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Farewell, Pak Harto!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono lead the state funeral of former President Haji Muhammad Suharto. "We have lost one of the best people in our nation - a person who was a real and loyal fighter and a person that has been respectful to the nation," said Mr Yudhoyono.

Suharto died on Sunday in Jakarta at the age of 86 after suffering multiple organ failure. The Indonesian government has also declared seven days of mourning for the general who ruled Indonesia for 32 years with an iron fist.

Dignitaries and regional government representatives are scheduled to attend Suharto's funeral at the family mausoleum, the Astana Giri Bangun, at Karangamnyar near Solo in Central Java.

Though he left a mixed legacy, especially a dubious human rights record, Asian leaders praised Suharto for having built the Indonesian economy.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has extended his heartfelt condolences to the Suharto family and the Indonesian people.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo noted Suharto's critical role in building the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has grown into a 10-country bloc and increased the region's influence in global politics.

''As one of the founding fathers of ASEAN, President Suharto was among those who had the pioneering vision of establishing a more peaceful, progressive and prosperous Southeast Asian region founded on respect and understanding,'' Arroyo said in a statement.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong flew to Jakarta on Sunday night and paid respect to the late Indonesian leader, saying, ''Suharto's leadership, vision, and statesmanship enabled all ASEAN countries to grow and prosper in peace, and made ASEAN a respected player in the Asia Pacific.''

"Younger people do not know how disastrous was the economic situation in Indonesia before September 1965 when hyper-inflation was drowning Indonesia's economy," Lee Kuan Yew said in a condolence letter to Suharto's daughter.

"Under Pak Harto's leadership he turned the country around and made Indonesia an economic success story," he wrote.

Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in his condolence letter summed it up in these words, "I have no doubt that history will accord Pak Suharto a place of honour in Indonesia's history when his life's work is studied in calm perspective.

Indonesia's President Bambang (centre) and his wife (left) were among early mourners at the Suharto home in Jakarta.

Indonesian President Yudhoyono gives the national flag to Siti Hardianti Rukmana, the daughter of former leader Suharto

Bambang Trihatmojo, a son of former Indonesian President Suharto, holds his father during the burial ceremony

Cemetery workers use a bamboo pole to lower the coffin at Astana Giribangun cemetery in Karang Anyar,Central Java.
Children of former Indonesian President Suharto scatter flowers on the coffin during the burial ceremony

(photos: Channel News Asia)

1 comment:

Charlie -Denith- Samsokrith said...

I think he has been to Cambodia one. I forgot the date and the purpose.