AGO admits seized ‘communist’ books not actually banned, denies New Order link

Detik News – January 11, 2019
TNI solider confiscating books from Nagare Boshi bookshop – January 8, 2019 (Detik)
TNI solider confiscating books from Nagare Boshi bookshop – January 8, 2019 (Detik)

Rivki, Jakarta – On January 8 officials from the Padang public prosecutor’s office and the TNI (Indonesian military) seized several books alleged to contain the teachings of the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) from a bookshop in West Padang.

Bonnie Triyana, a member of the team of authors of one of the confiscated books, Targeting the Big Brother: Seven Assassination Attempts against the President, has objected to the seizures.

Former People’s Democratic Party (PRD) chairperson and ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Budiman Sudjatmiko, the author of another seized book titled Children of the Revolution, has also expressed his objections.

Responding to these objections, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) says that they will hand the book over to experts. The confiscated books will also be taken to Jakarta for examination.

“We will hand them over to experts, a joint team of experts from the Printed Materials Coordinating Agency will conduct an examination [of the books]”, said Mukri, the head of the AGO’s Legal Information Centre (Kapuspenkum) when sought for confirmation by on Friday January 11.

Mukri explained that the confiscated books are not banned books because, according to Mukri, banned books must first go through a process of examination by experts.

“So we’re not saying that the books are banned, but we’ll examine them first. Only after there are new results will we be able come to a conclusion on whether or not they are banned”, he said.

With regards to [accusations] that elements of former president Suharto’s New Order (Orba) were linked to the raid, Mukri denied this. “There wasn’t any [New Order link], essentially we (the AGO) have the authority to monitor printed materials”, he said.

Earlier a joint team from the District Military Command (Kodim) and the Padang public prosecutor’s office seized a number of books which were deemed to be spreading communist ideas. The books were seized from the Nagare Boshi bookshop in the Pecinan Pondok area of West Padang on Tuesday January 8.

Five titles were taken totalling eight books in all. The books were titled: Chronicle 65’ (Kronik ‘65), Targeting the Big Brother: Seven Assassination Attempts against the President (Mengincar Bung Besar: Tujuh Upaya Pembunuhan Presiden), Red Coat (Jas Merah), Children of the Revolution (Anak-anak Revolusi) and The 1965 September 30 Movement: The PKI, Aidit, Sukarno and Soeharto (Gestapu 65: PKI, Aidit, Sukarno dan Soeharto). (rvk/knv)


In 2010 the Constitutional Court annulled the 1963 law on monitoring printed materials with content that could jeopardise public order and  stripped the AGO of its powers to monitor and ban books arbitrarily which it deemed could “disrupt public order”.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Penulis Protes Bukunya Disita, Kejagung: Masih Diteliti”.]