Adam Malik looks at key questions in his country's political future
Jakarta — On a successor to Suharto: The same question was asked many years back when Sukarno left the scene: Will Indonesia disintegrate? It did not. At the right moment, a leadership arose. We don't think that ought to be a problem that should occupy our minds. . . . Requirements for growth of the country will dictate what kind of leader we will get. In the advanced countries of the West, it is easier to predict because the system allows early canadidacy. In a developing country like ours, it is more difficult to predict. But the process is there for regeneration. . . . It will crystallize in the last minute.
As democracy grows, it becomes easier to gauge what the people really want. We will really have to take into consideration what they think.
On the Army's role: Our armed forces have a dual function, social and military. They cannot participate in elections, nor can they neglect them. Their participation is provided for in parliament to have appointed members. Constitutionally speaking, that is the extent of their participation. But there are aspects in which they participate as ex-military men or as groupings.. . . In a developing country, the elective process does not necessarily ensure justice and representation. As our democracy matures, there will be less and less room for excesses in misrepresentation. We will move more and more toward a true balance of what the armed forces participation should be.. . . For now, the Army remains quite strong.
On village politics: For many years we thought that the people at the low village level ought not to be involved in between elections with practical, day-to-day politics, which can only distract from their own activities. They are not fully aware anyway, and they are liable to be used by political parties. We believe in progress and someday we will reach the point where they will be involved. It's better not to predict. In the past, politicization at that level had disasters.
On transfer of power to new generation: We of the ''generation of 1945'' (independence) have a duty to at least transfer the values that have served us well. In this process, there are misconceptions on both sides. The ''45 generation'' should not believe that the younger generation (of military leaders) can just be carbon copies. On the part of the younger generation, there is an attitude of either total rejection of values from our group or a kind of indifference to political beliefs that have been held very important.
They forget that a long struggle has gone before them, a lot of sacrifice. If this spirit is not kept . . . things will not come easily.
On a freer press: As far as I am concerned, the press ought to be more critical in Indonesia.. . . For a government to be strong, it should realize that it should have a critical press in order to know what is alive in society, its complaints and misgivings, not only praise for what is done, but also what is wrong.. . . On the other hand, it must be a healthy press, and not a yellow press or one that is in opposition for opposition's sake.
On the next five-year plan (1984-1988): The plan will move Indonesia toward its industrialization phase. We have reached a stage where the achievements of agriculture can be used to absorb the ever-growing manpower. Unemployment is one of our biggest dangers. If we cannot resolve that problem, it will pose one of the greatest challenges to us. In the end, it will a political problem.
On official corruption: In the last five years . . . what we have tried to do is not apprehend individual culprits, but lay down a system that would make corruption increasingly more difficult to do -- by removing the possibilities for corruption, through rationalization and simplification of licenses and procedures. We have made substantial progress, but of course corruption is still there. It will hinder development if we allow it to flourish in vital areas, such as teaching, the Finance Ministry, and Pertamina (the national oil company) , we have raised salaries. If people earn more, there is less likelihood they will be corrupted.