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Jakarta Post

Historian urges government to authenticate Supersemar

  • Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, March 12, 2016   /  10:08 am

The government, through the National Archive Agency (ANRI), should try harder to obtain an authentic document of the March 11 Indonesian Presidential Executive Order (Supersemar) as mystery still surrounds the events concerning the mandate, which changed Indonesia'€™s political course 50 years ago.

Currently, there are three typed copies of the Supersemar, which was issued by Indonesia'€™s first president Sukarno that marked the transfer of power from the founding president to the late Gen. Soeharto, with the latest one obtained from a cleric in East Java in 2013, said Asvi Warman Adam, a historian at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

The controversy surrounding the Supersemar that remains a mystery is whether if the mandate was indeed merely an order to restore the country'€™s security '€” amid uproar following an attempted coup believed to be by the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) '€” or a transfer of power to Soeharto. Another riddle is whether or not Sukarno was forced to issue the mandate.

A televised recording of Sukarno delivering his last state address in August 1966 said that the mandate was not a transfer of authority.

Asvi said the government should try to look for the original document at the private residence of Soeharto and his family in Cendana, Jakarta, adding that the 2009 archive law legitimized such an effort if the document were to be included in the official search list of documents, although there has not yet been any implementing regulation to utilize the mechanism.

'€œJust look for it at Cendana, who knows if it is there,'€ Asvi said on Friday. '€œThe logic is, if Supersemar is important for Soeharto who was known for appreciating artifacts, he must have kept it close.'€

He later, however, admitted that it was hard to reveal Indonesia'€™s true history since Soeharto took power because his New Order regime had only given people its version of history.

As the stigma of communism that resulted from the numerous accounts before and after the Supersemar remains to date, Ari Nurcahyo of the Para Syndicate think tank said the history should be used by the country'€™s young generation to learn from and look forward to a better future.

On Friday, the Para Syndicate held a discussion aiming at reminding the youth about the importance of appreciating history.

Last year, anti-PKI protests were held in several regions following misinterpreted information that circulated in the public of President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo planning to deliver an official apology to the PKI during his speech to commemorate the country'€™s 70th anniversary at a ceremony, at the legislative building on Aug. 17.

However, Jokowi'€™s speech did not mention the PKI or deliver a state apology, but only emphasized the government'€™s commitment to finding the best solution toward reconciliation for past abuse cases, including the anti-communist purge.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) had declared that the systematic persecution of alleged members of the PKI was a gross human rights violation, however, Attorney General M. Prasetyo had suggested ruling out the judicial process and insisted that reconciliation would be the best solution to settle past human rights violations.

Political and military expert Kusnanto Anggoro said reconciliation indeed would be '€œan instrument for [improving] our future'€, while Asvi said '€œreconciliation should be started with revealing the truth; not only the PKI case, but also other past cases.'€

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