Indonesia. 1997 was another difficult year for
76-year-old President Suharto. Severe ethnic unrest, with a
backdrop in the state migration program, shook the province
of Western Kalimantan on Borneo at the beginning of the
year. The province's urinals, the Dayaks, attacked Muslims
from the island of Madura. Up to 300 settlers may have been
killed before the riots subsided, and thousands fled back to
Madura. July 1996. Four other PRD people also received the
long prison sentences. The judges were interpreted as a
signal to the opposition that protests during the election
would not pay off.
Countryaah, the state-carrying corporate Golkar increased from 68 to
74% and received 325 of the 425 elected parliament seats.
Most of the remaining seats went to the moderate Muslim PPP,
while Indonesia's Democratic Party PDI, whose popular leader
Megawati Sukarnoputri was ousted by the government in 1996,
was almost wiped out. An additional 75 members were
appointed by the President in person.
After many years of rapid economic growth, Indonesia in the
autumn was hit hard by the same crisis as other East Asian
"tiger economies". The reverse of growth was a foreign debt
of almost SEK 800 billion. and an insufficient currency
reserve that weakened its own currency, rupiah, and
subjected it to speculation. The government's attempt to
maintain the value of the rupiah through support purchases
failed, and when the currency was allowed to flow freely in
August, it lost a third of its value in a short time. The
International Monetary Fund and other lenders moved in with
a support package, valued at between SEK 200 and 300
billion, but the government was forced to close a number of
bad banks, abolish a number of commodity monopolies and
price controls and reduce import duties.
Indonesia was hit in the autumn by an environmental
disaster which was also linked to the rapid economic
expansion. Severe forest fires, triggered by illegal burning
of fires, spread mainly over Sumatra and Borneo and covered
parts of Southeast Asia throughout the autumn with unhealthy
smoke clouds. Foremost was forest companies and plantation
owners who burned down forest and bush land to quickly clear
new land. The fact that the burning of the fire had such
catastrophic consequences was due to an unusually intense
The fact that the forest companies were not stopped was
considered, among other things. depend on the president's
family's great interests in the industry. The smoke is
believed to have directly or indirectly caused nearly 500
people's death. The long-term health effects were unknown.
The drought is also estimated to have claimed about 500
human lives in the province of Irian Jaya in New Guinea,
where much of this year's crop was destroyed.
Occasional riots occurred in occupied East Timor. During
a state visit, South African President Nelson Mandela was
allowed to meet incarcerated East Timorese leader Xanana
Gusmão and offered to host peace talks between the
government and East Timorese guerrillas.