Subject: SMH: Police power restricted in Timor autonomy plan
Date: Sat, 08 May 1999 09:21:08 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Sydney Morning Herald 04/05/99

East Timor

Police power threatens deal

By LINDSAY MURDOCH, Herald Correspondent in Jakarta

An Indonesia autonomy package to be offered to East Timorese gives the national police authority to intervene in "exceptional cases" in the troubled territory.

The package, a copy of which has been obtained by the Herald, also states that in times of public emergency all East Timor territorial police would be put under the command of the Jakarta-based national chief of police.

Details of the package, expected to be made public in New York later this week, are likely to deepen opposition by pro-independence Timorese leaders, who understood it would allow a completely independent local police and judiciary. Under the plan to be signed on Wednesday in New York, the United Nations will deploy civilian police, including Australians, to "advise" the Indonesian security forces before a scheduled August 8 ballot on whether East Timorese accept the package or opt to break away from Indonesia.

While the UN-approved package stipulates that the courts are to be run by a local administration called the Autonomous Region of East Timor (SARET), the court of final appeal will be Indonesia's Supreme Court.

Under the package approved last week by President B.J. Habibie, the local government and the central government in Jakarta "may establish co-operative or joint undertakings" in the exploitation of natural resources.

In an apparent indirect reference to a joint Australia-Indonesian agreement to share resources in the Timor Gap sea boundary, the package says: "Natural resources in the SARET, except those considered to be strategic or vital under national laws, shall be under the control of the government of the SARET."

Diplomats expect independence leaders to object strongly to the mention of strategic or resources vital to the national interest.

Under the package, the autonomous government will be subject to Indonesia's national monetary and fiscal policies; it will continue to receive development assistance from Jakarta; Jakarta will have the exclusive right to collect national taxes, while the local government will be able to levy local taxes; foreign loans to the local government will have to be channelled through Jakarta.

The autonomous government will be forbidden from restricting the rights of workers or reserve any occupation or public office solely to people with East Timorese identity.

People living in East Timor before Indonesia's bloody 1975 invasion will be deemed to be lawful residents of the territory, meaning they will be eligible to vote in the ballot. So, too, will be people whose mother, father, grandmother or grandfather was a lawful resident of East Timor before 1975.

The package stipulates that people who have lived in East Timor for a period of years will be considered to have East Timor identity, irrespective of nationality. They will have the right to live permanently in the territory. It further stipulates that Jakarta will have the power to apply immigration controls on people entering and leaving the territory.

Timorese may adopt their own coat of arms, but the Indonesian national flag must be flown on official occasions and the country's national anthem sung.

With the approval of Jakarta, East Timorese will be able to take part in international cultural and sports events "in which other non-state entities participate".

The package gives East Timorese the right to participate in Indonesian national political life, including to vote in general elections. They will also get freedom of movement throughout Indonesia.

Gusmao death fears

Jakarta: The Indonesian Government is set to release the East Timorese resistance leader Jose "Xanana" Gusmao, but is worried he might be assassinated.

Since being moved from Jakarta's maximum security Cipinang jail to a warden's house in February, Gusmao has taken a leading role in talks aimed at ending conflict in the territory. But human rights activists and diplomats have received information that a 150-strong assassination squad travelled from East Timor to Jakarta two weeks ago to target Gusmao.

- Lindsay Murdoch

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