|Subject: News from ETimor 29-30 Jan 2001
Suara Timor Lorosae 29 January 2001 (Morning)
1. Sergio de Mello at the UN Security Council: 30 August 2001 elections in East Timor
The Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello has submitted a report to the UN Security Council saying the administration is paving the way for a consensus that the elections be held on 30 August 2001. 30 August is a historical date for the East Timorese people. On that day in 1999, the majority of East Timorese expressed their desire, through the ballot box, to part from Indonesia.
According to de Mello, the final decision on the date of the elections will be made when the National Council sits on 12 February.
2. Not True UNTAET Only Recruits Pro-Autonomy Staff (front side-bar story)
UNTAET said no favoritism was exercised in its recruitment process for civil servants with regard to pro-autonomy people in Oecussi.
UNTAET spokesperson Barbara Reis said on Wednesday that the recruitment process in Oecussi and other districts were strict and followed existing rules. Because of this, she said, it was not true UNTAET was giving preferential treatment to pro-autonomy people in its recruitment of civil servants.
The recruitment process is open to all. In the recruitment [of civil servants] no distinction is made on whether the person is from CNRT or the pro-autonomy faction, said Barbara Reis.
3. There has to be definite investment laws (an interview with Professor Hall Hill of the Australian National University Page 4)
The transitional administration has to implement definite and clear investment laws for local and foreign businesses. This is needed so that foreign businesses can contribute to the development of this new country.
Actually many foreign businesses want to invest in this country, but because there aren't any clear laws they are worried. If there are clear laws, I believe capital from many foreign businesses will flow into the country, said Professor Hall Hill from the Australian National University.
I think what's more important from foreign businesses is local investment. I say this because many businesses are only looking at the short-term prospects in the country. There are still doubts about the future doubts about laws, the emerging government, political system, said Hall.
Businesses have to be convinced that their investments will not be subject to high risk in the country.
The biggest risk, said Hall, was the fear that when East Timor is independent it will be a high-cost economy. If prices are high that would mean wages would have to be high with a result that cost of production would be exorbitant.
4. KKN and the dream of Timor Lorosae (editorial Page 5)
It seems that we have not matured, and have failed to learn the lessons of the past 24 years when we suffered under Suharto's New Order regime. The jargon KKN (corruption, collusion and nepotism) was popular with the New Order regime. Unfortunately, it has reared its ugly head in East Timor.
KKN seems to be practiced here in the allocation of tenders, and this was announced last Friday by UNTAET spokesperson Barbara Reis. Also, corrupt practices seem to be used in the recruitment of teachers and lecturers.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Large-scale corruption is out there, but the ordinary people feel helpless in trying to fight it. Numerous seminars have been held and countless articles written on the topic. But it seems to no avail.
The root cause of the fall of any democracy is corruption. A corrupt regime will not respect human rights, something we have fought for so dearly with our lives. Because of this, let us not sully our dream of a free and democratic country with corrupt practices.
Bahasa Indonesia headlines Tues 30 January 2001
Suara Timor Lorosae Tuesday 30 January 2001 (Morning)
1. 2005, Timor Lorosae to be a rich country (front page headline)
By 2005, East Timor will have the chance to be a rich country, in the region, if the Timor Gap negotiations with Australia are on track.
This prediction was made yesterday by UNTAET's Peter Galbraith in an interview with STL. Galbraith is the main negotiator on the Timor Gap issue with Australia. He is also the Minister for Political Affairs in the Transition Cabinet. He said, in the negotiations, he was working and negotiating for and on behalf of the Timorese people.
East Timorese must have the confidence that in five years their country will really matter in the Southeast Asian region in terms of wealth and natural resources, said Galbraith who in the coming months will continue negotiating with Australia.
He is using the 90:10 formula for the distribution of oil and gas royalties from the Timor Gap. This means that for every dollar earned from oil, East Timor will get 90 cents and Australia 10 cents.
With that formula, Galbraith stressed, East Timor's present royalties of USD3 million a year will increase to USD300 million a year within a period of between five to 10 years. If that calculation is accurate, STL estimates, the whole of East Timor's reconstruction can be paid for without any outside help from donors.
2. Timor Gap Further Negotiations: Don't be Hinged to 90:10 (second lead front page)
In further negotiations between East Timor and Australia, the party representing East Timor must not be hinged to the 90:10 formula. Instead, they should be brave enough to renegotiate the whole Timor Gap deal.
Francisco Guterres, the dean of UNATIL's [Universistas Timor Lorosae] Faculty of Socio-Politics, said this in response to the Australian Consul James Batley's statement that there will be further negotiations this year between Australia and East Timor on the Timor Gap Treaty.
Guterres said East Timor's position in the negotiations with Australia was strong. According to him, Australia had already invested a lot in the project and it was in Australian interests that production in the Gap continue.
With this state of affairs, said Guterres, East Timor will be able to renegotiate a new deal. Let us not be just stuck with the 90:10 formula, he stressed.
Guterres did not offer a new formula. However, Peter Galbraith, the UNTAET negotiator who was representing East Timor, cautiously implied that East Timor had the opportunity to fight for a full 100 per cent royalties in its further negotiations with Australia.
3. People Must Be Consulted On 30 August 2001 Election Date (third lead front page)
CNRT is of the opinion that the Transitional Administrators report to the UN Security Council that the elections be held on 30 August 2001, preempts the final decision to be made by the National Council on 12 February.
Clementino dos Reis Amaral, a CNRT member from the Kota Party, said there is doubt whether the elections can go ahead on 30 August.
In my opinion voter registration and all other preparations needed for a general election will not meet the timetable set out Sergio de Mello. From what I see, everything has been delayed, he said.
The administrator must consult all Timorese parties on the time-table. If the date is set haphazardly it will mean big problems for the country, added Clementino.
He stressed that there were some political parties not yet ready for the elections. Also, he said, a draft constitution had yet to be formulated and there were yet to be regulations for political parties. The only regulation available, he said, was the registration of political parties.
Corruption, collusion and nepotism has the potential to destroy a country and certainly does not augur well for East Timor's future.
The Transitional Administration cancelled a contract for the provision of food items valued at thousands of dollars. The decision was made after investigations were carried out for two months, said UNTAET's spokesperson Barbara Reis at a press conference last Friday.
Reis said the investigations involved a local and foreign business.
There was evidence of collusion and price-fixing, she said.
Reis stressed that the Transitional Administration will not tolerate corruption and this is evidenced by the setting up of an Inspector-Generals portfolio in the Transitional Cabinet and the establishment of a committee looking into malpractices in the Public Administration.
5. Harsh action has to be taken against corrupt businesses (second lead Page 4)
Response to Barbara Reis comments:
The President of ASSET, Oscar Lima stressed that whenever corruption was proved, harsh action had to be taken against the offending business.
According to Oscar, foreign businesses operating in East Timor must not pass on bad habits to their local business counterparts. On the contrary, foreign businesses, he said, should be teaching local Timorese good business practices like following the rules of tendering processes.
We must not allow corruption, collusion and nepotism to rear its ugly head here. If any foreign business is involved in corruption, they have to be dealt with harshly. I stress if there is any evidence of corruption, UNTAET must carry out full investigations. Only then can corruption be eradicated, he said.
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