Issue of foreign agents an effort to create tension – Munir

Source – December 26, 2003
Indonesian Human Rights Watch director Munir (helmiajul)
Indonesian Human Rights Watch director Munir (helmiajul)

Rizal Maslan, Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch director, Munir, has said that the statement by army chief General Ryamizard Ryacudu that 60,000 foreign agents have entered Indonesia in order to weaken the military represents an endeavour to create new tensions. This could also damage foreign diplomatic relations.

“I believe this represents and endeavour to create tension by introducing a situation or dramatising the situation. First there was the issue of the elections which [he said may] turn bloody, that the elections will be thwarted [by unspecified groups], now [Ryacudu has] added [to this by claiming that] there are 60 thousand foreign agents [who have infiltrated Indonesia to play people off against each other and create dissent]. This is represents [an effort to] create tension in society”, explained Munir to on Friday December 26.

According to Munir, Ryacudu’s statement may have a hidden agenda, that is the goal of creating new institutions by means of legitimising the need new institutions under the control of the army. Munir gave the example of the plan to rebuild the territorial commands, the issue of the [military’s] budget, including efforts at political bargaining [by the military to be given more power].

“This will indeed complicate the issue, even more so by saying that 60 thousand foreign intelligence agents have entered Indonesia. How has [he] identified them. If [he] knows [about their presence] why have they not been deported”, said the former coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence.

Indeed with statements like this added Munir, it will only complicate Indonesia’s foreign relations. This issue must be clarified in a clear and open manner. If there are really foreign agents who have entered Indonesia, moreover if this has reached the tens of thousands, how are they going to be caught.

In fact, a majority of foreign embassies and certainly Indonesia itself naturally place agents or foreigners to make reports. This according to Munir is natural in diplomatic relations.

“Now, this must be straightened out, such as what are the activities of these foreign agents who were referred to by the army chief”, said Munir.

Munir himself hoped that the political actors in Indonesia would not be influenced by statements like this. Indeed the civilian political elite must correct Ryacudu’s statement.

“Indeed, this kind of statement gives the impression that the armed forces want to reenter politics or that there is a desire to extend marshal law to other areas [in addition to Aceh] and certainly there is the motive of [reasserting the military’s] power. The political actors [in Indonesia] must criticize this issue”, explained Munir (zal).

[Translated by James Balowski.]