Save total reform – Build a people’s united government

BOB Open Appeal – April 3, 2004
Protest in Jakarta against privatisation of state-owned industries (Antara)
Protest in Jakarta against privatisation of state-owned industries (Antara)

[The following is a translation of an open appeal by the United Opposition Front (Barisan Oposisi Bersatu, BOB) which was issued in Jakarta on April 3.]

1. Selling off the Indonesian people’s assets through President Megawati Sukarnoputri government’s privatisation program must be stopped. Cuts to subsidies, trade liberalisation, investment and economic structural adjustment programs design by International Monetary Fund are creating a crisis for the people. The people have suffered for far too long, 40 million people are unemployed, millions of workers have been thrown into the streets, suffering the consequences of mass sackings. Farmers’ livelihoods are worsening, and education is become more and more inaccessible.

2. The people’s quality of life is being undermined by the rotten political parties and rotten politicians like Golkar Party chairperson Akbar Tanjung and the fake reformists in Megawati’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

3. 150 quintillion rupiah from Bank Indonesia’s Liquidity Support Fund (BLBI) and 450 quintillion rupiah in obligation funds which were supposed to be allocated for the recovery of the people’s economy – to provide jobs, health and education facilities – have ended up in the hands of the state elite and their parties. Through deception and legitimisation by those in power, the poor are forced to bear the burden of the foreign debt (which was embezzled by the New Order regime of former President Suharto) and the debts of the corrupt capitalists.

4. Moreover, the Megawati government gave a free ticket to Akbar Tanjung who embezzled 40 quintillion rupiah of BLBI funds when the Supreme Court – the last bastion of the Indonesian justice system – acquitted him of all charges.

5. Worse still, the government want’s to liquidate 500 million rupiah of the people’s money which was embezzled by Akbar through the Bali Bank scandal. It truly absurd, that they then invariably refuse people’s demand to overcome national problems such as natural disasters or the spread of the dengue fever epidemic on the grounds that that the state is lacking the necessary funds. The annual outbreaks of dengue fever have killed hundred who were unable to meet the high cost of health care.

7. State repression has not only been used in regions where there are armed conflicts. Farmers, who have been defending their right to land since the New Order regime, are now facing more repression and violence. The cases in Bulukumba, Halmahera and Manggarai bear witness to the long list of state repression.

7. For the government however, all of these attacks on the people are still not enough. Various undemocratic, draconian and anti–poor legislation is being produced to control and take away civil rights.

8. Mega’s PDI-P and Akbar’s Golkar coalition, is a rotten coalition of the remnants of the New Order and fake reformists. A Coalition to maintain and to ensure imperialist exploitation to the economy, politics and maintain militarism in Indonesia.

9. Therefore any cooperation, compromise and alliance with the New Order and the fake reformists, with Akbar and Golkar, is against interests of the poor. The coalition of Mega-Akbar is threatening reformasi total. It is simply too easy to predict, that this coalition will again dominate positions of power through 2004 election.

10. The state’s rulers and political elite, in particular the ones who won 1999 elections, have failed. It is time to stop depending on them or having expectations or hopes in the ruling party.

11. The people need a new force that is able to resist imperialism, to eliminate corruption and militarism. Therefore there is an obligation to change the power structure, to replace it by elements from the united democratic forces, from the people’s movement. To build a united people’s opposition government. The democratic forces are obligated to unite. To unite the people everywhere and organise all the potential to prepare for a new, just and democratic society.

12. Therefore, we, as individuals and members of various democratic organisations, see the need to unite, and hereby declare the formation of the United Opposition Front (BOB). For us, there is no other way for the different elements of the democratic movement to save reformasi total except by building people’s unity and declaring our resistance to Mega-Akbar, Golkar, PDI-P, and building the widest possible people’s unity as the basis base of moving towards an alternative government – a government of the people.

13. BOB calls on all of the people, students, workers, intellectuals, farmers, in all regions and districts, to participate in this opposition front, to unite the people, to build this united opposition front.

14. All of the enemies of reformasi total have united. Therefore this is the time for the people to unite to make build a path towards reformasi total and for a united people’s government.

  • Unite, replace the Megawati government!
  • Unite, resist Mega–Akbar, PDI-P and Golkar!
  • Unite, don’t vote for Golkar and PDI-P!
  • Abandon the fake reformists!

Jakarta, April 3, 2004
Untied Opposition Front

[Translated by Katarina Puji Astuti.]