Sejarah Indonesia

Reformasi dan Persatuan Nasional: 1998 to 2001

May 1998

Student protests increase in cities across the country.

May 4 Tommy Suharto sells his shares in the Central Village Cooperative back to the organization for US$112 million in cash. The farmers belonging to the cooperative are left with the debts of the organization.

May 12 Six students are killed during a demonstration at Trisakti University in Jakarta. Days of serious rioting and looting break out in Jakarta; over 500 are killed in the disorder in Jakarta. Serious rioting also breaks out in Surakarta; at least 28 dead. Suharto leaves summit meeting of G-15 developing countries in Cairo before schedule to return home. Ethnic Chinese begin leaving the country.

May 18 Assembly Speaker and Golkar party head Harmoko asks Suharto to step down.

Gen. Wiranto says that the statement by Harmoko has no legal foundation; suggests "Reformation Council" to help any possible transition.

May 19 Suharto goes on TV, states that he will not step down, but that new elections will be arranged in which he will not run. Several Muslim leaders, including Nurcholish Majid and Abdurrahman Wahid, meet with Suharto.

Thousands of demonstrating students occupy the grounds, lobby and roof of the assembly building in Jakarta.

Reports circulate of dead and missing students after demonstrations at Airlangga University in Surabaya.

May 20 Amien Rais calls off massive demonstration in Jakarta after 80,000 troops occupy Merdeka Square; 500,000 march in Yogya, including Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, large demos in Surakarta, Medan, Bandung.

Harmoko says Suharto must resign by Friday May 22, or he will call on the Assembly to choose another President.

Eleven cabinet ministers resign, including Ginandjar Kartasasmita, timber millionaire Bob Hasan, and Bank Indonesia governor Syahril Sabirin.

May 21 Suharto announces his resignation at 9:00 AM. Vice-President B. J. Habibie is the new President of Indonesia.

May 22 Habibie announces new "Reformation Cabinet".

Lt.-Gen. Prabowo is removed from post as head of Kostrad (Army Strategic Command).

Violence nearly breaks out between pro-Habibie demonstration and students occupying the Assembly building. Soldiers peacefully escort many demonstrating students from the assembly building and the area.

May 23 New "Reformation Cabinet" is installed.

Ginandjar Kartasasmita, now economics minister again, says that new elections should occur "as soon as possible".

Attorney General Soedjono Atmonegoro sends letter to Habibie requesting amnesty for non-Communist political prisoners.

May 24 Justice Minister Muladi suggests that East Timor should become a special region (Daerah Istimewa).

May 25 Sri Bintang Pamungkas and Muchtar Pakpahan, both notable political prisoners, are released.

Gen. Wiranto says that 14 army personnel are suspects in the killings of Trisakti University students.

May 26 President Habibie announces that restrictions on the press (publishing licenses) will be relaxed.

President Habibie tours burned districts of Jakarta.

May 28 Habibie meets with Assembly leaders; special session of Assembly to take place in six months, special elections in one year (mid-1999).

May 30 Involvement by Suharto's children in major businesses begins to come under scrutiny: Bambang Trihatmojo resigns as president of Bimantara Citra, tax breaks for Tommy Suharto's Timor car are revoked, links with companies supplying national oil company Pertamina are examined, many, many others. Bank Central Asia, partly owned by Suharto's daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana (Tutut), suffers from a rush of withdrawals due to lack of confidence in its future.

May 31 500,000 Nahdlatul Ulama members march for Reformasi in Surabaya.

Retired ABRI Generals call for Habibie to step down.



The riots in Jakarta and Surakarta around May 14-15 were the worst violence in Indonesia since 1965. Beyond the immediate danger, the unrest also damaged hopes of economic recovery, in the long term.

June 1998

June 1 Justice Minister Muladi says he is ready to impose a travel ban on former President Suharto and his family.

June 5 Arraignments begin of officers charged in the shootings of Trisakti University students on May 12.

June 7 Group of ulama within Nahdlatul Ulama announce that they will be forming a new political party.

June 16 Attorney General Soedjono Atmonegoro presents a report to President Habibie on widespread corruption in the "Yayasan" or "Foundations" organized by President Suharto and his family. He is fired by President Habibie five hours later.

June 24 Massive labor union (SBSI) protest, led by recently-released political prisoner Muchtar Pakpahan, is called off after troops assemble in Jakarta.

June 26 Partai Ummat Islam is formed.

Gen. Wiranto replaces heads of Navy, Air Force, Police.


July 1998

Habibie supporters gain strength in Golkar party leadership. Suharto is removed from party offices.

PDI continues as two political parties; a remnant of the government-sponsored PDI, and the PDI Perjuangan ("fighting PDI") led by Megawati Sukarnoputri. Thousands of PDI supporters rally at Sukarno's original home and burial place in Blitar.

Pro-independence Timorese threaten violence in East Timor; thousands flee.

Trucks carrying basic commodities are stopped and looted on Java; coffee plantations in East Java are raided by looters.

July 3 Protesting students in Jayapura, Irian Jaya, are shot by police.

July 4 Assembly speaker Harmoko announces that a special Assembly session will be held beginning November 10th.

July 7 Hundreds of thousands of Nahdlatul Ulama members meet in Jakarta for outdoor prayer.

Protesters in Biak, Irian Jaya, are dispersed by police, many arrested.

July 26 Partai Bulan Bintang announced as new moderate Islamic political party.

July 28 400 ABRI troops leave East Timor.

B. J. Habibie
The third president of the Republic of Indonesia, B. J. Habibie. He faced many difficult problems after the sudden resignation of his long-time patron, Suharto. Many people were surprised at his support for several of the reforms that were being demanded by demonstrators, at his actions for more openness and less corruption (including the resignation of his sons from lucrative business posts), and by his readyness to step down if necessary after a special session of the Assembly and special elections. However, others still did not trust him after his many years as one of Suharto's closest associates, and insisted that he step down as soon as possible himself. By the end of his presidency, the Bank Bali scandal and other affairs had confirmed the fears of his critics and weakened public support for him, even within the Golkar party.

Habibie became the first President of Indonesia who was not a native of Java (he was originally from Pare Pare, on Sulawesi).

In July 1998, US$9 billion was transferred from a Swiss bank account controlled by Suharto to an account in Austria, in an attempt to move the funds to a more secure location before they could be identified by investigators. The transfer was hidden from the public until it was reported by U.S.-based Time magazine in May 1999.

August 1998

August 1 Investigation of top Kopassus officers' involvement in May riots and previous abductions and disappearances proceeds. Prabowo is stripped of all ABRI commands.

August 5 Government makes offer of "large-scale autonomy" to East Timor.

August 9 Two Police officers convicted for taking part in May 12 Trisakti shootings.

August 9 Partai Keadilan formed as new conservative Islamic party.

August 15 President Habibie apologizes on behalf of the government for human rights abuses.

August 20 ABRI begins pulling all combat troops out of Aceh.

August 22 Investigation in Aceh finds pits near Lhokseumawe with as many as 150 bodies, presumed to be atrocity victims.

August 23 Amien Rais announces the new Partai Amanat Nasional.

August 24 Finance Ministry freezes, merges or nationalizes 11 major banks.

August 25 Remnants of PDI party under Suryadi meet in Palu, Sulawesi; thousands of Megawati supporters demonstrate.

August 31 Departing ABRI troops are pelted with debris by crowds in Aceh.

Rioting breaks out in Cilacap, West Java, and on Lombok.


September 1998

September 7 Thousands of students demonstrate at the Assembly building demanding Habibie's resignation.

September 8 Students are evicted from the Assembly building by ABRI troops. Student protests against Habibie continue in Surabaya.

September 9 Thousands of students protest as Habibie visits Surabaya for National Sports Day.

September 15 Rioting and unrest in Riau, Jambi, South Sulawesi provinces.

September 16 Attorney General Ghalib is named to head an investigation into the wealth of former President Suharto and his family.

September 29 Three are killed in firefight between rival groups of soldiers and police in Pontianak.


October 1998

October 3 Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogya is appointed governor of the DI Yogyakarta (Special Region).

October 10 Megawati Sukarnoputri is elected head of PDI Perjuangan at large, successful convention on Bali.

Government announces a plan to merge Bank Bumi Daya and three other state-owned banks with US$11 billion in bad loans into one bank. The government reports that the Suharto family was responsible for $800 million of the bad loans.

During October 1998, over a hundred people were killed in separate incidents in Central and East Java. First, night raids by so-called "ninjas" occurred which were said to be against "dukuns" or sorcerers. Then, many of the victims turned out to be respectable Islamic teachers, many of them members of Nahdlatul Ulama. The general public was outraged, which led to acts of reprisal against suspected "ninjas". Many people were disturbed that the events might lead to more general political violence.

November 1998

November 9 Thousands of students and demonstrators gather outside the Assembly building in Jakarta, as the Assembly (MPR) met in special session. Students demanded that former President Suharto be put on trial, and that ABRI end the "dwifungsi" doctrine and withdraw from politics and the civil service.

November 10 The four most notable reformist critics of the government, Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), Amien Rais, Megawati Sukarnoputri, and Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogya, meet at a student-organized conference at Gus Dur's residence at Ciganjur, near Bandung. A declaration and agreement is signed by all four, calling for reform in government and an end to dwifungsi.

Assembly annuls the 1978 "P4" regulations regarding Pancasila as the guiding doctrine of the government.

November 12 Continuing demonstrations in Jakarta turn violent, over 60 are injured.

November 13 Nine demonstrators are killed during actions near Atma Jaya University in Jakarta. Looting and general disorder break out. Amien Rais calls for Gen. Wiranto to resign.

Demonstrating students take over the airport in Ujung Pandang, but are driven out by security.

Assembly (MPR) passes reform measures, but falls short of meeting the demands of student demonstrators. ABRI retains hold of 75 appointed seats in the assembly. President and Vice-President are now limited to two five-year terms. General elections are set for June 1999, and an independent election commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum) is established.

Students hold protests in Bandung, Surabaya, Yogya, Semarang, Padang and Bali. Students demonstrators are driven back from the former Presidential summer palace in Bogor by security. Students in Medan take over the airport and demand to be taken to Jakarta. Demonstrations spread to Balikpapan, Samarinda and Ambon.

November 14 Habibie orders the military to take strong measures against demonstrators.

November 19 Demonstrations break out again in Ambon.

November 21-22 Disputes between Ambonese Christians and local Muslims in Jakarta break out into violence, then more rioting and looting in which six are killed. Looters block toll roads in Jakarta to rob drivers.

November 24 Students take over the office of Attorney General Ghalib.

November 25 Riots break out in Pinrang, on Sulawesi, over local government corruption.

November 26 Students in Yogya appoint four orangutans at the zoo as government ministers in a mock ceremony. Demonstrations in Jakarta continue outside former President Suharto's house. Demonstrations break out in Semarang, Tasikmalaya, Jambi.

November 29 Tens of thousands rally for PPP party congress in Jakarta.

Severe earthquake hits island of Mangole in Maluku.

November 30 Christians riot in Kupang, Timor.

By November, many people were tired of waiting for reform, and worried by the poor economy. Some people did not trust Habibie, who had been very close to Suharto, nor the Assembly, which consisted of members appointed by Suharto, military men, and members of the long-ruling Golkar party.

The four signers of the Ciganjur declaration represented the leaders of Reformasi at the end of 1998. All four were notable persons in positions of leadership who were not connected with the business of government during Suharto's time as President.

The four were (from left to right):

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta was the latest representative of that famous ruling house to devote themselves to public service, just as his father, Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, had.

Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, head of the Nahdlatul Ulama. A figure who preached compromise and reconciliation, Gus Dur was hospitalized with a stroke early in 1998, which sadly limited his participation in politics for much of the year. Later in 1998, Gus Dur would call for talks between ex-President Suharto, Golkar and ABRI officials on one side, and government critics, student activists and supporters of reform on the other.

Megawati Sukarnoputri was the daughter of Sukarno. She had risen to the leadership of the PDI party, only to have the party split into fractions by government intervention while Suharto was President. Her followers resisted government pressure and organized the PDI Perjuangan party, with her at the head.

Amien Rais, leader of the Muhammadiyah. Young, vibrant and intellectual, Amien Rais had been a rival of Habibie for the leadership of Muslim intellectuals during the 1990s.

December 1998

December 3 General elections are announced for June 7, 1999.

Student protests continue: students break through outer security cordons to approach President Habibie's residence.

December 9 Suharto goes to Attorney General's office to face questions about corruption during his presidency. Students demonstrate nearby.

December 11 Fighting between supporters of PDI Perjuangan and local officials leaves two dead in Buleleng, Bali.

Tommy Suharto is officially declared a suspect in a corruption case involving Bulog land deals.

Bombing in Jakarta at Atrium Senen shopping plaza.

December 13 General Wiranto announces plan to train civilians to act as auxiliaries to ABRI in order to combat domestic unrest.

December 16-18 Student demonstrations in Jakarta continue; several are injured.

December 19 Amien Rais officially begins campaigning for President, representing the PAN party.

Local residents on Bintan, Riau (near Singapore) stop foreign tourists at barricades to demand money to compensate for unpaid land deals.

December 20 UN envoy Jamsheed Marker tells reporters that an agreement on autonomy for East Timor is "very close".

December 28 Anti-Christian Rioting in Palu and Poso in Central Sulawesi.

December 30 Mob in Aceh pulls ABRI members off a bus bound for Medan. Seven are killed.

Riots in Lampung.

During December, truck drivers reported numerous robberies along the main east-west highways in West and central Java.

January 1999

January 1 Rioting and unrest in Bandung and other Jawa Barat cities during New Year's celebrations.

January 3 Police station in Bayu, Aceh, is burned down by a mob. Five are killed during the unrest, over 100 arrested afterwards.

January 9 Rioting in Karawang, Jawa Barat.

January 11 Megawati Sukarnoputri starts officially campaigning for President, representing PDI Perjuangan.

January 14 Dobo in the Aru Islands is rocked by 4 days of rioting.

January 17 Trial begins in Banda Aceh of four Army privates accused of 4 deaths and the torture of 20 citizens.

January 19 Serious rioting breaks out in Ambon during Ramadan observances, lasts for four days. As many as 20,000 citizens take refuge in military installations. Some foreigners are evacuated by air to Darwin, Australia.

January 22 Gen. Wiranto arrives in Ambon to meet with local leaders and assess the situation.

January 24 Casualties from the Ambon riots are reported to include 54 dead.

Gen. Wiranto meets with several opposition leaders, including Gus Dur, Amien Rais, Megawati, Nurcholish Madjid, and the Sultan of Yogya.

January 27 Agreement is reached that will allow ABRI to retain 38 seats in the Assembly.

Starting in January, violence between factions in East Timor heightened. Pro-Indonesia and pro-independence groups fought to strengthen their positions as rumors spread that East Timor would be granted autonomy or independence. Over 100 were killed in the first half of the year.

February 1999

February 1 Habibie signs bills into law regarding the upcoming June 7 elections, the makeup of the Assembly, and political parties.

February 4 Violence resulting in deaths breaks out in Aceh, on Seram, and at a bus terminal in Jakarta on the same day.

February 5 Governor of Aceh calls for Indonesia to change to a "federated state".

February 6 Gen. Wiranto gives a blanket "shoot on sight" order to troops combating looting and rioting throughout Indonesia.

February 11 Habibie says that Timor Timur could become independent by January 1, 2000.

February 14 Unrest flares up again on Seram and nearby islands in Maluku; 15 are reported killed. Assembly backs Wiranto's "shoot on sight" orders against rioters.

Giant rally for Megawati Sukarnoputri and the PDI Perjuangan party is held at Senayan Stadium, Jakarta.

February 22 Unrest breaks out in Singkawang, Kalimantan Barat. The unrest spreads through the area over the next month; at least 60 are killed, 15000 settlers--mostly Muslims from Madura--leave the area.

February 24 Australia announces the reopening of its consulate in East Timor.

Government announces that Xanana Gusmao will be released from house arrest to participate in meetings regarding the future of East Timor.

February 25 Fifteen are killed in violence in Ambon.

February 26 Habibie meets with representatives from Irian Jaya to discuss possible independence or autonomy.


March 1999

March 1 Nine more are killed in continuing violence in Ambon.

March 4 48 political parties are certified to stand in the June elections.

March 5 Several thousand students demonstrate in Jakarta demanding that Habibie step down.

March 11 Amien Rais visits Washington DC.

UN announces plan for holding referendum on autonomy in East Timor.

March 13 Government announces closure of 38 banks.

March 15 Violence breaks out in Sambas region of West Kalimantan, continues for several days. Nearly 200 are reported dead.

March 26 Habibie visits Aceh, apologizes for past excesses committed by ABRI forces in Aceh.

March 30 Student demonstrators in Padang protest the appointment of a new governor for West Sumatra, enter the governor's office and take the governor's chair.

March 31 Student demonstrations in Jakarta.


April 1999

April 1 Two-year process begins to separate the Indonesian Police Forces (POLRI) from the regular military ABRI command.

April 1 Col. Latief and several other persons jailed since 1965 in connection with the G30S events are freed by President Habibie. Thirty jailed members of Gerakan Aceh Merdeka and a person involved in the bombing at Borobudur in 1985 are also given clemency.

April 3 Over 30 are reported dead in violence in Kai Islands.

April 6 Pro- and anti-Indonesia forces clash in Liquiça, East Timor.

April 12 Trial of Tommy Suharto on corruption charges begins.

April 17 Pro-Indonesia rioters attack persons and buildings in Dili, East Timor, including the home of Gov. Carrascalao. 14 are killed.

April 19 Bomb explodes in Masjid Istiqlal, Jakarta.

April 21 Peace agreement is signed between pro-independence and pro-Indonesia representatives in East Timor. Agreement is witnessed by Gen. Wiranto and Bishop Belo.

Clashes between ABRI troops and civilians in Lhokseumawe, Aceh.

April 22 Nearly half of the Social Safety Net funds from the World Bank, 8 trillion rupiah, are reported missing. The funds had been authorized in 1998 to fight the economic crisis.

Bank Bali signs a recapitalization agreement with the government, agreeing to assemble 20% of deposits as capital within the next three months.

April 23 Habibie chairs a conference to suggest that Maluku be divided into two provinces and Irian Jaya into three provinces before elections in June. Home affairs minister Syarwan Hamid is not present. The concept is criticized by Assembly members as being too rushed.

April 27-30 Clashes between PKB and PPP supporters are reported around Pekalongan, Semarang and Demak.

During April, unrest continued in Singkawang, East Timor and Maluku.

Several corruption trials and investigations continued, including cases against Japanese companies, officers of Bulog, and former president Suharto.

May 1999

May 3 ABRI clashes with civilian crowds and independence supporters near Lhokseumawe, Aceh. 19 are killed.

May 5 Indonesian and Portuguese representatives sign an agreement in New York that East Timor will be allowed to vote for either autonomy within Indonesia or independence.

May 9 Gus Dur asks for calm at a rally of PKB members in Jepara.

UN police officials arrive in East Timor.

May 10 Pro-Indonesia and independence supporters clash in Dili, East Timor.

May 11 Grenades are fired at an air defense base during unrest in Aceh.

May 14 Golkar announces that Habibie is their official candidate for president.

May 17 Time, a U.S.-based magazine, publishes an article accusing former President Suharto and his family of widespread corruption.

Megawati, Amien Rais, and Gus Dur (as heads of the PDI-Perjuangan, PAN and PKB parties) sign agreement to cooperate against the "status quo" in government.

May 19 Campaigning officially begins for the June 7 elections. Golkar party vehicles are damaged.

Gus Dur campaigns for PKB in Aceh, is met by student protests.

May 20 Golkar holds rally in Jambi.

PPP campaigners are attacked in Aceh. Successful PPP rallies are held in Jakarta and Bogor.

May 21 PKB (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa) holds rallies in Jakarta.

May 23 PDI-Perjuangan holds large rallies in Bandung and Bogor.

May 24 Golkar holds rallies in Jakarta and Bekasi. Chairman Akbar Tanjung's motorcade is attacked by a mob.

Habibie asks Attorney General Ghalib to investigate claims of corruption by Suharto in the Time magazine article of May 17.

May 25 PPP party holds large rally in Jakarta.

PDI-Perjuangan holds rally of 100,000 people in Jambi.

Four killed in clashes in Aceh.

May 27 Clashes between PDI-Perjuangan and Golkar supporters near Serang and Banten in West Java.

Rallies for PAN, Partai Keadilan, and Partai Bulan Bintang in Jakarta.

May 28 Eight Islamic parties sign an agreement to pool votes after the June 7 election.

PDI-Perjuangan holds a large rally in Jakarta. Megawati campaigns in Lampung.

May 29 Golkar rally in Aceh is attacked by a local mob. Golkar chair Akbar Tanjung campaigns in Lampung under tight security.

May 31 PPP supporters hold large rally in Jakarta.

Amien Rais campaigns in Balikpapan.

Megawati campaigns in Padang.


June 1999

June 1 Megawati campaigns in East Timor.

PDI-Perjuangan supporters clash with rivals in Ujung Pandang.

June 2 Large rally for Partai Amanat Nasional, led by Amien Rais, in Jakarta. Other rallies are held by Partai Keadilan and Partai Bulan Bintang.

Former President Suharto files legal charges against Time Magazine, for publishing an article accusing him and his children of corruption.

MUI asks Muslims to vote for Islamic parties; Amien Rais criticizes the statement as divisive.

Golkar's election committee receives a Rp 15 billion loan from Bank Bali. This transaction would later be revealed as the center of the Bank Bali scandal.

June 3 Over one million PDI-Perjuangan supporters, led by Megawati Sukarnoputri, rally in Jakarta.

Golkar supporters clash with rivals in Ujung Pandang.

June 5 Shots are fired at a truck carrying ballot boxes in Aceh.

Four are injured during a PPP rally on Lombok.

June 7 Voting is held for 462 of the 500 seats in the Assembly.

June 12 25% of the June 7 ballots have been counted. Komisi Pemilihan Umum (Public Elections Commission) is criticized for the slow vote count. PDI-Perjuangan, led by Megawati, maintains a consistent lead in the count of about 35%-40% of the total. Golkar acknowledges that it will not be the top party after the election.

June 14 Attorney General Ghalib resigns under pressure from charges of corruption.

June 18 Ismudjoko is installed as interim Attorney General to replace Ghalib.

Sri Bintang Pamungkas accuses the KPU of mismanaging funds.

Rival factions in East Timor agree to surrender weapons in meeting in Jakarta. Gusmao meets with Gen. Wiranto.

June 20 UN civilian police begin arriving in Dili, East Timor, to oversee the August 8 referendum.

June 21 KPU announces that publication of final vote totals and party quotas will be postponed until July 6-8.

June 23 Meeting of KPU is disrupted by arguments over the disposition of parties that receive less than 2% of votes in the general election.

June 28 Dare II reconciliation meetings convene in Jakarta between pro-Indonesia and pro-independence groups from East Timor.

June 30 Several small parties demand that the KPU publish a final vote count, and that Assembly seats should be allocated to small parties that did not qualify for seats under the election rules.

Verifying vote totals in the 1999 elections.

July 1999

July 1 Government says it will sue carmaker PT Timor Putra Nasional (owned by Tommy Suharto) for blocking tax inspectors from entering company facilities.

July 2 PRD members demonstrate outside of KPU headquarters in Jakarta, clash with police.

July 4 Pro-Indonesia militiamen attack UN officers at Liquisa, East Timor.

July 7 Over 50,000 are reported to have left their homes in the Pidie regency of Aceh.

July 12 Six are killed in separate clashes in Aceh.

Dr. Anwar Nasution, an academic critic of government economic policy, is chosed to lead Bank Indonesia by the Assembly.

July 15 Official election results are finally released. Order of parties in number of seats won:

  1. PDI-P (Megawati)
  2. Golkar
  3. PPP
  4. PKB (Gus Dur)
  5. PAN (Amien Rais)

July 17 Political parties ratify the results of the June 7th elections.

July 20 Violence occurs at Beutong Ateuh in Aceh, and continues for several days. The events are reported as a shootout by the local military, but those reports are disputed by locals, who claim that innocent civilians were killed by the military. At least 51 are killed during the next 10 days.

Amien Rais declares support for Gus Dur for President, on behalf of Islamic parties; Gus Dur, however, continues to support Megawati.

July 23 Fresh violence breaks out in Ambon; 11 are killed over the next five days.

Management of Bank Bali is handed over to Standard Chartered Bank. Bank Bali had been unable to put together 20% capitalization as agreed publicly with the government on April 22.

July 26 Habibie declares that the results of the June 7 elections are official. 27 small parties refuse to ratify the results.

Riots break out on Batam.

Local residents of Beutong Ateuh reported that very similar actions had occurred in their area in 1993, involving some of the same soldiers, but were never reported.

August 1999

August 4-5 Two-day peaceful strike against violence stops business and traffic in Aceh.

August 8 Megawati visits East Timor. She repeats her position that East Timor should remain in Indonesia, and called for reconciliation between armed factions in the province.

August 14 Campaigning begins for the August 30 referendum on independence in East Timor.

August 18 Gen. Wiranto, at a meeting in Aceh, announces that there will be further military withdrawals from Aceh.

August 26 Skirmishes occur between pro-Indonesia and pro-independence militias in Dili; four are reported killed.

August 30 Polling proceeds in East Timor.

Tommy Suharto is sentenced to two years in prison for corrupt land dealings involving Bulog.

August 31 "Aitarak" pro-Indonesia militias make shows of force in many parts of East Timor. Scattered violence is reported.

Former President Suharto, weak and disoriented, on release from the hospital in August, 1999.

The Bank Bali scandal grew in prominence during August 1999. It involved questionable transfers of large sums of money between Bank Bali officials and officials of the Golkar party, including Pres. Habibie.

September 1999

September 1 Final seat allocations from the June 7 elections are finally announced. The announcement states that of 48 parties, 21 have seats in the new Assembly, and only 6 parties received enough votes to qualify for the 2004 elections:

  • PDI-P, 153 seats (Nationalist--Megawati)
  • Golkar, 120 seats (Incumbent--Habibie)
  • PPP, 58 seats (Islamic)
  • Partai Kebangitan Bangsa, 51 seats (Islamic--Gus Dur)
  • Partai Amanat Nasional, 34 seats (Islamic--Amien Rais)
  • Partai Bulan Bintang, 13 seats (Islamic)

The remaining 15 parties, mostly Islamic, received from seven down to one seat each, and did not qualify for the 2004 elections.

September 4 UN officials announce that the referendum in East Timor has resulted in a 78% vote for independence, with over a 99% turnout.

September 5 Leaders of the pro-Indonesia groups in East Timor reject the results of the referendum, and accuse UN observers of fraud.

September 6 Violence breaks out in Dili, led by pro-Indonesia "Aitarak" militiamen. Australian military organizes evacuation of foreign citizens.

September 7 Looting, burning and rioting is widespred in Dili and East Timor. UNAMET facilities in Baucau are attacked by pro-Indonesia rioters, and most UN personnel are evacuated. Martial law is declared in a joint communique by Gen. Wiranto, Habibie and several ministers. Several hundred are reported dead from the previous events and over the next few days. 30,000 refugees are reported in the hills; as many as 80,000 pro-Indonesia citizens are estimated to be trying to leave the area.

Indonesian government releases Xanana Gusmao from custody.

September 8 Habibie meets privately with Gen. Wiranto, several ministers and leading ABRI commanders. Rumors of a coup are denied the next day.

September 14 UN Security Council authorizes peacekeeping force for East Timor.

September 15 Habibie says that Indonesia does not oppose UN peacekeeping forces in East Timor.

Violence lessens in East Timor; militias lessen activities in Dili.

September 16 Indonesia cancels existing security agreement with Australia.

IMF suspends process of distributing financial aid to Indonesia, primarily due to a perceived lack of cooperation by Habibie's administration in investigating and explaining the Bank Bali scandal.

September 17 ABRI and Australian P.M. Howard issue critical, unflattering public statements about each other. ABRI announces that 2000 troops have already been withdrawn from East Timor to Flores. Dili is reported to be 75% damaged.

September 18 Xanana Gusmao leaves Jakarta for Darwin, Australia.

September 20 UN peacekeeping force Interfet, with mostly Australian troops, begins landing in East Timor.

September 21 President Mahathir of Malaysia calls Australia's role in Interfet "belligerent".

September 23 Assembly announces a draft of an "Emergency Situations Bill"; violent protests in Jakarta.

Habibie lifts military state of emergency in East Timor.

September 24 Protests against the proposed new security laws spread to Medan, Ujungpandang, Bandung, and many other cities. Two students are shot and killed in the Jakarta protest. Assembly sets aside the new security laws.

September 26 Indonesian military hands over control of East Timor to Interfet.

September 28 More violent student protests against the security laws in Medan, Lampung and Semarang.

September 29 Several prominent arrests are made in connection with the Bank Bali scandal.

While independence for East Timor was widely portrayed as "liberation" in the foreign press, in Indonesia it caused several potential problems, including the possibility of thousands of pro-Indonesia refugees and damage to the formerly excellent relations between Indonesia and Australia. Within a month, the new democratically elected President Abdurrahman Wahid would give a speech against those who did not respect the feelings and integrity of Indonesia as a nation.

October 1999

October 2 The election of the President by the Assembly (MPR) is scheduled for October 20.

October 1 Assembly chooses Amien Rais of PAN to be Speaker.

October 5 IMF says that the Indonesian government has not produced satisfactory reports on the Bank Bali scandal.

October 6 Akbar Tandjung of Golkar is chosen Chairman of the Assembly (DPR).

October 7 PAN and Partai Keadilan throw their support to Gus Dur for President.

October 8 Gus Dur and Megawati visit Sukarno's grave and memorial in Blitar.

October 10 Australian troops in Interfet kill an Indonesian policeman during a skirmish on the East Timor frontier.

October 11 Acting Attorney General Ismudjoko stops inquiry into the case of corruption in Suharto's charitable foundations.

October 13 Golkar re-confirms Habibie as their candidate for President. Habibie nominates Gen. Wiranto as his running-mate for Vice-President.

October 14 Habibie gives a speech to the Assembly (MPR) defending his presidency and accepting accountability for his actions as President. Widespread protests in Jakarta.

Courts lift charges against Tommy Suharto regarding corrupt land deals and Bulog.

October 18 Gen. Wiranto withdraws as a candidate for Vice-President.

October 19 The Assembly (MPR) rejects Habibie's accountability speech.

Large pro-Megawati and anti-Habibie demonstrations are held in Jakarta.

October 20 Habibie withdraws from the Presidential contest shortly before the vote in the Assembly (MPR). The Golkar leadership offers Akbar Tandjung as a replacement; he withdraws one hour later. Yusril Mahendra of Partai Bulan Bintang also withdraws from the election just before the balloting. Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) is elected President. Wahid receives 373 votes; Megawati Sukarnoputri receives 313 votes.

October 21 Megawati Sukarnoputri is elected Vice-President by the Assembly (MPR).

October 22 Xanana Gusmao returns to East Timor on a U.S. helicopter assigned to Interfet.

Students in Ujung Pandang call for Habibie to be named "President of East Indonesia" in a federal state.

October 25 UN approves 9,000-man UNTAET peacekeeping force for East Timor.

October 26 President Wahid announces new cabinet.

October 27 New Attorney General Marzuki Darusman announces that corruption investigations into former President Suharto will be reopened.

October 28 Megawati visits Lampung.

About 1,000 employees of the Information Ministry, soon to be unemployed, demonstrate in Jakarta.

October 29 President Wahid and Megawati institute new cabinet, meet with demonstrators in Merdeka Square.

October 31 Last Indonesian forces leave East Timor.

Abdurrahman Wahid, or "Gus Dur", the fourth president of the Republic of Indonesia

Wahid won the election for President by combining votes from his own PKB party, other Islamic-oriented parties (including PAN, PPP, Partai Bulan Bintang, and Partai Keadilan), and from Golkar members who were left without a candidate when Habibie withdrew from the race. Megawati received all the votes from her PDI-P party, but was unable to gain significant votes from outside her own party.

November 1999

November 2 Price Waterhouse Coopers report on the Bank Bali scandal is released, revealing the June 2 loan to Golkar's election campaign and other irregularities.

November 3 Three days of rioting break out in Ternate and Tidore, Maluku.

November 4 Gen. Wiranto hands his position as Armed Forces commander to Admiral Widodo in a ceremony at Cilacap. Wiranto maintains his cabinet post.

November 6 President Wahid visits Singapore; assures Indonesian businessmen who have evacuted capital to Singapore that the business and legal climate in Indonesia will improve under his presidency.

November 7 President Wahid makes 6-hour visit to Myanmar.

November 8 East Kalimantan assembly passes resolution calling for Indonesia to become a federal state.

Aceh assembly and a rally attended by hundreds of thousands in Banda Aceh call for a peaceful referendum to decide the future of Aceh.

President Wahid visits Cambodia.

November 9 Teungku Abdullah Syafii of GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka/Free Aceh Movement) states that nothing less than full independence is acceptable to his movement.

November 12 Amien Rais visits Banda Aceh, speaks for conciliation and against independence for Aceh.

November 14 President Wahid visits Salt Lake City, Utah, USA for medical treatment. During the trip he announces that three cabinet ministers will be replaced due to investigations into corrupt practices.

IMF announces that it will reopen financial aid discussions with the Indonesian government.

November 15 President Wahid visits Tokyo, gets assurances of finanical aid from the Japanese government.

World Bank expresses concern over Indonesia's budget; estimates that Indonesia's foreign loans will double over the next year.

November 16 President Wahid states that a referendum for Aceh is possible. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Sudrajat says that independence for Aceh is out of the question.

November 19 Hundreds of police officers and families are evacuated from South Aceh to Medan. Many more residents of Aceh from other parts of Indonesia leave during November.

November 22 President Wahid begins 5-day trip to Kuwait, Qatar, and Jordan.

November 23 Commission of Nahdlatul Ulama's 30th Congress calls for Suharto to be put on trial for corruption.

November 26 Hamzah Haz of the PPP party resigns from the cabinet.

November 28 Texmaco Group reveals that it is nearly 10 trillion rupiah in debt to Bank Negara Indonesia. Later, former President Suharto would be mentioned in connection with the affair.

November 30 President Wahid meets Xanana Gusmao in Jakarta.

Megawati Sukarnoputri, as Vice-President in the Wahid administration.

December 1999

December 1 President Wahid begins state visit to China; issues press release stating that restrictions against ethnic Chinese and expressions of Chinese culture in Indonesia will be lifted.

Demonstrations in several parts of Irian Jaya demand independence.

December 2 Charges against several defendants in the Bank Bali case are dropped.

December 3 Explosions in Ambon and clashes on Ceram kill 30-40.

Akbar Tanjung says that a referendum for Aceh should not include a choice for independence.

December 6 Attorney General Marzuki Darusman reopens corruption case against Suharto that had been closed on October 11.

December 8 President Wahid says that he will not tolerate any movement calling for complete independence for Aceh.

December 12 President Wahid and Megawati begin two-day trip to Ambon; call for peace between rioting factions.

December 16 Skirmishes flare up in several locations in Aceh. Eighteen Army personnel are killed in one skirmish near Lhokseumawe.

December 18 Gen. Wiranto tells press that he will cooperate with human rights investigations regarding East Timor.

December 20 KPP HAM (Human Rights Investigating Committee) begins hearings in East Timor.

December 22 President of PLN, the national electric utility, resigns in a dispute with the government over the handling of private electric power contracts, complaining that to honor the existing contracts would be a concession to foreign pressure and domestic corruption. President Wahid supported maintenance of the existing contracts.

Rioting between Christians and Muslims on Buru in Maluku leads to over 100 deaths; many Christians flee to Ambon.

December 28 Diplomatic relations with Portugal, broken since 1976, are resumed.

Rioting around Tobelo, on Halmahera, kills over 250, mostly Muslims.

December 29 At least 70 are reported dead in recent rioting in Ambon. Government reports that over 750 people died in violence in and near Ambon during 1999. Rioting on Ternate and Tidore, Maluku, kills 7.

December 30 Kostrad batallions land at Ambon to help stop the continuing violence.

December 31 President Wahid visits Jayapura, Irian Jaya, apologizes for excessive military actions in the province, but rules out any move for independence. Irian Jaya province is officially renamed Papua.

A destroyed Muslim neighborhood in Ambon, 1999.

The continuing violence in Maluku, as well as the events around the independence of East Timor, led to a number of Muslim refugees, possibly more than 100,000, leaving Maluku and Timor for Sulawesi and other parts of Indonesia. This movement of people was not widely reported in the foreign press, but led to continued bad feelings between communities within Indonesia.

January 2000

January 1 North Maluku province, including Ternate, Tidore and Halmahera, is separated from Maluku, following a law passed during the last days of the Habibie administration.

January 2 500 troops land on Morotai, North Maluku, to stop inter-community fighting there.

January 4 Audit of Bank Indonesia is released, revealing that over Rp 7 trillion was mismanaged during the early part of the economic crisis in late 1997 and 1998.

Reports from North Maluku allege that hundreds have been killed in inter-community violence on Halmahera.

January 7 Amien Rais criticizes Komnas HAM (National Human Rights Committee) for disregarding cases from Aceh and Ambon in favor of cases from East Timor.

January 11 Indonesian Navy begins a blockade of Ambon harbor in an attempt to stop the illegal flow of weapons.

January 13 President Wahid fires ABRI spokesman Maj.-Gen. Sudrajat for suggesting that the civilian branches of government should not intervene in military affairs. Rumors of a coup abound.

January 17 20 soldiers are reported killed in a skirmish near Pidie, Aceh.

Rioters burn churches in Mataram, Lombok. Disturbances continue for three days.

Three days of demonstrations against resort and industrial developers begin on Bintan, Riau, including disruptions to the island's power supply.

January 18 Armed forces chief Adm. Widodo holds an unannounced meeting with President Wahid.

January 22 25 are killed on Haruku, near Ambon, as security forces fire on crowds to stop rioting and burning there.

January 25 Rioting in Bima, Sumbawa.

January 26 President Wahid visits Sabang, Aceh, and calls for reconciliation.

January 28 65 are reported dead from rioting on Bacan, North Maluku.

Several reports accuse Gen. Wiranto of complicity in the violent events in East Timor in September.

January 30 Laskar Jihad is founded in Yogyakarta.

January 31 President Wahid announces that he will ask Gen. Wiranto to resign from the cabinet.


February 2000

February 1 "Riau People's Congress" makes a non-binding vote for independence.

February 2 Wiranto attends a cabinet meeting chaired by Megawati while President Wahid is in London, in spite of calls for Wiranto to step down.

February 4 Army chief Gen. Sudarto says that the Army, as an institution, would not lead a coup.

February 5 Chinese New Year is celebrated publicly in Jakarta for the first time since the 1960s.

February 11 Former President Suharto is named as a suspect in a corruption investigation involving his charitable foundations.

February 13-14 President Wahid returns from a two-week foreign tour, announces that Wiranto can remain in the cabinet for the time being, then reverses himself the next day and removes Wiranto from the cabinet.

February 15 Wiranto states that he will obey President Wahid's decision.

February 23 Report to Attorney General Marzuki Darusman states that Tommy Suharto and businessman Bob Hasan appropriated US$87 million in reforestation funds.

February 25 Armed forces chief Adm. Widodo states that the armed forces is willing to give up all its seats in the Assembly by 2004.

February 29 President Wahid visits Dili, East Timor, and apologizes for human rights violations while East Timor was a part of Indonesia.


March 2000

March 8 Government announces that the Bakorstanas security agency, founded by Suharto, will be disbanded.

March 13 Tommy Suharto is called in for questioning about the handling of funds by his former clove monopoly.

March 17 Presidential representative meets with the head of Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Free Aceh Movement) near Pidie. Local security forces disturb the intent of the meeting by conducting a violent search of nearby villages.

March 22 Rudini resigns as head of the KPU (General Elections Commission), as investigations continue into the mismanagement of funds there.

March 27 President Wahid addresses a PDI-P party congress in Semarang, and recommends that the President and Vice-President should be elected directly by the voters.

March 31 President Wahid defends his statement that the 1966 decree banning the teaching of Communism and Marxism should be overturned.

March 31 Lawyers for former President Suharto claim he is too ill to respond to a summons from the Attorney General.

During March 2000, there was much activity by the Indonesian Banking Restructuring Agency. Investigations into Bank Indonesia turned up irregularities involving several officers in the bank and former President Suharto. Bank Negara Indonesia became the latest bank to be declared unsound by the agency.

April 2000

April 3 Former President Suharto is questioned at his residence by representatives of the Attorney General's office, but the questioning is quickly interrupted by Suharto's doctors.

April 5 IMF gives sweeping approval to 42 of the government's economic restructuring proposals.

April 5 Armed clash at Lhokseumawe airport in Aceh leaves three soldiers killed.

April 6 Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah group holds a rally at Senayan stadium, Jakarta. A militia group claiming to support Muslims in Maluku, they announce that up to 10,000 militiamen will be sent to defend Muslim communities in Maluku. Six leaders meet with President Wahid for a short meeting; they leave criticizing the President. Government sends forces to close down the Laskar Jihad training camp near Bogor.

Attorney General Darusman signs an agreement with UN officials in East Timor regarding the investigation of human rights abuses the previous September and after.

April 8 Demonstrators in Jakarta, Medan and Jambi protest the possibility of lifting the ban on Communist teaching.

April 12 Former President Suharto is placed under a travel ban.

April 17 Four Army officers ignore a summons to appear for questioning regarding the July 27, 1996 events at PDI party headquarters.

April 19 Special team organized by Attorney General Darusman begins investigating human rights violations in East Timor.

April 19 Trial begins of military officers accused of leading violence against civilians at Beutong Ateuh, Aceh, during the previous July. Student protests disrupt the trial.

Members of Laskar Jihad from the closed camp in Bogor arrive in Ambon, Maluku, despite the closure.

April 24 President Wahid dismisses two economic ministers from the cabinet. Many Golkar and PDI-P representatives in the Assembly are unhappy.

April 25 Attorney General's office requests a court order to seize assets of former President Suharto's charitable foundations, in connection with the ongoing corruption investigations.

April 27 President Wahid tells a closed-door meeting that the cabinet firings of April 24 were due to possible involvement in corruption by the two cabinet ministers involved.


May 2000

May 2 Minister for Economy and Industry Kwik Kwan Gie falls ill during a cabinet meeting; President Wahid announces later that he will head the movement for economic reform himself.

May 3 Former military leaders Try Sutrisno and Benny Murdani testify before Komnas HAM (National Commission on Human Rights) as part of an investigation into the 1984 incident at Tanjung Priok.

May 5 Retired Lt.-Gen. Syarwan Hamid admits that he was involved in arranging the June 1996 convention in Medan of the PDI party, which eventually led to the ouster of Megawati, but refuses to comment on whether he was involved in the violence in July 1996 at Megawati's PDI headquarters in Jakarta.

May 8 PDI-P members in the Assembly publicly accuse Suharto of being behind the anti-Megawati events of June-July 1996, including the PDI congress in Medan, the attack on the Jakarta PDI headquarters, and the July 27th, 1996 riots.

May 12 Representatives of the Indonesian government and of Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Free Aceh Movement) sign a truce document in Geneva, Switzerland. Some members of the Assembly and others complain that the document and the circumstances of its signing might lead to foreign involvement in the Aceh situation in the future.

May 16 Wiranto officially resigns from the cabinet (as an inactive member).

24 soldiers are convicted of murder in the massacre of 56 students and their teacher in a village in central Aceh in June 1999.

May 17 Indonesian government signs Letter of Intent committing to economic reforms in order to receive IMF funds.

May 19 Military issues shoot-on-sight order to stop rioting in Maluku, amid resurgent violence in Ambon and Halmahera.

May 22 Corruption case involving the Texmaco company and misuse of Bank Indonesia funds ends in acquittal, despite strong indications of involvement by former President Suharto.

May 23 Rioting breaks out in Poso, Central Sulawesi, between Muslims and Christians, and continues into June. Over 100 are killed. The rioting was aggravated by the presence of refugees from the ongoing violence in Maluku.

May 24 President Wahid orders police to apprehend several individuals wanted in the disappearance of Rp 35 billion from Bulog accounts.

Attorney General Marzuki Darusman installs a new Joint Anti-Corruption Team.

May 26 Demonstration in Jakarta demanding that former President Suharto be arrested and brought to trial briefly turns violent.

May 28 Church bombing in Medan injures 23.

May 29 Former President Suharto is placed under house arrest.


June 2000

June 1 Defense Minister Sudarsono states his opinion that provocateurs allied with the circle of former president Suharto are behind the violence in Maluku.

June 4 "Papua People's Congress" in Jayapura issues a statement rejecting the unification of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) with Indonesia in 1962 and 1969. The Indonesian government does not recognize the declaration.

Earthquake near Bengkulu kills over 100 people.

June 13 "Bulakrantai" document is revealed at a conference of military leaders, describing secret meetings among military officers during the previous April who planned to overthrow President Wahid. Armed Forces chief Admiral Widodo says he will investigate the allegations.

June 15 Police investigators in Jakarta propose questioning President Wahid regarding the case of Rp 35 billion missing from Bulog accounts.

June 19 Komnas HAM issues a lukewarm report on the 1984 Tanjung Priok incident. Independent observers accuse the Komnas HAM team investigating the 1984 Tanjung Priok incident of bargaining with suspects, and offering to give immunity from prosecution. Other groups complain that the investigation was not done thoroughly since the victims were primarily working-class Muslims.

June 20 114 are reported dead in fresh violence on Halmahera, in North Maluku.

June 21 Bank Indonesia governor Syahril Sabirin is finally taken into detention in connection with the Bank Bali corruption case, after a long controversy.

June 23 Indonesian government orders police and the military to prevent all outsiders from entering Maluku and North Maluku provinces.

President Wahid makes a statement at Ciganjur that he believes wealthy persons in Jakarta are supporting the violence in Maluku.

June 27 Full State of Emergency is declared for Maluku. Governor Latuconsina issues a curfew order.

During June, President Wahid and his administration came under increased criticism for having at least the appearance of possible corruption--even as the World Bank and the IMF increased pressure on the Indonesian government to hold independent audits and form independent agencies for financial oversight.

July 2000

July 2 Indonesian Navy detains a ship loaded with small arms headed for Halmahera in North Maluku.

July 4 Bomb explodes in the building housing the Attorney General's office in Jakarta. Two more unexploded bombs are found the next day.

July 12 Former Minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita appears before the Assembly, and denies charges of corruption.

July 16 Twenty are killed in violence in Ambon, despite the state of emergency. Broadcast video shows men in government issue uniforms fighting alongside Muslim sectarian fighters.

July 20 President Wahid appears before the Assembly for questioning in regards to his handling of the cabinet firings of April 24 and other matters. He does not answer all questions to the satisfaction of the Assembly members there.

July 21 President Wahid offers a written apology to the Assembly for his handling of the April 24 cabinet firings.

July 24 Proposals are forwarded by 252 Assembly members that investigations should continue into President Wahid's cabinet firings, along with the missing Rp 35 billion in Bulog funds and questions surrounding US$2 million in aid money received from the Sultan of Brunei.

July 25 Military spokesman say that the Army and Navy will be rounding up 1900 militia members in Maluku who are non-residents and removing them from the area.

Unease continued in July, as the value of the rupiah dropped, gasoline and kerosene shortages were reported around Java, and political tension continued between President Wahid and the Assembly.

By mid-2000, around 3000 were dead in two years of fighting in Maluku, and more than 100,000 had been left homeless. Some observers, including President Wahid, accused associates of former President Suharto of encouraging the continuing fighting in order to discredit and destabilize the central government.

August 2000

August 1 President Wahid, Megawati, Amien Rais, and Akbar Tanjung meet at the Kraton Yogyakarta on the invitation of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. After private discussions, they issue a public agreement that conflicts among the leadership were not good for the country as a whole.

Bomb explodes at the residence of the Ambassador from the Philippines in Jakarta, killing two, and injuring the Ambassador and 20 others. Muslim extremists from the Philippines (Abu Sayyaf or MILF) are suspected.

Justice Sarwata resigns from the Supreme Court.

August 3 Former President Suharto is officially charged with corruption.

August 7 President Wahid apologizes to the Assembly for the lack of accomplishments during his presidency so far, and offers a cabinet reshuffle.

August 9 President Wahid announces that he is turning over the affairs of government to Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri, after continuing criticism from the Assembly and suggestions that he do so.

August 11 President Wahid clarifies that he will retain the powers of president, only delegating certain duties to Megawati.

August 17 Kartasasmita is restricted from leaving the Jakarta area while under investigation.

August 19 Assembly allows the military to retain 38 appointed seats until 2009, and passes a ban against retroactive prosecution, just before adjourning.

August 21 Bank Indonesia demonetizes three series of banknotes; notably a Rp 50000 note carrying the portrait of former President Suharto.

August 22 Two Supreme Court judges are named in connection with a bribery case.

August 23 President Wahid announces the new cabinet. Megawati is not present.

August 24 The IPTN aircraft manufacturing concern is officially rechristened PT Dirgantara Indonesia.

August 29 Joko Tjandra is released by the court in connection with the Bank Bali case.

August 31 Trial of Suharto begins. Suharto does not appear; his doctors state that he is too ill to testify.

Justice Sarwata would not be replaced on the Supreme Court until May 2001, after months of dispute between the President and the Assembly.

September 2000

September 1 Former Governor Abilio Soares and several others are named as suspects in the investigation into violence and civil disorder in East Timor in late 1999.

September 6 Three UN officials and two local citizens are killed in an attack on a UN refugee office in Atambua, West Timor (Nusa Tenggara Timur).

Retired Gen. Nasution passes away.

September 13 An explosion in a parking ramp at the Jakarta Stock Exchange kills 10. Tommy Suharto is detained in connection with the incident.

September 14 IMF releases US$399 million loan to Indonesia.

September 17 President Wahid orders that Suharto's private guards be disarmed.

September 18 U.S. Defense Secretary Cohen visits Jakarta; states that U.S. military aid to Indonesia will be endangered unless the situation in West Timor is brought under control.

September 22 A disarmament of militias in the West Timor border region begins; some militiamen are reported collecting their weapons again just after turning them in publicly, others refuse to cooperate.

Iha, a predominantly Muslim village on Saparua, Maluku, is destroyed by Christian militiamen.

September 23 Police arrest 25 suspects in the Stock Exchange bombing, including one who was allegedly preparing a grenade attack on the U.S. Embassy.

September 26 Police chief Rusdiharjo is replaced. President Wahid states that the reasons include failure to prevent the Stock Exchange bombing, and for disobeying an order to arrest Tommy Suharto. Two military officers are revealed to be suspects in the Stock Exchange bombing case.

September 27 Bomb attack at a Jakarta human rights office results in no injuries.

September 28 Judge rules that Suharto is medically unfit for trial and dismisses the case against him.

The bombing at the Stock Exchange was originally tied to Tommy Suharto and his followers, but later was thought to be connected to Islamic extremists working in a network with groups in the Philippines and Malaysia.

October 2000

October 3 Three militia leaders and a military commander are named as suspects in the April 17, 1999 violence in East Timor.

Tommy Suharto is sentenced to 18 months in prison for making illegal land swaps with Bulog.

October 4 East Timor militia leader Eurico Guterres is arrested in Jakarta.

October 5 Prosecutors appeal to have the charges against Suharto reinstated.

October 6 Banten province is created from the four westernmost kabupaten of Jawa Barat province, with capital at Serang.

October 9 Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff are replaced on orders of President Wahid.

October 12 Use of the "Kejora" or "Morning Star" flag without permission is banned in Papua.

October 17 Special committee of the Assembly begins calling witnesses to investigate a questionable transfer of Rp 35 billion in Bulog funds with the possible involvement of President Wahid.

October 19 Legal charges are temporarily dropped against the heads of three prominent corporations, including Texmaco.

October 26 Rioting in Pontianak kills 3.

Amien Rais tells the press that he does not expect the Wahid presidency to last much longer.

October 29 "Laskar Islam Surakarta" group threaten to evict all U.S. citizens from the city of Surakarta within 24 hours if they do not leave voluntarily.


November 2000

November 4 Tommy Suharto disappears and is declared a fugitive.

November 8 Suharto family compound in central Jakarta is searched.

November 10 Thousands attend independence rally in Banda Aceh. At least 25 are killed in clashes around Aceh before the rally.

November 10 Consultations between President Wahid and top Assembly leaders make no progress in relations. Assembly leaders ask Wahid to step down if he cannot lead the country properly; one asks him to see a psychiatrist.

November 12 Government declines to bail out the debt of the PLN state electric utility.

November 16 The head of IAIN Ar-Raniri (government religious college) in Banda Aceh is assassinated.

November 21 Bangka-Belitung province is created from the island portion of Sumatera Selatan.

November 23 Another acquittal is issued in the Bank Bali case.

November 24 New Army Chief of Staff Sutarto states that the military will not tolerate any attempts by rebels in any areas to break away from Indonesia.

November 28 Former Police Chief Rusdiharjo testifies in connection with the Bulog funds transfer case (possibly involving President Wahid).

November 29 Police round up and detain several pro-independence figures in Papua, in advance of a planned rally on December 1.

November 30 Fifty are reported dead in Muslim/Christian fighting in the Watubela islands in Maluku.

Hutomo Mandala Putra (Tommy Suharto)
For many, Tommy Suharto represented the worst of the corruption and arrogance associated with the Suharto family and circle of close associates in the later years of his father's presidency. While Tommy Suharto and some Suharto friends, such as Bob Hasan, ended up on the wrong side of the law, others continued with "business as usual" in the new era.

December 2000

December 4 Governor of Aceh announces the imposition of Islamic law.

December 5 Gorontalo province is created from the western part of Sulawesi Utara.

December 5 Government announces that government-sponsored transmigration between provinces has stopped as of August 2000.

15 are reported dead in fresh clashes in Aceh.

Pertamina announces that it will lay off 6000 employees over the next five years.

December 6 Syahril Sabirin, a suspect in the Bank Bali case, is released from detention to resume his duties as governor of Bank Indonesia.

December 7 Separatist crowd attacks a police station near Jayapura, Papua, killing 3.

December 11 UN transition officials for East Timor visit Jakarta for meetings; vehicles are attacked by demonstrators. Attorney General Darusman restates that Indonesian suspects will be tried under Indonesian law, not international law.

December 15 Several days of rioting break out in Ampalit, Central Kalimantan.

December 17 Two government buildings in Banda Aceh are bombed.

December 19 President Wahid visits Aceh.

December 24 Series of Christmas Eve church bombings kill at least 16. Targets include Jakarta's Catholic cathedral. Bombings outside Jakarta occur at Medan, Bandung, Mojokerto and Sukabumi on Java, Batam, and Mataram on Lombok. Four police officers are killed while trying to defuse a bomb at Pekanbaru.


January 2001

January 5 Government arrests four local managers of Ajinomoto over a dispute regarding the possible presence of pork enzymes in the manufacture of its MSG flavoring. A recall of the product is ordered.

January 5 Vice-President Megawati sides with President Wahid in a dispute with the Assembly over two new Supreme Court nominees.

January 9 Government representatives and leaders of Gerakan Aceh Merdeka sign an agreement, include a new cease-fire to last through February 15. Both sides agree to pursue non-violent, democratic and constitutional means to achieve their goals.

January 12 President Wahid sends an official letter to the Assembly that he will not select a new Supreme Court justice from the list of those nominated by the Assembly.

January 16 Police foil a plan to bomb a ceremony installing local officials at Tanjungpinang, Riau.

January 16 Former Attorney General Ghalib publishes memoirs, including statements that could be interpreted as implicating former President Habibie and retired General Wiranto in corruption, particularly in interfering in attempts to prosecute former President Suharto. Wiranto denies the charges.

January 19 Police foil an attempted bombing at the Taman Mini Indonesia amusement park in Jakarta.

January 25 Several hundred refugees from East Timor demonstrate in Kupang, demanding to be compensated for the loss of their property due to the separation of East Timor. The governor of Nusa Tenggara Timur and several provincial officials are held in their offices by demonstrators for eight hours.

January 26 Demonstrations against President Wahid break out in Ujung Pandang, Yogyakarta, and around the Assembly building in Jakarta.

January 29 Special committee of the Assembly releases its report on cases involving the mishandling of funds froms Bulog and the Sultan of Brunei. The report states that President Wahid was in violation of anti-corruption laws. Partai Kebangitan Bangsa members protest that the committee has not followed Assembly rules.

During January, there were debates over the situation for foreign-owned factories in Indonesia, after reports that an increasing number were considering closing and moving to Vietnam or Cambodia. Manufacturers blamed labor organizations for creating an insecure environment, while labor representatives claimed that manufacturers were exaggerating the situation. Vice-President Megawati called on ministers to investigate.

February 2001

February 1 Assembly votes to accept the special committee report implicating President Wahid; PKB members walk out.

February 2 Students in Ujung Pandang demonstrate by collecting official portraits of President Wahid for disposal.

February 5 Former President Suharto is released from house arrest.

February 5 Demonstrations take place in Semarang, Demak, Surabaya, and many parts of East Java in support of President Wahid.

February 7 Demonstration in favor of President Wahid smashes and burns Golkar headquarters in Surabaya; 50,000 take part. Golkar offices in Probolinggo and Pasuruan are also burned. Demonstrations in Jakarta call for the disbandment of the Golkar party. Other demonstrations are held in Bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang, Medan, and Manado.

February 7 Effort to press impeachment against President Wahid in the assembly is blocked due to opposition from Megawati, Golkar and military members of the Assembly. The effort had been led by Amien Rais and members of other Muslim parties.

February 7 Justice Minister Yusril Mahendra (of Partai Bulan Bintang) leaves the cabinet.

February 8 Further demonstrations in East Java and Madura. Golkar offices in Lamongan are burned.

February 9 President Wahid visits East Java; despite expectations that he would try to calm the violence, he issues statements critical of his opponents. Megawati speaks out against the violent demonstrations in East Java.

February 9 Protests calling for President Wahid to resign are held in Jakarta, Semarang and Bengkulu.

February 9 Baharuddin Lopa of PPP is appointed Justice Minister.

February 13 An attempt to have Wahid, Megawati, Amien Rais, and Akbar Tanjung meet for talks fails when none of them attend.

February 16 Police clash with anti-Golkar demonstrations near party offices in Cikini, Jakarta.

February 16 President Wahid cancels a visit to Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta to avoid demonstrators.

February 16 Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana or "Tutut", daughter of former President Suharto, is named a suspect in a corruption case involving oil pipelines on Java.

February 16 Government restructures its Farm Credit program to avoid a crisis. The program was 72% in arrears.

February 18 Riots break out between Dayaks and Madurese settlers in Sampit, Kalimantan Tengah. Several Madurese are killed.

February 18 A police station, housing for families of policemen, and several Chinese-owned shops are burned down by rioters in Selatpanjang, Riau. 2000 Chinese leave as refugees for Pekanbaru and other locations.

February 20 A caravan of thousands of Madurese refugees leaves Sampit for the provincial capital of Kalimantan Tengah, Palangkaraya.

February 21 Rioting between Dayaks and Madurese follows the refugees into Palangkaraya. Rioting and burning continue in Sampit.

February 22 President Wahid leaves on a foreign trip, to make diplomatic visits and to perform the hajj.

February 23 World Bank threatens to stop loans to Indonesia unless progress is made implementing agreements with the IMF.

February 25 President Wahid announces from Cairo that special forces will be sent to stop the violence in Sampit.

February 25 Hundreds of homes of Madurese are burned in Palangkaraya. Violence spreads to Kualakuayan, in the north of Kalimantan Tengah.

February 27 Tension and shootings surround the docking and boarding of a Pelni ship sent to Sampit to evacuate refugees from the province.


March 2001

March 1 55 Army generals meet in Jakarta and agree to distance themselves from politics and support the constitution.

March 1 Ginanjar Kartasasmita is named in a corruption case involving Pertamina oil drilling contracts.

March 1 Megawati visits Sampit to view the destruction there.

March 2 Amien Rais leads a meeting in Jakarta of leaders of six parties, including PDI-P, but not including PKB, calling for a constitutional change of leadership.

March 6 Violence breaks out again in Palangkaraya.

March 7 Second Pelni ship arrives to evacuate Madurese refugees from Sampit.

March 8 Former President Suharto's daughter Tutut and half-brother Probosutejo are questioned by the Attorney General's office in connection with corruption investigations.

March 12 Special session of the Assembly (MPR) is opened by Amien Rais as demonstrators crowd outside. The special session is to consider actions against President Wahid in connection with the Bulog and Brunei corruption cases.

March 12 Indonesian government declares the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka to be a separatist movement.

March 14 Attorney General's office initiates an investigation into an alleged fraudulent land deal from 1989 involving Golkar leader Akbar Tanjung.

March 14 Suharto associate Bob Hasan is sentenced to six years in prison in connection with a corruption case involving reforestation funds.

March 15 PAN party dismisses two members of the party leadership who had been told to resign their posts in President Wahid's cabinet, but had failed to do so.

March 15 Crowds of demonstrators supporting President Wahid move through Jakarta.

March 19 Violence against Madurese breaks out at Kualakapuas, Kalimantan Tengah.

March 28 Assembly (DPR) declares support in favor of military operations to restore order in Aceh.

March 29 Xanana Gusmao resigns as the head of the interim parliament of East Timor, citing bickering and infighting among politicians there.


April 2001

April 1 Violence in Kalimantan Tengah spreads to Pangkalan Bun.

April 3 President Wahid and Vice-President Megawati both reject a suggested power-sharing compromise intended to defuse the leadership crisis.

April 6 Ginanjar Kartasasmita is taken into custody by the Attorney General's office.

April 7 Exxon-Mobil natural gas production facility in Aceh is attacked.

April 11 IMF review team arrives in Jakarta to discuss the national budget with the government.

April 13 President Wahid issues instructions to restore security in Aceh, amid demonstrations, further attacks on natural gas installations in Aceh, and reports of imminent famine in some districts there due to destruction of the transportation infrastructure.

April 13 World Bank defers release of a US$300 million loan to Indonesia, stating the government had not yet implemented reforms demanded by the World Bank.

April 13 Chairperson of Nahdlatul Ulama denies that a jihad has been proclaimed to support President Wahid.

April 14 Security crackdown against GAM supporters in Aceh.

April 17 Police order a crackdown against paramilitary squads in East Java that had been organizing to support President Wahid.

April 19 President Wahid says in a speech that a nationwide rebellion will break out if he is impeached.

April 20 Letter from the "Paris Club" of creditor nations warns that Indonesia will be declared in default on its debts by the end of May if it does not implement the terms of the IMF Letter of Intent of September 2000.

April 21 Gerakan Aceh Merdeka representatives announce that they are ready to fight back against any military actions in Aceh.

April 22 Indonesian Army sends 1000 special forces troops as reinforcements to Aceh from Bandung.

April 24 IMF negotiating team leaves Jakarta without reaching an agreement with the government regarding the handling of the budget deficit.

April 26 Government offers to reopen talks with Gerakan Aceh Merdeka in a neutral country.

April 29 Nahdlatul Ulama holds mass prayer in Jakarta.

April 30 The Assembly (DPR) approves a memorandum stating that President Wahid has one month to improve his performance, or he will face a special session to remove him.

By April 2001, it was reported that heavy budget deficits were forcing cutbacks in government spending and services in many departments. The loss of revenue from natural gas facilities in Aceh that had been forced to close complicated matters further. The stock market and the value of the rupiah both continued to fall.

May 2001

May 2 Judge orders Ginandjar Kartasasmita to be released from custody, saying that only the head of the Armed Forces has the authority to detain him.

May 2 Several cabinet ministers advise President Wahid to make political compromises with Megawati and the Assembly, including a cabinet reshuffle.

May 4 Ja'far Umar Thalib, a leader of the group Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah, is arrested in Jakarta in connection with inciting violence during the continuing unrest in Ambon.

May 5 President Wahid and others are questioned by the Attorney General's office in connection with the Sultan of Brunei and Bulog corruption cases; the investigation is not immediately announced to the public.

May 7 President Wahid announces that Bagir Manan will be Chair of the Supreme Court, after a long dispute with the Assembly.

May 8 Megawati, Attorney General Marzuki Darusman, and six other ministers meet with President Wahid in search of an end to the political crisis. (The ministers would become known as the "team of seven".)

May 9 President Wahid denies that he is planning to issue a decree to dissolve the Assembly.

May 10 Justice Muladi retires from the Supreme Court after being passed over for Chairperson. Both Muladi and Bagir Manan were rejected by the Assembly as candidates.

May 10 Bomb explodes at a Jakarta dormitory for students from Aceh, killing 2.

May 11 In a speech at Bengkulu, Megawati calls for an end to the continuing conflicts between branches of government.

May 18 At his swearing-in, Supreme Court Chair Bagir Manan announces that the court will look into charges that the Golkar party has violated the constitution, which could lead to the dissolution of the Golkar party.

May 20 Special cabinet session is held to follow up on the recommendations of the May 8 meetings on the political crisis between the President and the Assembly, which include the possibility of some constitutional duties of the President being delegated to Vice-President Megawati. With rumors spreading that President Wahid might issue a unilateral emergency decree or shuffle the heads of the military, Megawati cancels a trip to Malang and Bali in order to remain in Jakarta. (Neither the decree nor the reshuffle occurs.)

May 25 Amien Rais states that any emergency decrees by the President will be countered by emergency sessions of the Assembly.

May 28 President Wahid decides to move forward with a decree to dissolve the Assembly. Several ministers, police and military chiefs tell the President that they will not support such a decree. At noon, President Wahid issues a decree giving Security Minister Bambang Yudhoyono special powers in emergency situations.

May 29 Demonstration in Pasuruan to support the President and oppose actions of the Assembly turns violent. Peaceful demonstrations are held in Malang and Kediri.

May 29 President Wahid replies to the Assembly's April 30 memorandum in writing, stating that the memorandum "lacked clarity" and that this prevented him from answering the charges fully.

May 30 Seven factions of the Assembly start the process of calling a special session for August 1. Supporters of President Wahid demonstrate outside.

During May, the delivery of the State Budget from the executive branch to the Assembly was delayed several times due to internal disagreements among members of President Wahid's cabinet. The continuing delays caused public works projects to be stalled, and added to the general lack of confidence in the administration.

June 2001

June 1 President Wahid replaces Attorney General Marzuki Darusman and five ministers, including Security Minister Gen. Bambang Yudhoyono. The new Attorney General is Baharuddin Lopa; the new Security Minister is Agum Gumelar. Gen. Yudhoyono had opposed a possible emergency decree by President Wahid.

June 3 One hundred high-ranking police officers issue a statement against politicization of the police force, after President Wahid relieves Gen. Bimantoro from active duty as head of Polri, without consulting the Assembly as required by law.

June 8 South Korea demands immediate repayment of a US$4 million loan to Indonesia.

June 12 President Wahid shuffles his cabinet again, this time rotating his economic ministers.

June 13 IMF representative in Jakarta urges the government to finalize the 2001 budget as soon as possible.

June 13 Justice Department begins an investigation Akbar Tanjung and other Assembly leaders on unspecified charges.

June 13 Several days of demonstrations, some violent, are held in Bandung against recent rulings from the Department of Labor. Other demonstrations are held in Jakarta, Sidoarjo, Batam, and Ujung Pandang. The rulings were on severance pay and other issues.

June 18 The government revokes the passport of Prajogo Pangestu, a Suharto associate under investigation for corruption, while he is under medical treatment in Singapore.

June 18 Golkar Assembly member Nurdin Halid is cross-examined for nine hours at the Attorney General's offices.

June 19 Students demonstrate against rising oil and kerosine prices in Jakarta.

June 20 At a ceremony in Blitar to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sukarno's birth, his daughter Rachmawati Sukarnoputri asks in a speech that the Assembly decree from 1967 that removed Sukarno from power be symbolically annulled. President Wahid and Vice-President Megawati attend; Megawati receives great applause from the crowd.

June 21 President Wahid replaces his Secretary of the Cabinet.

June 22 Two bombs are discovered in provincial offices in Surabaya and disposed of.

June 25 President Wahid leaves on a state visit to Australia and New Zealand.

June 26 Megawati rejects a political compromise with President Wahid on the issue of the Special Session of the Assembly.

June 29 Japan reschedules payment on a significant part of Indonesia's debt to Japan.

June 29 Army reports that 20 rebels were killed in a firefight near Takengon, Aceh.

June 30 Representatives of the Indonesian government and Gerakan Aceh Merdeka meet for closed talks in Switzerland.

Magazine cover showing a bull-riding Megawati "fighting her way back to the Presidential Palace". (The bull was the symbol of the PDI-P party.)

July 2001

July 1 President Wahid makes a sudden appointment of Police Chief Bimantoro to be Ambassador to Malaysia, without approval of the Assembly. Bimantoro declines the appointment, saying that it was never discussed with him before being announced in the media.

July 3 Attorney General Baharuddin Lopa passes away in Saudi Arabia.

July 3 Bills supporting Megawati to be the new President work their way throught the Assembly; a bill supporting a compromise with President Wahid fails.

July 5 IMF team arrives in Jakarta for talks.

July 5 President Wahid appoints Marzuki Darusman to be Cabinet Secretary.

July 9 Five major parties in the Assembly boycott a meeting called by President Wahid at the Presidential Palace in Bogor. President Wahid makes a statement that if the Assembly does not reach a compromise with him by July 20, he will impose a state of emergency, suspend the Assembly, and call for special elections.

July 10 150 police officers in Jakarta gather to air grievances over the replacement of Chief Bimantoro.

July 10 A report on the May 12, 1998 Trisakti shootings is accepted by the Assembly. Students outside the Assembly protest the report for being too lenient.

July 10 Marsillam Simanjuntak is named as the new Attorney General.

July 11 Bomb explodes at a Jakarta toll booth.

July 13 Government signs a Letter of Intent with the IMF in order to release the next IMF loan.

July 13 Former Police Chief Bimantoro is arrested. President Wahid denies that he issued the arrest order.

July 15 Bomb explodes under a freeway bridge in south Jakarta.

July 16 Army and Police leadership states that they are ready to protect the Assembly during a special session.

July 17 Amien Rais states that if President Wahid issues an emergency decree, the Assembly will hold a special session within hours.

July 19 Assembly passes a bill giving greater autonomy to Aceh, including a greater share of oil and gas revenues for the next eight years.

July 19 Ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei meet to discuss how to deal with the worsening problem of smoke and pollution from forest fires set by farmers and loggers in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

July 19 750 armed members of Laskar Jihad arrive at Poso, Sulawesi Tengah. They are greeted by the provincial governor.

July 20 Assembly moves up the opening of the Special Session to hear the issues around President Wahid's performance to the following day, July 21. It had originally been scheduled for August 1. Security and police forces throughout the country go on alert.

July 23 Wahid issues an emergency decree from the Presidential Palace, including suspension of the Assembly and all activities of the Golkar party, and calling for general elections within a year. The military and police ignore the decree, and six cabinet ministers, including Agum Gumelar and Marzuki Darusman, resign.

July 23 The Assembly votes 591 to 0 to remove Wahid from office. Megawati Sukarnoputri is inaugurated as the fifth President of Indonesia. The current cabinet is immediately dismissed.

What were the publicly stated complaints of the Assembly against President Abdurrahman Wahid? Among them were:

  • Actions that worsened the "political situation, security and order of the country" (Assembly members were also concerned about the possibility of an emergency decree or of an unusual call for elections)
  • Replacing the Chief of Police without consulting the Assembly as required
  • Detention and questioning of political opponents
  • Lack of action against movements that were calling for independence for Aceh and Irian Jaya, and to a lesser extent Riau and other areas
  • Lack of action against the terrible social unrest in Ambon, Kalimantan Tengah, and other areas
  • Actions that attempted to dissolve the Golkar party
  • Lack of action to help the failing economy
  • Miscellaneous other lesser violations of Constitutional or Assembly procedures
The original charges against President Wahid relating to the Bulog and Sultan of Brunei corruption cases remained the reason for calling the special session (Sidang Istimewa) of the Assembly.

During mid-July, the competition for the position of Vice-President was already underway, even though President Wahid had not yet been successfully replaced. Golkar chair Akbar Tanjung, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, and Matori Abdul Djalil were among the names frequently mentioned; PPP chair and longtime political figure Hamzah Haz, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Agum Gumelar and Siswono Yudo Husodo became official candidates alongside Tanjung after the official start of Megawati's presidency; Hamzah Haz was the eventual choice for VP.

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