Thu, 23 Nov 2000

Indonesia in danger of collapsing: Lemhannas

JAKARTA (JP): National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas), a think tank institution that conducts in-depth studies on national resilience, warned on Wednesday that Indonesia could collapse if no actions were taken to defuse the prolonged economic and political instability.

"We see several indications of a nation in the process of collapsing: the economic crisis entangling the nation remains unabated, political elites blaming each other and disharmony among the people has become common," Lt. Gen. Johny J. Lumintang, Lemhannas governor, told a hearing of the House of Representatives's Commission I for defense, security and foreign affairs.

Johny said that theoretically, the breakup of a nation was triggered by prolonged economic crisis, political instability, national disintegration, demoralization of soldiers and international intervention.

"So, the nation's disintegration is coming close to reality unless a national consolidation and necessary repairs are made. The national resilience has reached an alarming level," he said.

The new reform era, Johny said, has, to some extent, weakened the nation's resilience as political elite and their supporters are trapped in a euphoria which apparently has gone uncontrolled.

According to him, the situation of the nation's poor had a lot to do with the choice of a security approach instead of a social welfare approach in national resilience development in the past.

"To be consistent with the national resilience concept, the defense and security development should be balanced with the socioeconomic and sociopolitical development. It's useless to develop a strong defense and security system to maintain political stability if the people are plagued by an economic crisis" he said.

Johny said Lemhannas has carried out regular education and training programs to prepare national leader cadre and has conducted in-depth studies on major problems the nation is facing.

Lemhannas has regularly carried out short and long courses for government and military officials and senior executives from the private sector in its mission to improve their horizons in various fields, he said.

"Lemhannas has also organized a series of seminars and workshops, the results of which have been presented to the government to help it solve major problems confronting the nation," he said. The topics are varied, including reformulation of the state format, national identity, regional autonomy and settlement to conflicts among political elite in several regions.

Asked about solutions offered by Lemhannas to help solve the disintegration threat, Johny said the government and the legislature should focus on making regulations which are intended to free the nation from the economic crisis.

Concerning the conflict among political elites, he said national leaders should leave their own interests behind and sit down together to seek solutions to all problems plaguing the nation.

He said that in facing the disharmony, national consolidation was needed to prevent the reform euphoria from trespassing the law.

"The political elite should hold dialogs to uphold legal certainty and to avoid anarchistic actions among their respective supporters," he said.

He said a law was also needed to enable security personnel to take strict measures against actions and movements threatening national integration. (rms)