The Archipelago

Govt urged to clear Soeharto’s

The government should make it clear that allegations of illicit behavior surrounding former president Soeharto are false, according to a relative.

“All the accusations aimed against former president Soeharto are untrue,” Probosutedjo, Soeharto’s half brother, said Friday as quoted by Antara at a ceremony at the Astana Giribangun family mausoleum in Matesih, Central Java, that marked Soeharto’s death 1,000 days ago.

After Soeharto stepped down, he was accused of hoarding wealth overseas in countries such as the US and France, he said, adding that everything had been probed and nothing had been proven.

“Soeharto and I were even accused of stashing Rp 8 trillion [US$896 million] in Surakarta,” he added.

“The accusations have never been proven. The government should have by now explained the truth to people so they understand the issue, and not ignore it forever,” Probosutedjo said.

He added that Soeharto’s actions were in line with his duty in leading the country and that everything had been recorded in due order.

“Please see this in the books kept at the Dalem Kalitan Solo,” he said.

“The country’s income was just Rp 300 trillion then but it could be used for development and improve people’s welfare—compared to now when the state’s income amounts Rp 1,000 trillion, but there’s no progress,” he said.

On naming Soeharto a national hero, Probosutedjo said it would depend on the government, adding that everyone was aware of Soeharto’s good service in the military and civil arenas.

Karanganyar Regent Rina Iriani Sri Ratnaningsih said several groups in the regency had proposed that the central government name Soeharto a national hero. Soeharto died at 87 on Jan. 27, 2008.

Soeharto’s eldest daughter, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, better known as Tutut, expressed appreciation for those who had come to pray for her father, mother and other family members interred in the mausoleum.

“I thank everyone who has come here to pray for my late father. May God accept all your prayers,” she said.

Soeharto’s three sons—Sigit Harjojudhanto, Bambang Triatmojo and Hutomo Mandala Putra—placed a tombstone during the ceremony, while his three daughters—Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, Hutami Endang Hadiningshih and Siti Hediati Heriyadi—placed a jasmine wreath.

Karanganyar Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Edi Suroso said the event had proceeded smoothly and peacefully.

More than 100 police officers, 30 Indonesian Military members and 30 public order officers were assigned to secure the event, he added.

According to the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), naming Soeharto a national hero might hurt people’s feelings.

“A majority of people in Indonesia still have negative perceptions of the New Order administration’s leader. The idea of naming Soeharto a national hero should be rejected,” LSI executive director Kuskrido Ambardi said in Jakarta on Friday.

In Cimahi, West Java, the Hanura Party said that Soeharto was not the right role model for the people of Indonesia.

Hanura Party leader Nurhasan told reporters that Soeharto’s informal title as “the father of development” was more than adequate.

— Slamet Susanto contributed to the story from Yogyakarta.

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