Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Soeharto goes into deep relapse: Aide

JAKARTA (JP): Doctors and family members gathered around former president Soeharto's bedside on Monday when he went into a deep relapse prompting fears of a worsening health condition.

Five doctors, instead of the usual two, were on standby at Soeharto's residence on Jl. Cendana in Central Jakarta, and at least three of his six children also were present.

However, at about 11 p.m., some 12 hours after the initial scare, the 79-year-old former president was said to be conscious and in stable condition.

"His condition has improved. This situation has happened several times since his stroke," Anton Tabah, Soeharto's private secretary, told The Jakarta Post on Monday night.

"Because his condition deteriorated this morning he is being seen to by five doctors from Gatot Subroto Army Hospital," he said, adding that there was no need for him to be treated in the hospital.

Soeharto, however, is still being given oxygen.

There was no official medical prognosis, but Anton said the former president remained conscious despite having some difficulty breathing.

Soeharto has suffered several strokes in recent years.

According to Anton, only Soeharto's daughter Siti Hedijati Hariyadi and his son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, who is currently being sought by the police, were not at Soeharto's bedside.

However, Soeharto's lawyer Juan Felix Tampubolon said at about 11:15 p.m. that the former president's son Sigit Harjojudanto also was not present.

When Anton was asked if Tommy knew of his father's condition, he replied: "We don't know where he is, so how can we tell him?"

Anton also said Soeharto had not been informed about Tommy's situation. "Pak Harto asked about Tommy on Sunday because he did not see Tommy at the last two Friday prayers." (bby)