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Jakarta Post

MPR speaker Taufiq Kiemas dies at 70

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, June 9, 2013   /  07:38 am
MPR speaker Taufiq Kiemas dies at 70 (JP/Berto Wedhatama) (JP/Berto Wedhatama)

(JP/Berto Wedhatama)Taufiq, a senior politician who consistently called for a regeneration of national leadership, is survived by his wife, PDI-P chairwoman and the fifth president of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri, his daughter, Puan Maharani, and two stepsons Mohammad Rizki Pratama and Mohammad Prananda.

'€œHe passed away at 7:05 p.m. local time in Singapore,'€ House of Representatives deputy speaker and former PDI-P secretary-general Pramono Anung said in an official statement.

Pramono, who accompanied Taufiq during his last moments in Singapore, said that Taufiq'€™s remains would be buried in a military burial ceremony at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Kalibata, South Jakarta, at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Taufiq'€™s body will be laid to rest beside his parents, Tjik Agus Kiemas and Hamzatun Rusjda.

While there had been no official statement on the cause of death from Singapore General Hospital, where he was being treated, PDI-P lawmaker TB Hasanuddin said he heard Taufiq had died due to cardiac arrest.

Born Tastafvian Kiemas in Jakarta on Dec. 31, 1942, Taufiq was known for his enduring efforts to promote the country'€™s ideology among the general public.

The ideology consists of four pillars: the state'€™s five founding principles of Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, the concept of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia and the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in
Diversity) national motto.

For his relentless efforts, Taufiq was awarded an honorary degree from Trisakti University in March this year.

Taufiq was also known for being elected MPR speaker for the 2009-2014 period following a difficult political negotiation, including a walkout of the majority of regional representatives.

The road to becoming a respected senior politician, however, was a long one for Taufiq.

'€œIt was not instant for Taufiq. He started his political career when he was in college when he became the chairman of the Indonesian Nationalist Students Movement [GMNI] in 1963,'€ said Hanta Yuda, political analyst from the Pol-Tracking Institute.

Besides being active in GMNI, Taufiq also joined Revolution Soul Coaching Core (IPJR), an organization that promoted the teachings of the first president and Megawati'€™s father, Sukarno.

During this time, he met Guntur Soekarnoputra, Sukarno'€™s oldest son, who introduced Taufiq to Megawati in 1971.

Taufiq became known as a major proponent of Sukarno'€™s teaching.

His admiration for the first president saw him spend a year in a detention center at the Regional Military Command (Kodam II) Sriwijaya headquarters, after he was arrested in 1966 when sentiments for anything related to the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were not taken lightly.

Taufiq then married Megawati in 1973, which was Megawati'€™s third marriage. They had a daughter, Puan Maharani, and raised Megawati'€™s two sons from her previous marriage with pilot Surindro Suprijarso, who went missing during an accident while he was flying to Biak, Papua, in 1970.

Following the marriage, Taufiq and Megawati started paving their career paths that saw both of them turn into household names in the political world.

As a senior politician, Taufiq often stood out from other politicians of his age since he often came up with ideas that usually highlighted younger generations.

He once said the presidency of Indonesia should be reserved for individuals from younger generations.

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