Subject: Megawati on E Timor
Date: Sat, 07 Aug 1999 09:52:09 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

English translation of text of speech by Megawati Soekarnoputri

The People's Victory in the Election of 1999 [excerpt] 29 July 1999

Regarding East Timor:

The situation in East Timor, coming in the middle of the present political situation, puts the Indonesian People in a dilemma. Both as a citizen and as the Chairperson of the PDI Perjuangan, I believe that all agreements that have been signed between Indonesia and Portugal regarding the referendum in East Timor are of a binding character and must be honored. This is all the more so in view of the fact that the United Nations is involved as an initiator.

That said, it is necessary to be highly critical of the unilateral policy position on East Timor adopted by the government under Habibie's leadership. Thus the East Timor problem, for us as a sovereign nation and country, presents us with two issues that must be separated as we confront them. Regarding the internal dimension or issue, the most fundamental problem is the undermining of a decision of the MPR by President Habibie. Without diminishing my respect for the implementation of the referendum, whoever is president of this republic does not have the authority to make policy decisions that are not in accordance with the Constitution. The policy decision of Mr. Habibie, which unilaterally overturns MPR decision No. 6, 1978 making East Timor the 27th province of Indonesia, constitutes an exercise of power that is unconstitutional.

If this act is accepted without objection, the concern is that it will become a precendent of improper state behavior that will result in a mistaken conclusion -- that a president may do whatever he or she likes, including making policy decisions that blatantly violate the decisions of the MPR as the symbolic manifestation of the People's Sovereignty.

In raising this objection, in no way do I signal any disrespect for the decision that is going to be made by the peope of East Timor as they determine their own future through the referendum.

Looking at the East Timor issue from the external angle, involving the international community, we must acknowledge the undeniable reality that during the New Order's rule there were massive violations of basic human rights perpetrated in East Timor. Therefore the carrying out of the referendum must be seen as an effort to find a peaceful solution while at the same time constituting an act to restore the basic human rights of the Timorese to determine their own future for themselves.

With reference to the implementation of the referendum in East Timor, there are several views and points that I would like to raise here.

First, the referendum must be carried out under conditions in which peace is guaranteed, without bloodshed resulting from conflicts between groups that are pro- and anti-integration.

Second, that this referendum serve as a genuine means for the People of East Timor to determine their own future. In other words, there should be no efforts from any side to try to influence the choice of the People of East Timor.

Third, that the sovereignty of Indonesia as a unified nation be respected by all interested parties. A referendum within the legal boundaries of the Republic of Indonesia may only be carried out in East Timor and in no other regions. The settling of all other matters in other regions of the Republic of Indonesia constitutes an internal matter that will be handled by the Indonesian People themselves by upholding law and justice as the means to resolution.

Fourth, that all interested parties share in the responsibility to jointly maintain regional stability regarding East Timor after the referendum.

Fifth, that the leaders of the countries supporting a referendum in East Timor honor and accept the agreement between Indonesia and Portugal as well as the consequences that follow. Regarding those who might choose to leave East Timor after the results of the referendum are known, that they be accepted by the countries supporting the referendum should any of these countries become the chosen place for those leaving East Timor to start a new life. As a result of their side losing in the referendum, it is entirely possible that they might not feel secure remaining in East Timor.

Though I would add that personally I hope that it will never come to this.

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