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ChangesandRelaxationinMultiEthnicSociety: IndonesianExperience1

BacharuddinJusufHabibie2 In order to reduce to risks of social change, leaders will always attempt to implement change incrementally, steadily and in phases. Social change is meant to an evolution, which includes changes or development of social freedom, as the essence of the process of democracy. After more than half a century of independence (1945 1998), Indonesians demanded a change of government, and a radical and fundamental change in social justice. And many were prepared to have those changes occur through violence or even armed conflict. The demands for change started simultaneously in several strategic spots in several cities through mass demonstrations that involved all levels of society. These mass demonstrations multiplied in numbers and groups and many mobilized by all forces of the opposition who were originally on opposing sides. They all united in force against the current rulers. If all of the opposition groups united and synergized with the interests and powers from outside of Indonesia, there would most likely have been a revolution or a radical and anarchic change. A revolution could have given way to a radical and fundamental change in the constitution. There were even parties who called for a completely new constitution which will give birth to small new nations. This would have the potential for a complete fragmentation of the whole nation and civil wars that will clearly cause suffering for the people. The Indonesian Maritime Continent which has been a peaceful state could become a crisis state which in turn would have a major effect on regional stability, including the ASEAN nations. The cost of a revolution would most certainly be much greater than the cost of an evolution because of the uncertainties that it creates. To prevent a revolution, demands from the people must be met without

1PresentedatGlobalPolicyForum2011,YaroslovlRussia,2011 2FormerPresidentoftheRepublicofIndonesia

sacrificing the historical ties of the Indonesian people as a Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Major and fundamental changes need to be implemented, existing laws should be reinforced with the Decrees of the Special Assembly of the Peoples Consultative Assembly (SI-MPR) and if necessary through Constitutional Amendments to the 1945 Constitution. These changes needed to be done immediately. The rapid, radical and fundamental changes done within the legal corridors or what can be considered as an accelerated evolution were easier to predict, hence the costs were considerably lower in terms of material costs and human lives. These fundamental and radical changes need to be done strategically, steadily, and rapidly. 1 How are they implemented? 2 How are they controlled? 3 How are they evaluated? 1. How are the implemented? Immediately provide a legal basis for all the activities that are considered constitutional and is not deemed criminal: Freedom to demonstrate Freedom to criticize and express opinions Freedom of speech Freedom of assembly Freedom of the press both print and electronic. Freedom to establish political organizations, organizations and non-governmental organizations Providing amnesty to all political prisoners.


These simultaneous and rapid acts help ease the political and social tensions without undermining the necessary dynamics needed to implement change. The process that is illustrated can be considered as the Process of Relaxation. With the start of the relaxation process, the accelerated evolution can thus be implemented rapidly. This creates an environment that is clearer, calculated with a minimum socio-economic cost and minimum

casualties. 2. How is it controlled? With the accelerated evolution and relaxation process, ties between and within the opposition which can often be tense can naturally become incompatible. This will in turn weaken their unity against the ruling powers. With the accelerated evolution and relaxation, changes can be implemented in a rational and reasonable manner. Risks can be calculated, and the socio-economic costs can be reduced. This momentum must be retained and maximized immediately to resolve the socio-economic situation that is demanded by the public. After freedom of press was granted, more people could participate as references in media and influence the accelerated changes in policy. Not only could the public accept and provide information rapidly, but they can also evaluate the quality of the information themselves. Step by step society becomes more transparent. Mistakes can be avoided and quality and productivity of public officials can be improved. The number and quality of democratic institutions will increase and transparently consolidate and will play an active role in realizing the fundamental and radical changes. This will be possible with the understanding of the legal framework and the adoption of new laws and policies that will allow the public to be free from fear, but still remain civilized and controlled. 3. How is it evaluated? How the process is evaluated comes back to the public who are free, responsible, civilized and free from fear. To the regional governments, autonomy is granted that is in line with the constitution. The number and quality of democratic institutions in the provinces has to synchronize with the development of democratic institutions in the Central government which also has to be based on the existing legal framework. The press that is free, civilized and responsible need also to be guided

and increased in their roles as the media of information to the public. Their survival should depend on the publics evaluation or according to the market. Those that are not of good quality would perish in a market that prioritizes national interests. The government has to be sure that the power remains in the hands of the people and the people must realize that with that power comes civic responsibilities. The implementation of these thoughts on changes and relaxation can be found in my paper that I have presented at the Plenary Session of the Global Policy Forum 2011 3 and in my book Decisive Moments. Indonesias Long Way to Democracy4. Indonesias Experience In the application of these thoughts and policies, the problem that arises is how to quantify and measure the determining and dominant variables; such as: Freedom of assembly, Freedom of speech, Freedom of expression, and Freedom from discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity. People are given the same opportunities to play a role in solving the nations problems, and have the same rights to elect and be elected and the right to an objective and just legal system, the role of regional governments, regional parliament and the role of political parties both at the local level and central. At the very least, all the issues that are the basic characteristics of a democratic society can be divided into three groups: 1 2 3 Public Government Democratic Institutions

To quantify the first group, we can add additional criteria, for example: the number of demonstrations over a period of time and how the demonstrations were conducted. Was there an escalation in numbers? Were there any clashes or conflicts? How many occurrences? For the second group, the additional criteria could be added, for example: how many times were demonstrations prohibited from taking

3BacharuddinJusufHabibie,DemocracyinMultiEthnicSociety: 4BJHabibie,DecisiveMoments.IndonesiasLongWaystoDemocracy,



place? What were the reasons for prohibiting? Were the prohibitions based on any laws or regulations? How many times were there clashes between the demonstrators and the police? Was there an escalation in violence? What were the results? Etc. As for the third group, the quantified variables include the violations with regard to political parties, civil society organizations and mass organizations. Were any laws violated? Were there any political clashes within the community or was it limited to the regional parliament? How many times were there clashes? Etc. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) along with the National Planning Board (BAPPENAS) and Regional Planning Board (BAPPEDA) systematically and intensively conducted a study and developed a new parameter that makes it possible to quantify the level of democratization in Indonesia. They have done this by introducing the Indonesian Democratic Index (IDI)5. Below are some of the results: National Index:











DemokrasiIndonesia2009:MenakarDemokrasidiIndonesia, Jakarta,2010

FreedomofAssembly FreedomofReligion FreedomfromDiscrimination FreedomofExpression 91.44 90.67 88.92 83.97

PoliticalParticipation:DecisionMaking&Control RighttoVoteandBeVoted

55.16 50.05

IndependentJudiciary RoleofLocalGovernment FreeandFairElections RoleofLocalLegislative RoleofPoliticalParties 19.29 38.03

90.53 88.58 87.67

Provincial Index: The UNDP also established the Indonesian Democratic Index for all 33 Provinces in Indonesia. This index done in 33 provinces provides an interestingillustration. ProvinceDemocraticIndex:theHighestandtheLowestScores Democratic OverallIndex CivilLiberties PoliticalRights Institution Province Index Index Index
CentralKalimantan (Highetsscoreof DemocraticIndex) WestNusaTenggara (Lowetsscoreof DemocraticIndex)

77.63 58.12

98.45 68.05

60.50 47.50

78.69 62.48

FourProvinceswithHighestScoreofDemocraticIndex(overall): CentralKalimantan :77.63 Riau :75.85 Jakarta :73.91 RiauIslands :73.61 FourProvinceswithLowestScoreofDemocraticIndex(overall): WestNusaTenggara :58.12 NorthSumatera :60.20 WestSumatera :60.29 SouthSulawesi :61.48 FourProvinceswithHighestScoreofSivilLibertiesIndex: CentralSulawesi :98.51 CentralKalimantan :98.45 WestKalimantan :98.29 EastKalimantan :98.22 FourProvinceswithLowestScoreofSivilLibertiesIndex: WestSumatera :63.06 Aceh :64.42 WestNusaTenggara :68.05 SouthKalimantan :68.24 FourProvinceswithHighestScoreofPoliticalRightsIndex: Aceh :70.39 WestJava :68.48 Riau :65.40 SouthKalimantan :62.63 FourProvinceswithLowestScoreofPoliticalRightsIndex: WestPapua :37.69 NorthSumatera :41.26 SouthSulawesi :42.36 Papua :43.84

FourProvinceswithHighestScoreofDemocraticInstitutionsIndex: CentralKalimantan :86.09 Riau :78.63 Jakarta :73.24 RiauIslands :73.43 FourProvinceswithLowestScoreofDemocraticInstitutionsIndex: WestNusaTenggara :44.70 NorthSumatera :54.64 WestSumatera :56.61 SouthSulawesi :57.14 Fromthedataontheprovinceswiththehighestandlowestscoreswecan deriveaninterestinganalysis.Theprovinceswiththehighestscoreonthe Indonesian Democracy Index (IDI), are provinces that do not have any problems with regards to race, religion, ethnicity and inter group discrimination.MeanwhilethosewiththelowestscoresontheIDIarethose provinces which have problems race, religion, ethnicity, and intergroup discrimination. However,theUNDPsevaluationbasedontheIndonesianDemocracyIndex both at national level and provincial level, has found that in general they canbeclassifiedasgood.