Aceh, Irian Jaya may secede, Amien warns
Decisive policy initiatives are needed, he says.
National Assembly (MPR) chairman Amien Rais warned yesterday that Aceh and Irian Jaya could break apart from Indonesia in one to two years’ time if Jakarta did nothing to address separatist pressures there.
Mr Amien said that the current government was pursuing “ad hoc measures” to problems in the restive provinces instead of decisive policy initiatives that included a fairer wealth distribution and an end to human rights abuses.
“The thing that obsesses me most now is the threat of disintegration,” he told The Straits Times in an interview. “It is becoming more real and imminent. If Indonesia pursues the path of the former Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, there will be so much chaos and anarchy.”
He said that East Timor provided a “classic example” of what Indonesia could expect if provinces like Aceh and Irian Jaya broke apart from the archipelago.
It led to a huge outflow of refugees, human rights problems and international intervention. Mr Amien said that it could also lead to ethnic cleansing of the Javanese and other minorities in these areas.
He stressed that Jakarta should adopt long-term solutions to keep the provinces within the Indonesian fold.
For a start, revenue sharing needed to be more “just” to ensure that the central government did not keep the “lion’s share”.
“There is a lot of anger and frustration because wealth from the resources in these provinces are not distributed fairly,” he said.
Coupled with that were resentment over human riots violations by Indonesian armed forces (TNI) personnel or army-backed elements in Aceh and Irian Jaya.
Mr Amien disclosed that he was shocked when a senior official from the State Coordinating Intelligence Body (Bakin) told him that the organisation was not tasked by the President to collect intelligence from these places.
He said if the government was not pro-active, it was only a matter of time before the two provinces went their own way.
“It will become very messy for Indonesia because other provinces might want to follow suit,” he said.
“If nothing significant is done by the current administration, Aceh and Irian Jaya might just go in one or two years’ time.”