The Jakarta Post
Lawmakers have conflicting opinions regarding the government's plan to recognize former president Soeharto as a national hero, with some concerned about his bad track record on human rights and corruption.
Member of the House of Representatives (DPR) Akbar Faizal expressed concerns around Soeharto's 32-year dictatorship.
"It is really hard to describe him, it's like two different [people]". He ruled with iron fist and if I look back I get really mad about that. But, despite his mistakes, he also continuously developed Indonesia," Faisal told thejakartapost.com on Tuesday.
If Soeharto had not achieved so much development, Faisal elaborated, we may have been left behind as happened in some African countries where the government ruled with an iron fist but did not push development.
Fahri Hamzah, deputy speaker of the DPR, said that Indonesia's second president Soeharto had earned the national hero title with his achievements and services to Indonesia.
"We could not say that Pak Harto achieved nothing during his 32-year rule," Fahri said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
According to him, Soeharto, as the founder of Indonesia's economic development, gave the country strong infrastructure and political structure.
'Public disappointment is fair. It is the same for every president. There must be a disappointing part,' he admitted.
Two past presidents of Indonesia were nominated for national hero awards ' Soeharto and Abdurrahman Wahid ' but neither are likely to be awarded this year. (dan)(+)
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