Thu, 18 Aug 1994

Soeharto warns of danger of anarchy

JAKARTA (JP): President Soeharto says Indonesia must move cautiously towards democracy given the nation's huge diversity and brief experience at nation building.

"What we really need is a responsible openness," Soeharto said in his State of the Nation address on Tuesday.

"Our nation is so diverse. The history of our development is still young. This makes us vulnerable, especially against divisive elements," he said in the speech to the House of Representatives and broadcast nationwide.

The speech, in accordance with tradition, was read on the eve of Indonesia's 49th Independence Day, marked each year on Aug. 17.

Like his speech last year, the President hammered home the need for Indonesia to pursue political openness in order to foster democracy, which he called a vital part of the development process. However, he spelled out some of the limitations to the political openness.

"Openness does not mean unlimited freedom, or worse still, the freedom to be hostile, to pit one party against another, or to impose one's ideas on others."

He said differences of opinion are tolerated in Indonesia and people can channel their aspirations through democratic and constitutional means, but that certain rules must be observed.

"Without rules and without their observance, what will emerge is anarchy, not democracy," he said.

Soeharto stressed that political support is vital to the government's development program, and this can only be achieved by securing both political stability and democracy through wider public participation in the nation's decision-making process.

He also signaled that there is room for change in the political system. "Political stability does not mean defending outdated values or preserving the status quo."

Soeharto also used the occasion to provide a rundown of the successes of the recently-completed first long term development program stretching from 1969 to March 31, 1994, and of the challenges ahead in the next 25 years.

He said that the first 25 years saw Indonesia significantly improve the welfare of its people and lay a solid foundation for subsequent development.

Growth rates

Development, he said, has touched all segments of society, most of all the poor people, with the number of people living below the poverty line dropping from 60 percent to 13 percent during the period. In absolute terms, the number declined from 70 million to 25.9 million.

Soeharto said some of the highest economic growth rates in the last five years were recorded in Indonesia's eastern provinces, most notably Southeast Sulawesi which averaged 12.4 percent, East Timor at 9.8 percent, Irian Jaya with 9.7 percent and Central Sulawesi with 9.3 percent.

The following are some of the main statistical figures of the achievements of the last 25 years as presented by Soeharto.

@ Economic growth: The economy grew by an average of 6.8 percent each year during the past 25 years, which is much faster than the 2.32 annual population growth recorded in the 1970s and 1.97 percent in the 1980s. The population is now growing at an even slower 1.66 percent a year.

Economic growth averaged 6.9 percent a year during the Fifth Five Year Plan (Repelita V), which was higher than the five percent targeted.

* Industrial sector: The industrial sector grew by an average of 12.4 percent in the last 25 years. Its contribution to the economy, measured in terms of the Gross Domestic Product, increased from 6.9 percent in 1969 to 22.3 in 1993.

* Agriculture: The agricultural sector grew by an average of 3.6 percent in the last 25 years. The major contribution from the agricultural sector was in making Indonesia self sufficient in rice in 1984. Agriculture's contribution to GDP declined from 49.3 percent in 1969 to 18.5 percent in 1993.

* Export: Indonesia's exports grew 42 fold from $872 million in 1968 to $36.5 billion in 1993/94.

* Education: Today, almost all children between seven and 12 years of age attend primary school, while in 1969, only four out of ten did. Now 2.3 million people attend universities as compared with only 156,000 in 1968.

* Illiteracy: The percentage of people above 10 years of age who are illiterate has declined from 39 percent in 1969 to 14 percent now.

* Life expectancy: The average life expectancy in 1967 was 45.7 years. Now it is 62.7 years.

Debate -- Page 2

Speech -- Page 5