MPRS decree which besmirches Sukarno needs to be revoked

Kompas – July 22, 2003
LIPI researcher Asvi Warman Adam (CNN)
LIPI researcher Asvi Warman Adam (CNN)

Jakarta -- There are only a few books which mention that [Indonesia’s founding President] Sukarno was involved in the 30GS rebellion(1). Conversely, there are many more books which refer to the involvement of the Indonesian military and others. All of the decrees by the Provisional People’s Consultative Council (MPRS) which besmirch the good name of Sukarno need therefore to be revoked.

Such was the view of Asvi Warman Adam, a researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) who also holds a doctorate in history from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.

“These decrees, if they are not revoked, [will continue] to slander the proclamator [of our nation] who has been promoted as a national hero. It is as if there is still hesitation about his teachings and commitment to the nation and state”, he said at a seminar titled “Bung Karno a Man in the Midst of a Historical Crisis”, in Jakarta on Monday (21/7).

With regard to the [views of] majority of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) who do not wish the withdrawal of the MPRS decrees, according to Asvi this indicates the success of the New Order regime’s [of former President Suharto] brain washing. “The remnants of the New Order still have a strong [influence] in the MPR”, he said.

During the seminar, Asvi also differentiated between Sukarno’s speeches during the years 1965-1967, many of which have not been made public because at the time the press was tightly controlled. In one of these speeches, Sukarno is seen as not being a communist. Sukarno understood that particular individuals from the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party] were guilty, but if some cake in your house is eaten by a mouse, the house doesn’t need to be burnt down.

Asvi was of the view that the MPRS decrees issued during the period 1965-1968 represent a systematic effort by Suharto to destroy Sukarno. He was of the view that it is no longer reasonable to maintain these MPR/MPRS decrees because according to amendments to the 1945 Constitution, MPR/MPRS decrees have no legal basis.

The MPRS decrees on the issue of Sukarno were made by an institution which was temporary, who’s members were not elected by the people. Sukarnoists in the MPRS were dismissed by Suharto and replaced by Suhartoists. “So all of the MPRS decrees must be withdrawn”, he explained.

For the sake of humanity

On the grounds of humanity, Asvi also hoped that the MPR will revoke MPRS decree Number XXV/MPRS/1966. This is because this MPRS decree has a significant impact on people who were involved or suspected of involvement in the PKI, this includes their stigmatisation.

These decrees flow through to a Ministry of Home Affairs decree which states that anyone involved with [the PKI], or their families, may not hold strategic positions, including as teachers. “It is not just thousands, but millions of people and their grandchildren [who are effected by this decree]”, he explained.

This MPRS decree has also promoted the birth of undemocratic laws. Because of the existence of this MPRS decree, laws in the field of politics include a prohibition on parties from having communist ideology. (sut)


1. G30S: The September 30 Movement. An acronym referring to the alleged coup attempt in 1965 which the New Order regime blamed on the PKI.

[Translated by James Balowski.]