ad info

 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

NOVEMBER 5, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 44

I N D O N E S I A:
Andi Mallarangeng
Emmy Hafild

Andi Mallarangeng
Born 1963
A new breed of politicians and activists are ready to break the shackles of the past, here listed by country:

The People Power Century
Combining idealism and pragmatic political instincts, these leaders are repudiating politics-as-usual

Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying

India Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Chandrababu Naidu

Indonesia Andi Mallarangeng, Munir, and Emmy Hafild

Japan Noda Seiko, Shii Kazuo and Watanabe Yoshimi

Malaysia Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and Lim Guan Eng

Philippines Manuel Roxas II and Michael Defensor

Singapore Teo Chee Hean and George Yeo

South Korea Choo Mi Ae, Kim Min Seok and Nam Kyung Pil

Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian

Thailand Chaturon Chaisang and Abhisit Vejjajiva

Business & Finance
Journeying Beyond the Crisis
Born amidst unparalleled prosperity and tempered by adversity, a new generation of business leaders is poised to take the region to new levels of success in banking, commerce and industry

Kemal Jufri for Asiaweek

Andi Mallarangeng burst onto the political scene when he was asked to help draft new election laws. Since then he has become a leading architect of Indonesian democracy. Mallarangeng seems ideally suited to the job; he did a doctoral thesis at Northern Illinois University on Indonesian electoral behavior, and he teaches politics at Hasanuddin University in Sulawesi. After helping write the electoral laws - and having many of his ideas rejected - he was invited to sit on the General Election Committee. Finally, the theoretical democrat had a ringside seat on a real electoral process. It wasn't always a pretty sight. Mallarangeng's main role was to adjudicate feuds between the various parties, who, immediately after the June national elections, were all clamoring for parliamentary seats, no matter how few votes they had won. At one point, eleven committee members walked out after Mallarangeng and a like-minded colleague said that parties with less than 2% of the vote should be disqualified from the next poll. He also criticized committee members for demanding big salaries. No, the Sulawesi-born idealist does not pull his punches. Mallarangeng says the resistance came from people whose political fortunes were at stake, from people who don't understand democracy, and from those who see elections as a Western concept. Mallarangeng, 36, notes that elected village chiefs are a venerable tradition in Java and that the Indonesian republic is itself a Western construct. Besides, he believes there is no way anyone can turn back the democratic clock in Indonesia. "People are becoming aware that this country does not still belong to their ancestors," he says. "They realize government should be their representative and work to create better lives for them."

Born 1965

Kemal Jufri for Asiaweek

He became radicalized during the 1980s as a law student doing a thesis on labor issues. As part of his research Munir interviewed poor workers in and around his hometown of Malang in East Java. But as he went from house to house and witnessed firsthand the trials of Indonesia's under-class, his interest became more than merely academic. A year later, Munir started volunteering at the Surabaya office of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation. LBH, as it is known in Indonesian, is a leading advocacy group for the poor and helpless. Working for LBH was mortally dangerous during the Suharto era. But Munir was convinced that the strongman's excesses would not be tolerated forever.

In 1996, he went to work at LBH's head office in Jakarta - just in time for the bloody military takeover of Megawati Sukarnoputri's party headquarters. Munir began shifting his focus from wage and labor issues to state violence. LBH and other non-governmental groups formed a human-rights watch organization for the 1997 parliamentary elections, which later became the now-famous KONTRAS (Indonesian acronym for Commission on Missing Persons and Victims of Violence).

About the time of the elections, pro-democracy activists started going missing, and KONTRAS began aggressively exposing the cases and fighting to resolve them. Munir says he and fellow activists were zealous because some of their own people had been taken - picked up outside the LBH office in central Jakarta. KONTRASsent "political education" teams onto campuses to raise consciousness about the military's dual-function and state violence. By the time Suharto resigned in May 1998, local and international outrage had grown to the point that Munir reckoned heads would have to roll. In December 1998 they did: 11 Special Forces (Kopassus) soldiers involved in the abduction of activists were court-martialled. Their superiors had earlier been discharged from the armed forces.

Munir's goal is to end Indonesians' passive acceptance of military power. "This is an obstacle to democratization," he says. Even though the military seems to be in retreat, Munir, 33, contends that the benefits are being felt only in the capital. In the provinces, he says, the military bureaucracy is intact and soldiers continue to victimize poor farmers and laborers. Munir intends to keep up the pressure.

Kemal Jufri for Asiaweek
"Those who are brave enough to speak out in the face of death inspire the courage of others," says Pius Lustrilanang, an activist who was kidnapped and tortured. "This is the most important contribution Munir has made in the struggle to uncover violent acts by the state." If anyone doubts Munir's commitment to the cause, consider the name he chose for his first child: Sulhtan Alif Alendee. The handle honors two of Munir's idols. The first two names stand for the Prophet Muhammad, who tried to create a civil society by emancipating the slaves. The last name is a play on Salvador Allende, the Chilean democracy leader.

Emmy Hafild
When she became an activist in the 1980s, Emmy Hafild focused on conservation. Among other things, her Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) convinced the World Bank to halt loans for the transmigration program under which Javanese were sent to less populated provinces. Having realized that green campaigns could not fully succeed without changing the political environment, Walhi joined the democracy movement. Today Hafild is among those who want the international community to renegotiate Indonesia's public foreign debt. "We need a grace period before we take liberalization faster." Another goal: perfecting autonomy at the provincial level. "In the past we were reluctant to work within the system." Now, says Hafild, "we have to make use of the current parliament, as the basis of moving forward." When she is not fighting the powers-that-be, Hafild, 41, indulges her favorite hobby -- what else? -- enjoying the outdoors.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


Quick Scroll: More stories and related stories
Asiaweek Newsmap: Get the week's leading news stories, by region, from Newsmap


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.