Home > History, Politic > Take a Look Back: Jakarta 1998

Take a Look Back: Jakarta 1998

jakarta_at_nightBeloved readers, in this post, I would like to share my history knowledge regarding my country, Indonesia. You know the crisis that the Middle East is having right now? We have people protesting the tyrannic regime so democracy can be restored in Eygpt, Syria, Libya, and other part. Guys, I want you to know that Indonesia also have such experience. The year was 1998, and it was a dark day to remember. If you are around 10-17 years old and are Indonesian, go ask your parent, they should know about it. If not, then enjoy the journey of one of the darkest day ever experience by Indonesia.

It all started when Indonesia was reigned by Soeharto, who by the way has ruled for ever 31 years. People were very discontent at that time. Corruption was widespread and financial was in the state of catasthrophic. During Soeharto era, Indonesia is a centralised-governed country with Military oriented focus on the development. Not only that, Soeharto implements a dictatorship leader style where he put pressure to free speech. News were easily scrutinized by the government if they criticize the government. Moreover, all television channels were forced to broadcast the news from the national channel at a predetermined time. And of course the national broadcasting channel content is observed by the government strictly.

Not only the news free speech is impeded, but this type of dictatorship is also practice in the election process. Initially, Indonesian law allow the same President to be elected again and again as long as the election process shows majority votes in favor of that President. For your information, in the past, we have a law that Indonesian President term of government is as long as he lives. So in other words, this kind of law ensure democracy to Indonesia, right?

Well, not if the President who is in power have the ability to rigged the election. July 1996 was the brewing point where Indonesians fed up of the government. Democratic Party of Indonesia elected Megawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of the first Indonesian president, Soekarno, to be the party leader. Democratic Party of Indonesia is seen as a threat to the Labour Party which was Soeharto’s party. In that event, the government declared that the appointment was invalid and created a congress to elect another leader for the Democratic Party of Indonesia.

Of course, the election resulted in Labour Party to win by more than 70% while Democratic Party of Indonesia only got 2% of the votes. This was of course because of the leader of Democratic Party of Indonesia was not elected by the people since people wanted Megawati Soekarnoputri as the leader of the Democratic Party of Indonesia.

People were calling the election fraudulent. University students came down the road demanding Soeharto to leave the government seat. So what do you expect when people rising their voice against a dictator? You’ve guessed it, violence ensued. Soeharto commanded the military to use any force necessary to suppressed the protestors even if that means they have to use live ammo. Casuality can’t be avoided, we have hundred of deaths and thousands were injured. So anyway, If I keep telling you using my writing, it would take so long. So if you are interested in knowing what happen during that period, you can take a look at the video below.

So in the end, we successfully restore our democratic system to Indonesia. But that doesn’t mean the problems are eliminated completely. However, I’m still positive about Indonesia’s future. At least, now we have Commision of Corruption Eradication and recently a clean and strict figure has appear as the Jakarta Governor, Jokowi and Ahok. That’s a sign that Indonesians are agreeing that this country should florish without the existence of corruption. If you have the same nationality as me or maybe one day you have a dream on being a great governor in Indonesia, you will probably need to take a look into this article and have the mentality to be a clean governor, free of corruption. Start young, because it’s the young ones who can change the fate of Indonesia.


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