri cannot tolerate people and organisations which advocate for their
own interests,'' Wiranto said, as if trying to say that Harmoko and his
deputies, who are widely known to have been Suharto loyalists in the past,
switched sides in the last minute just to save themselves. 
''Abri understands that the demand that President Suharto step down has no
constitutional basis. Such a demand should be made by all the members of
the House,'' Wiranto said. 
As thousands of students from the provinces flowed into Jakarta, the
general called on them not to conduct their planned nationwide protest
Wednesday. The protest is to commemorate Indonesian students who
established the first modern organisation, during the Dutch colonial
period in 1908. 
Earlier Monday, some 6,000 students from 46 universities rallied inside
the compound of the House of Representatives, joined by a dozen retired
generals and key opposition leader Amien Rais, and threatened not to leave
until Suharto steps down. 
''If today there is no clear explanation from Mr Harmoko, we will continue
to wait here,'' a student representative said. ''Suharto must resign
Amien, head of the 28 million-strong Muslim group Muhammidiyah, has
pledged to lead a major protest Wednesday on the riot-scarred streets of
''Suharto, the people do not trust you any longer. Please abandon your
power. Please return your mandate to the People's Consultative Assembly,''
he shouted. 
Besides the thousands of students inside the compound, around 1,000 people
gathered outside the gates to observe the spectacle, causing a major
traffic jam. 

Relatives of slain activists demand Suharto quit 
ABOUT 300 Thais, relatives of democracy activists killed in the streets of
Bangkok by the military six years ago, rallied briefly Monday outside the
Indonesian embassy, demanding that President Suharto quit. 
The activists' relatives, joined by representatives of groups such as
Assembly of the Poor, Asian Cultural Forum and Development, Forum on Human
Rights and Development, Student Federation of Thailand and a handful of
Burmese students in exile, demanded that Suharto stop the killing of those
protesting against his rule in Jakarta's streets. 
''I would like to urge Suharto to take Bloody May 1992 (when the Thai
military killed pro-democracy activists), as a good lesson to step down
from power and stop killing people,'' said Adul Khiewboribul, whose son
died in the 1992 protests against Thai general Suchinda Kraprayoon, a
former coup-maker who was appointed prime minister after April 1992
Government records say 52 Thais were killed, hundreds others wounded and
39 went missing due in the military's crackdown on protesters in the
capital's streets in May of that year.

Hongkong Standard (May 19, 1998)
Suharto must go say leaders

House Speaker Harmoko called on President Suharto to resign. 
THE leadership of Indonesia's parliament urged President Suharto yesterday
to resign for the sake of national unity after bloody anti-government
riots here left 500 people dead. 
``In reacting to the current situation, the leadership of the parliament,
both the chairman and the deputy chairmen, hope that for the sake of
national unity and cohesion, the president, in a wise and sage way, should
resign,'' House Speaker Harmoko said. 
Mr Harmoko read the statement before a small group of students and
journalists at the press room of the parliament, triggering cheers from
the gathering. Witnesses said he looked pale and left immediately
Mr Harmoko said the decision came after a meeting of the leadership of the
People's Representative Council (DPR) _ the country's parliament _ earlier
yesterday to ``study in detail and earnestly the rapid development in the
national situation related to the people's aspirations concerning
Popular pressure for Suharto to step down escalated yesterday as a cabinet
minister quit and hundreds of students converged upon parliament to demand
the withdrawal of the veteran leader's mandate after 500 people died in
rioting last week. 
Mr Harmoko, former chairman of the ruling Golkar party, said the people's
aspirations included a demand for a special session of the People's
Consultative Assembly (MPR), and for the president to step down. 
``To discuss the matter, tomorrow, 19 May 1998, the leadership of the
council (parliament) will meet with the head of the parliamentary factions
and the result will be conveyed to President Suharto,'' he said. 
Under the constitution, the MPR is the nation's highest legislative body
and picks the president and vice-president every five years. 
Suharto received a seventh five-year mandate and a new vice-president,
Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, was confirmed by the MPR only last March. 
There was no immediate statement from Mr Habibie. Protesters have also
demanded he step down. 
Article 8 of the country's constitution states: ``Should the president
die, cease from executing or be unable to execute his duties during his
term of office, his office shall be taken by the Vice-President until the
expiry of that term.'' - AFP 

Army chief rejects parliamentary leader's call
FOLLOWING is part of a statement read by armed forces chief General
Wiranto yesterday: 
``There are some people who want to gather big crowds on the 20th of May
in Jakarta. 
``This has the same potential of danger and risk as the tragedy which we
have all just experienced. . . 
``They are driven by this excessive current of freedom which disturbs the
freedom of others and even threatens lives and property and also
``Therefore, the armed forces. . . must defend and protect the
constitution and the nation's stability. 
``Abri warns that a nation that does not respect the constitution will
never be peaceful and is prone to destruction. . . 
Regarding the statement by the speaker of the house ... the armed forces
have the opinion and understand the statement . . . does not have legal
Such opinion . . . should be taken by all members through a plenary
Abri is still of the opinion that the duty and obligation of the President
is to carry out the cabinet reshuffle and to carry out thorough reforms. .
Abri is calling for the establishment of a reform council whose members
would include the government and all the community, especially campus
figures and critics. 
- Reuters 

Students enter parliament while armed troops look on
INDONESIAN students calling for the ousting of President Suharto raised
the tempo of their movement several notches yesterday, entering parliament
and taking over its committee rooms to demand action. 
Hundreds of armed troops with automatic rifles at the ready threw a cordon
around the parliament complex in central Jakarta but did not block the
students from entering. 
Thousands, dressed in college jackets of yellow, orange or blue, walked
in, waving roses and offering them to the soldiers. 
Many then staged a sit-in in front of the main parliament building and
sang anti-Suharto songs, while others broke into committee rooms and
converted the debates going on into discussions on Mr Suharto's future. 
Scores of university teachers, former bureaucrats and religious leaders
accompanied the students, with black armbands inscribed with the words
Reformasi, or reform. 
``What we want is for the People Consultative Assembly (MPR) to hold an
extraordinary meeting to ask the president and vice-president to step
down,'' said Dimyati Hartono, a professor of law at the University of
``Now is the turning point. It's a new era in the history of Indonesia.'' 
The 1,000-member MPR, most of which Mr Suharto appointed, meets once in
five years to set state policy and elect the president. It includes
politicians, civilian and military officials. The MPR last met in March
and named Mr Suharto, 76, to his seventh consecutive five-year term. 
One of the most engrossing debates in parliament was in a committee room
where Muslim leader Amien Rais addressed legislators. 
``Our government, in any clear analysis, has lost its moral, political and
economic legitimacy,'' said Mr Rais, the head of the 28-million strong
Muhammadiyah organisation. 
Mr Rais said after meeting MPs that ``basically all parliamentary members
have the same idea: they are longing for reform and changes.'' Asked what
message he would convey to Mr Suharto if he was given the chance, he said:
``I will give a strong message to him: look Mr Suharto, people do not
trust you any longer, so what is the use of holding on to power so
stubbornly?'' - Reuters 

South China Morning Post (May 19, 1998)
Tuesday May 19 1998

Indonesia On The Brink 
Students look to lessons of Tiananmen 

The campus protesters facing off against Asia's longest-serving leader say
they are not only trying to make history but are studying it for
Propaganda leaflets circulating on Jakarta's streets and elsewhere
describe struggles for reform from across the region, including China's
1989 Tiananmen Square movement. 
The crudely printed sheets, run off overnight by groups of activists, urge
workers and students to learn the lessons from the challenge to the
Chinese Communist Party's grip on power, which ended with the June 4
massacre by PLA troops. 
"The legendary movement has been thrust back into the limelight recently
with the release of Wang Dan," one four-page leaflet, entitled "Lapar" or
"Hunger", said. 
Across Indonesia, students have clashed with security forces in their
three-month drive to depose President Suharto. 
They say that knowledge of Tiananmen may help them to overcome their New
Order foes as tensions rise. 
"Lapar" quotes Mr Wang - exiled by Beijing to the United States in April -
and also included a saying from Confucius. 
"Confucius, the Chinese sage, had special convictions about the role of
"He said, 'if the king's policies are bad and nobody tells him this, they
have a cowardly attitude strong enough to destroy a country'." 
Indonesia's students complain Mr Suharto has brought their country to the
brink of ruin and say they have a moral duty to save the nation and its
At Jakarta's University of Indonesia, Bandung's Institute of Technology
and other centres, the students argue that to win against Mr Suharto they
must involve "the people" and "the people's army" in their movement. 
"Let's depose Suharto! The people united cannot be defeated!" read large
banners draped across campus entrances. 
"Lapar" says Tiananmen may help students broaden their support. 
"Their [the Tiananmen protesters'] calls were supported by many circles in
society, even the citizens of Beijing supported their actions. They
supplied food and drinks during the stand-off," said "Lapar". 
The fliers also list calls to action, essays on links between students and
workers and even humorous columns to lighten their mood as the
confrontation appears to stretch out. 
One Jakarta resident said: "I saw a leaflet that listed the 10 best
excuses to give your landlady when the army barricade the campus all
"Lapar" signs off with a challenge. 
"There are only three choices," it says. 
"YIELD, which would let down the people, STAY SILENT, which means you
would be oppressed like the people; ADVANCE, with the people we can
advance change." 
Those facing the soldiers must wonder if by choosing the final option
Jakarta will match Beijing's lethal response.

The Straits Time (May 18, 1998)
THAI security forces repulsed Myanmar bandits in Mae Sot, the Bangkok Post
reported yesterday. 
The shoot-out took place at the Moei river. 

MAY 18 1998 
Opposition groups band together to oust Suharto 

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's long-suppressed opposition groups appear to be
seizing the moment and organising themselves to exploit their first real
chance to bring down President Suharto. 

Scavengers going through the rubble of a house destroyed by looters. --
In just a few days, amid rioting and protests, new pro-reform groupings
have sprouted, gathering leading critics and public figures aiming for a
democratic and pluralistic Indonesia. 
Several existing organisations, some considered close to the ruling Golkar
party, have joined the bandwagon. 
Their top demand is that Mr Suharto, 76, who was given a seventh five-year
mandate in March, make way for a new leadership and reforms. 
"This is the birth of new forces which are free of government
intervention," said political analyst Mochtar Buchori. 
"...There has never been real freedom to meet and organise. But they would
still need to consolidate to become effective." 
About 60 public figures and intellectuals, including dissidents and former
officials, set up a People's Council on Thursday and immediately called
for Mr Suharto to step down "to allow reforms to proceed smoothly and
Twenty-four hours later, 40 religious figures and leaders of social and
non-governmental organisations, intellectuals and students formed another
new pro-reform group, the Indonesia Working Forum. 
On Saturday, the Coordination Body of Muslims that groups 11 Muslim
organisations including the Indonesian Association of Muslim Intellectuals
-- which on paper count Mr Suharto and Vice-President B. J. Habibie as
patrons -- was set up. 
It also called for the resignation of Mr Suharto, which it said would be
the first step in constitutional reforms. 
Many members of the new organisations, such as the outspoken leader of the
28-million-strong Muhammadiyah Islamic movement Amien Rais, are also part
of other pro-reform groups, creating an interlocking network all aiming
for a Suharto-free Indonesia. 
MEDAN - An Indonesian soldier was beaten up by other troops when he fired
rubber bullets directly into a crowd of students staging an
anti-government protest in Medan, witnesses said. 
The soldier opened fire on Saturday when the University of North Sumatra
students, marching to the local parliament, attacked a man they suspected
was a security officer. 
"On the way there, the students gave chase to a man suspected of being an
intelligence officer,'' a witness said. "When security personnel saw
students running towards them, they thought they were going to be attacked
and fired into the air, except for one who fired into the crowd.'' This
soldier was then beaten up by his colleagues. 
The Suara Pembaruan afternoon daily reported yesterday that five students
and one soldier were injured in the incident. North Sumatra military
commander Major-General Ismed Yuzairi has since expressed regret over the
incident and apologised to the public. - Reuters, AFP
"By joining forces in the People's Council, their calls will be heard more
than if they had made them individually," political analyst Arbi Sanit was
quoted as saying by the Media Indonesia daily. 
The National Committee of Indonesia was due to be formed here today by a
group of elderly politicians also seeking change. 
A surprise call for the President to step down also came from Kosgoro, one
of three main mass organisations that banded together in the 60s to form
what is now the ruling Golkar party, and the Indonesian National Committee
of Youth, the state-sponsored umbrella for youth groups. 
Fifteen retired generals of Mr Suharto's generation, which spearheaded the
country's fight for freedom from Dutch colonial rule in the 40s, on Friday
signed a document saying they would "welcome" his resignation. 
The academic leaders of the elite state-owned Indonesia University (UI),
whose students and alumni have been the vanguard of protests to demand
comprehensive reforms, on Saturday went to see Mr Suharto to convey the
"aspirations" of the community. 
"One of the aspirations is succession," said UI Chancellor Budi Santosa.

Yours sincerely,
Kyaw Zay Ya

"If you give a man a fish, he will have a meal. 
 If you teach him to fish, he will have a living. 
 If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. 
 If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. 
 If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. 
 By sowing a seed once, you will harvest once. 
 By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. 
 By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold."  (ANONYMOUS

("If it is not broken, don't fix it" leads to the worst situation.)