The Suharto Dictatorship and The Salim Group

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The following are excerpts from Chopping The Global Tentacles of The Suharto Oligarchy by Dr. George J. Aditjondro. This article was presented at the conference Towards Democracy in Indonesia, at the University of Auckland, 2000 April 1. The author is a sociologist and a well-known critic of the Suharto dictatorship.

“…Suharto must have intentionally involved so many of his civilian and military co-workers in his family businesses, and thereby created an oligarchy, where most of his closest confidants were also tainted with various forms of corruption…”

“Even family members of Ret. General Benny Murdani, who was sacked from his post as armed forces commander in the early 1990s for criticizing the president’s children’s business appetite has three brothers involved companies close to the Suharto family. One of them, Harry Murdani, is a co-shareholder in the integrated crocodile farm-piggery-and-orchid farm of PT Sinar Culindo Perkasa on Bulan Island near Singapore, with Anthony Salim, Tommy Suharto, and Timmy Habibie. Two other brothers, Henricus Sandy Murdani and Ir. A. Mudjono Murdani, are involved in PT Kodeco Batulicin Plywood in South Kalimantan. This Indo-Korean joint venture has formed a cement factory with the Salim Group to supply power to the plywood factory. Furthermore, Mudjono Murdani is also involved in PT Cipta Teknik Abadi, a palm oil exporter which is co-owned by the family of Ret. General Yoga Sugama, former intelligence chief whose wife is related to the late Mrs. Tien Suharto.”

“Thus we see how systematically Suharto formed his oligarchy during his 32-years of tenure as Indonesia’s president, which eventually functioned as his ‘insurance’ after his political downfall. Too many heads may roll, if Suharto is taken to court, and he definitely knows that…”

“In the second decade of Suharto’s power, Suharto relatives and cronies began to set up overseas-based companies, where they could invest the capital accumulated domestically. The largest of these companies is the First Pacific Group, which was set up in Hong Kong by Liem Sioe Liong in 1991 but listed in Liberia. The Suharto family is represented in this group by Sudwikatmono, Suharto’s cousin and half-brother, who also represents the Suharto family interests in the Salim Group, the domestic business enterprise of Liem Sioe Liong and the Suharto family…”

“Later, after the First Pacific Group had evolved into an international conglomerate, with total assets of US$ 11.38 billion profits after taxation of US$ 427.5 million in 1998, the Suharto children themselves began to set up their overseas business empires in oil and gas marketing (Bambang & Tommy), as well as toll roads (Tutut).”