|Subject: SCMP - East Timor: Military plans funds
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Received from Joyo:
South China Morning Post Saturday February 6 1999
East Timor Military plans funds withdrawal
JENNY GRANT in Jakarta
The Indonesian military plans to divert funds from East Timor to other hot spots if the territory wins independence, the top military bureaucrat said yesterday.
Retired Lieutenant-General Soeyono, the secretary-general of the Department of Defence and Security, said the military funds spent in East Timor were badly needed in other areas.
"We pay a lot of money for transportation to East Timor, it's very expensive. We have to use planes and helicopters," he said.
General Soeyono said funds from East Timor would be diverted to protecting the borders between Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea and Kalimantan and Malaysia.
The military has never declared how much money it spends in East Timor. General Soeyono said spending in the territory was still considered a state secret.
Non-government sources said that, before the monetary crisis, the military spent US$1 million (HK$7.73 million) a day maintaining a presence in East Timor.
A more conservative estimate to cover wages for 15,000 troops, transport and weaponry costs is 150 billion rupiah (HK$135 million) a year.
General Soeyono said the latest independence offer was a good chance to spread resources more evenly across the archipelago.
He said East Timor was the golden child if compared to other provinces. The ratio of government spending per capita was 14 times higher than other provinces.
The border between West and East Timor would likely become a new hot spot if East Timor won its freedom.