Mon, 22 Mar 1999

Abdurrahman Wahid to meet Lee Kuan Yew

JAKARTA (JP): Noted Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid is scheduled to visit Singapore on Tuesday to meet senior minister Lee Kuan Yew, a Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) executive, M. Fajrul Falaakh, said over the weekend.

Fajrul said that during his Singaporean trip NU chairman Abdurrahman, widely known as Gus Dur, was expected to speak at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, the same institution which recently received the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) chairwoman, Megawati Soekarnoputri.

"Gus Dur will meet Lee Kuan Yew to talk about the current development in Indonesia, his wish to help the nation cope with the present problems and improve relationship between Indonesia and Singapore," Fajrul told The Jakarta Post.

On Sunday the Kompas daily quoted Abdurrahman as saying that he would no longer meet former president Soeharto. His much criticized meetings, he has said, was aimed to coax Soeharto to reign in his loyalists who he believed incited current widespread violence. But violence has continued. "There are limits to my patience, I no longer see any use in coaxing him," he said.

In January, Abdurrahman asked former Singapore prime minister Lee to become an international adviser with the National Commission for Truth-Seeking and Reconciliation. Abdurrahman delivered his request through Singaporean envoy Edward Lee.

Abdurrahman, who leads the 35-million-strong Muslim organization, has solicited international support for his planned commission. Among the world leaders he has nominated to sit on the team are Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Oscar Arias Sanchez and Jimmy Carter.

He also plans to involve domestic figures, including Yogyakarta Governor Hamengkubuwono X, Megawati, Julius Kardinal Darmaatmadja of the Indonesian Bishops Council and JM Pattiasina of the Indonesian Communion of Churches.

Abdurrahman has yet to inaugurate the commission, which was originally scheduled to be operational by the end of February.

The commission would address concerns over the many rights abuse cases that have gone unsolved for years.

The team, once established, will be assigned to uncover the truth of the cases and foster reconciliation among the parties involved. (edt)