Sat, 13 Mar 1999

Moral commitment

Towards the general election slated for early June 1999, many of our fellow countrymen, whether of Chinese origin or not, and aliens, are getting ready to leave the country. Besides, many companies, both national and foreign, have postponed new investments and business expansion. There is fear, therefore, that the country's economic activities, now proceeding only with difficulty, will shortly come to a complete standstill.

People are worried that toward the general election -- particularly during the campaigning period and on voting day -- incidents like those now going on in Ambon will break out in major cities across the country. In short, the situation in the run up to the general election is felt to be both very uncertain and frightening.

To foster optimism and a little confidence that the upcoming polls will proceed safely and peacefully, I wish to propose that the Minister of Home Affairs, the Commander of the Armed Forces and general chairpersons of political parties -- whether taking part in the upcoming election or not -- sign a sort of a joint public statement that the 1999 general election will proceed safely and peacefully. It will be even better if this joint statement also gives a "guarantee" along those lines.

In the light of such a statement, all social forces will be morally committed to doing their best to ensure that the general election proceeds safely and peacefully. It will inspire greater optimism and confidence on the part of the community.

Consequently, the community will be bolstered to participate in monitoring the organization of the election in order to ensure that it is safe, peaceful, honest, fair and transparent. God willing!