Former Army general, govt
critic Kemal Idris dies

Former chief of the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) Lt. Gen. (ret) Achmad Kemal Idris died early on Wednesday at Abdi Waluyo Hospital in Central Jakarta.

He was 87 years old.

“My brother-in-law died at about 3:30 a.m. due to complication of lung infection,” Kemal’s in-law, Kurie Alim, told Antara news agency.

The remains are now laid in state at Kemal’s residence on Jl. Duta Indah I in Pondok Indah housing complex, South Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is slated to pay last homage to one of the prominent government critics of the past.

Kemal’s remains will be buried at a family cemetery in Ciawi, West Java later on Wednesday.

Born on Feb. 10, 1923, Kemal capped his military career as the Kostrad chief in 1967, when Indonesia saw a transition of power from Sukarno to Soeharto, who as the Kostrad chief in 1965 led a military move to foil a coup attempt blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party.

Upon retirement from the military, Kemal took up an ambassadorial post in Yugoslavia and Greece.

Later on he co-founded Petisi 50, which grouped retired military generals and civilian figures who criticized the government of President Soeharto.

Kemal’s memoir, written by senior journalist Rosihan Anwar, Ramadhan KH, Ray Rizal and Din Madjid, was published in 1996 to mark the golden anniversary of his marriage with Herwinur Bandiani Singgih Kemal. The memoir describes Kemal as one of three generals who played the driving force behind the New Order along with HR Dharsono and Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, father-in-law of Yudhoyono.

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