|Subject: AFP: All pro-independence East Timorese
civil servants "should be fired"
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:18:20 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
All pro-independence East Timorese civil servants "should be fired"
JAKARTA, July 12 (AFP) - East Timorese civil servants working for the Indonesian government should be fired if they are pro-independence, an Indonesian minister said Monday.
Information Minister Yunus Yosfiah was quoted by the state Antara news agency as saying: "If a civil servant from the provincial ministry is pro-independence ... that person should be terminated from the civil service."Don't demand rupiah (an Indonesian salary) if you are pro-independence ... How can it be possible to be pro-independence and keep feeding yourself on an Indonesian salary?"
Antara said Yosfiah handed down the ultimatum at a meeting with civil servants from the information ministry's staff in the East Timorese capital of Dili.
Yosfiah, a one-time military commander in East Timor, also urged his staff to remain "neutral" in an forthcoming ballot scheduled for next month on an Indonesian offer of integration with broad autonomy for the territory.
"Staff must be neutral, it means that they cannot force the public to either accept or to refuse the autonomy proposal ... but give them a proper explanation on the content of the offer," said Yosfiah.
"Let the (East Timorese) people choose between what is good and bad for them according to their conscience. Do not ever push the people to choose the autonomy offer."
Yosfiah was in Dili as a part of a whirlwind visit by a high-powered 16-minister Indonesian delegation to East Timor.
The visit came two days after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that lack of security -- which is the responsibility of the Indonesian police -- threatened the polls, due for August 21 and 22.
East Timorese civil servants have said that since January, when Indonesia first suggested it might let go of East Timor if its people chose independence rather than autonomy, they have been asked to sign forms declaring their allegiance to Indonesia, or lose their jobs.