Mon, 10 Apr 2000

Reconciliation crucial for Indonesia, says sociologist

SEMARANG (JP): Reconciliation is crucial for the nation to rebuild trust among its people, political observer Daniel Sparingga said on Saturday.

"Everybody must be assured that the ideal to help build a better life for people in the country, including the next generation, can be fulfilled," Daniel, a sociologist of Surabaya- based Airlangga University, said.

He said reconciliation would be the best formula for the current government to bring prosperity to its people should the past stand between people and the goal.

"Despite the uncertainty, people are becoming more and more confident that democracy can lead the country to be a wealthy state," Daniel told a seminar at the fourth Rectors' Forum meeting here.

He said the difficult situation emerged because the country failed to properly address the problems generated from the past.

"The endless argument and our inability to find the best formula to get rid of the old problems relating to human rights make all the efforts to face the future challenges useless," he said.

Daniel first voiced his reconciliation idea in Surabaya in February.

He said Indonesia could make South Africa, with its truth and reconciliation commission, its model on how to deal with past mistakes inherited by the previous regime.

"We are obliged to support the concept. President Abdurrahman Wahid alone is not able to handle all the problems. A positive response from the leaders, including the House of Representatives (DPR) and the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speakers and the people are needed," he said.

The other speaker at the seminar, Satjipto Rahardjo, agreed to the reconciliation plan.

Satjipto, a member of the National Commission on Human Rights, said reconciliation would be the way out for the nation to channel sociopolitical demands which had piled up for years.

"With a good reconciliation concept, cases which are still possible to be settled legally would be brought to court. (But) enigmatic problems would be dealt with by the commission," Satjipto, who is also a professor at the Diponegoro University in Semarang, said.

The Rectors' Forum meeting wrapped up on Saturday with participants declaring their support for national integration.

In their statement, they agreed to optimize the role of state and private universities in enhancing national integration.

The Forum also demanded that the government improve the quality of national education and allocate sufficient funds in the state budget to improve national education. (har/sur)