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Defense Minister’s breakthrough to modernize the country’s Alpalhankam

Dr. Fadli Zon, MSc. Gerindra Party Deputy Chairman and mem- ber of the House’s Commission I

IO – The currently-circulating Presidential Regulation draft on the fulfillment of Indonesia’s defense equipment and security tools (alpalhankam) need for the 2020-2044 period has been misunderstood in many ways. Many commentators quickly jumped to the conclusion that the strategic plan is too “ambitious” and “insensitive to the current crisis we are experiencing.” 

In my view, there are three sources of misunderstanding. First, people only see the total budget, which totals Rp1,760 trillion, without paying attention to the scheme. Second, people forget that this is a strategic project spanning twenty-five years. And third, people also forget that this is a mere draft of the government’s plan. 

Moreover, many people also seem unaware that we are currently in the final stage of the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) program, which started in 2009, to modernize our defense forces over three phases—Phase I (2009-2014), Phase II (2014-2019), and Phase III (2019-2024). 

In each phase, the government intends to set aside a budget of about Rp150 trillion for defense equipment. So, on average it would come to Rp30 trillion per annum. As this program will end in 2024, it is quite reasonable that the government would draft a new strategic program as a continuation of MEF. 

That is the rationale behind the drafting of Presidential Regulation on alpalhankam

As we all know, the implementation of the MEF wasn’t as smooth as planned. Based on the Defense Ministry data, as of October 2020 the Indonesian Army only has 77% of the minimum essential force it needs, while the Navy 67.57% and Air Force 45.19%. Based on a rough calculation, if we stay with the current budgeting model, MEF won’t be fully fulfilled in 2024. So, we need a new plan. 

I would argue that Defense Ministry’s plan to consolidate a 25-year defense budget allocation to fulfill the country’s alpalhankam needs is a breakthrough and the solution to accelerate the modernization of TNI’s primary weapons. There are at least three reasons why we need to support this plan. 

First, this breakthrough will accelerate the modernization of alpalhankam. I am sure we all agree that our defense equipment is not just lacking in quantity, but also quality (70% aged or obsolete). Indeed, a major cause suspected to be behind the sunken KRI Nanggala 402 was its old age. So far, a large portion of TNI’s budget has been spent on servicing and maintaining defense and security equipment that are no longer fit for use. 

Secondly, budget-wise, consolidating the 25-year defense budget allocation can increase the defense and security procurement capacity more comprehensively. In addition to quickly raise Indonesia’s bargaining position, I think this method is also more efficient compared to if the procurement is carried out separately and partially. 

Measured against the 2020 GDP, which amounted to Rp15,434.2 trillion, this scheme only accounts for 0.6-0.7% annually. In fact, if we refer to the MEF document, ideally our defense budget allocation should have reached 1.5% of GDP since MEF phase II (2014-2019). 

So, don’t just look at the Rp1,760 trillion as a lump sum, but also look at the percentage of our GDP for the next 25 years. 

Third, this plan is a continuation of the MEF program, which is currently in phase III. Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is facing threefold challenges in regard to MEF. First, he must seek ways to fulfill MEF. Second, he has to accept the reality that our defense budget is currently constrained by the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. And third, he must be able to offer a new strategic plan to continue the MEF. So, like it or not, he has to come up with a breakthrough, not “business as usual”. The Presidential Regulation draft on alpalhankam is the answer. 

Over the past year, I have personally seen the Defense Ministry’s Gede Sandra Bung Karno University Economic Analyst seriousness and comprehensive efforts to accelerate the fulfilment of MEF. For example, they have reevaluated defense cooperation contracts that were deemed inefficient, opened up window of cooperation with various countries so that we are not dependent on a single country, and lastly, they have also strived to beef up the national defense industry. So, the steps taken by the Defense Ministry have been no less comprehensive. We urgently need to make key breakthroughs to have a strong national defense system in less the time it would normally take. 

Other than the things I have mentioned above, I concur that this grand plan certainly still has to be refined and finalized together with the Parliament. 

Banapeel, breast cancer screening products from Unair students

Faculty of Nursing Unair team that succeeded in creating “Banapeel” breast cancer screening and product.

IO, Surabaya – Universitas Airlangga (Unair) students have scored yet another brilliant international achievement. This time, five Unair Faculty of Nursing (Fakultas Keperawatan-“FKp”) students won a bronze medal in the 2021 Bangkok International Intellectual Property Innovation Competition, Invention, Innovation and Technology Exposition (IPITEx). 

The five FKp UnairR student winners are Nurul Khosnul Qotimah, Ismatulloh Jihan Alim, Rio Arya Puta M., Sarah Rani Sutedjo, and Bellinda Anisa. The team was supervised by Yulis Setiya Dewi, S.Kep., Ns., M.Ng., a lecturer at the Unair Faculty of Nursing. 

IPITEx is an international innovation competition organized by The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). The competition was attended by 20 countries, including Canada, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Lebanon, Yemen and Russia. 

Team leader Nurul Khosnul Qotimah said that her team, called the “Banapeel team”, was the only delegation from Universitas Airlangga, having competed with more than 100 teams. The Faculty of Nursing student from Class of 2017, Nurul, explained that making Banapeel products began with the problem of banana peel waste accumulated in Nurul’s home, which was eventually allowed to rot. After seeing this problem, Nurul then proposed an idea to make a product from processed banana peels. 

“Banapeel is used as a product to make it easier for women to screen for breast cancer through BSE (Breast Self-Examination) and also as a means of dealing with breast pain in menstruating and breastfeeding women. Breast Self-Examination is an initial screening for breast cancer that can be done independently,” she explained, as quote by Unair.ac.id, Tuesday (18/5/2021). 

The IPITEx competition started with an abstract selection. After being announced for passing the abstract selection, the team made a video presentation of the product, starting from its manufacture, its benefits, to how to use it. “Apart from making videos, the qualifying teams are also required to make posters, write full papers, prod-
uct photos, and product
logos,” she added. 

The division of tasks among members is carried out equally and based on their abilities. Some are in charge of creating content and editing, translating, drafting and writing, and preparing the necessities.


“We help each other and remind each other because, to be honest, our preparations were very short, so everyone works together and relies on teamworkgreatly.ThankGod,aftera long struggle, our team won a bronze medal,” she concluded. (*/est) 

Palapa Wetan team takes win in Venezuela

The Palapa Wetan Consulting team when announced as the winner of International Energy Competition 2021.

IO, Yogyakarta UGM students from various disciplines – Vincentius Adven Brilian (Mechanical Engineering 2019), Saeful Ghofar Zamianie Putra (Geophysics 2019), I Putu Fadya Rachmawan (Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology 2019), I Putu Mahendrayana (Economics 2019), were crowned third-place winners at the Venezuela Energy Solutions for the Future International Case Study Competition 2021 on May 22. 

This international competition was held online by the Venezuelan American Petroleum Association (VAPA) and sponsored by CITGO Petroleum Corporation. There were a total of 75 teams from 16 countries that participated in the competition. The Palapa Wetan Consulting team, as they referred themselves, was the only team from Indonesia and Asia to qualify for the final. They were also the only non-Venezuelan team that nailed a top three position. 

With this achievement, Palapa Wetan Consulting received USD 800 and a certificate of appreciation. “The first and second winners are from Venezuela. We also manage to beat the team from Spain in fourth and Canada in fifth,” said Vincentius as quote by Ugm.ac.id, Thursday (27/5/2021). 

Before being selected as semifinalists, each team has to submit their essay to the jury. If they satisfy the required qualifications, they will go to the semifinal round and present a proposal in a 10-minute video containing strategic solutions and a roadmap to solve Venezuela’s energy crisis until 2050. The jury will then decide the top six finalists based on these presentation videos. 

Vincentius explained that his team offered various types of energy that could conclude the crisis along with the issues they addressed. His team also elaborated on which energy types the Venezuelan government should optimize, two of which were oil and gas and renewable energy. 

“We propose a solution called The STAR Energy: Sustainability Through the Affordable and Renewable Solution for Venezuela Energy Development. Hopefully, Venezuela can establish its energy security in the future,” he explained. 

Vincentius then stated that this achievement had motivated his team to partake in and win other international competitions, especially those concerning science and technology. His team’s desire and passion for creating energy solutions for Indonesia and the world, he concluded, would always push them to learn more about energy issues and succeed. (*/est) 

Fasilkom UI students create CardiWatch, a heart exam app

CardiWatch team at presentation.

IO, Jakarta – Clouddian Fazalmuttaqin, Nathasya Eliora Kristianti, Douglas Raevan Faisal, and Adam Maulana, students of the Faculty of Computer Science, University of Indonesia (Fasilkom UI), have collaborated in the development of a special examination application for checking cardiovascular disease, called “CardiWatch”, a low-cost application with preventive action. Thanks to this innovation, Clouddian and his team became finalists in the 2021 Imagine Cup held by Microsoft, attended by participants from all over the world. 

With the CardiWatch application, photoplethysmograph (PPG) -based initial screening is used to monitor the heart rate, by looking at changes in volume in blood vessels, and consultations about heart health and cardiovascular disease directly with a cardiologist. The creation of this application originated from the team’s desire to be able to provide user-friendly technology to the general public in the field of medical science. 

In addition, “The fact that heart disease is the number one cause of death in Indonesia, even in the world, is also the background for the creation of this application. We believe that with such technology everyone can participate in prevention, detection, and awareness of the importance of maintaining heart health,” said Clouddian, as quoted by Ui.ac.id, Friday (28/5/2021). 

The main feature of this application is screening for Arrhythmia, which is a condition of disturbance in the heart rhythm. To be able to perform screening, users only need to place one of their fingers on the smart device that has been installed in the CardiWatch application. After that, the screening results will be displayed to the user, displaying heartbeats per minute (bpm) and an indication of whether there is an Arrhythmia or not. 

The 2021 Imagine Cup is a competition involving young technology experts from all over the world, seeking to promote platform adaptation, expand market access and showcasing the best talent. In this competition, participants create new and innovative projects that highlight their talents and interests, and have the opportunity to meet professionals, acquire new skills, win funding to maximize the application of their ideas and receive guidance from technology leaders. 

Through several rounds of online and face-to-face competitions, participants compete for the championship title with cash prizes and a mentoring program. The Imagine Cup focuses on innovations that change the way people live, solutions, and applications that can save people’s lives. 

This competition is a forum for participants to develop effective answers to improve the lifestyles of people around the world, through the technological ideas they create. “The achievements of our students show that teaching materials in college can provide solutions to problems in society,” said the Fasilkom UI Dean, Dr. Petrus Mursanto. 

He added that Fasilkom UI supports talented students in the field of technology, to continue to innovate to answer problems as they arise in society. (est) 

I-Mask – interrupting Covid-19

Various features and the appearance of the I-Mask application to help reduce Covid-19 transmission (insert).

IO, Surabaya Indonesia has been declared the Southeast Asian country with the highest number of Covid-19 fatalities. This fact motivated the duet of the student team from the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Computer Engineering at the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology, Surabaya, to develop an I-Mask innovation intended to impede the transmission of Covid-19.

The I-Mask team, Rahmadilla Primasiwi Nugraha, Ilul Rohman, and Hartandi Wisnumukti from the Department of Electrical Engineering, as well as Irfan Dhiarinda Hamdi and Rizqullah Fadhil Rafi from the Computer Engineering Department, initiated a mask detection system using Machine Learning and integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor the use of masks in a given environment. 

Rahmadilla Primasiwi Nugraha, the team leader who is familiarly called Dilla, revealed that the number of positive cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia is still very high. Therefore, the use of a mask is very important because it can stop you from spreading the virus. However, the awareness of the Indonesian people in wearing masks is only around 59.32 percent. “This figure is quite small, so the idea emerged to initiate this I-Mask, as an effort to raise public awareness,” she said, in a release received by the Independent Observer, Friday (28/5/2021). 

According to Dilla, this I-Mask was designed to minimize the transmission of Covid-19, support the implementation of the “new normal”, as well as reminding us of the importance of using masks. In addition, I-Mask can also bolster government efforts in monitoring the use of masks in an enclosed space. 

The way I-Mask works begins with the process of detecting whether the person is wearing a mask or not. This detection video will be sent to a cloud server that is integrated with an application so that people who are not wearing masks will be alerted; they cannot enter a space that is designed to be integrated with an automatic door. “So the door only opens for those who wear masks and an alarm sounds for those who are detected not wearing masks,” said the student from Malang. 

Interestingly, the I-Mask application has several features that provide information about the condition of a place, starting from the number of visitors, weekly reports on the number of visitors, the location of the I-Mask system installed, live updates from camera shots, to statistical data showing the condition of the place. “In this way, visitors will know whether the place has met health protocol standards or not.” 

Dilla added that the I-Mask made by her team can have various advantages, namely, making it easier to monitor the use of masks in a place, having cheap production and maintenance costs, a 24-hour system operating time so that monitoring data is real-time, space-saving, and very practical. “These various advantages make the I-Mask different from other similar innovations,” said this 2018 class student. 

The hard work of the I-Mask team has resulted in proud achievements. The innovation entitled “I-Mask: Mask Detection System using Ma- chine Learning and Integrated with IoT for Monitoring the Use of Masks in a Place” successfully led the team guided by Arief Kurniawan to be- come first-place winner in the 2021 International IoT Challenge at the Sebelas Maret University Surakarta, May 23. The I-Mask team eliminated 79 other innovations from around the world while outperforming King Mongkuts Institute of Technology Ladkrabang from Thailand who was crowned as the second-place winner. 

In the future, this alumnus of State High School 1 Malang hopes that the I-Mask made by her team can be further developed so that this innovation can be perfected and pro- duced to help the country. “Hopeful- ly, this tool can be useful for the wid- er community in reducing the spread of Covid-19 and giving them a sense of security in the new normal life,” she concluded. (est) 

Recalling the struggle of Soekarno

Photo: Freddy Wally)

IO – June is known as the “Month of Soekarno” since the first President of the Republic of Indonesia was born on June 6 – added more sentiment to June, President Soekarno constructed the Pancasila as the state’s ideology on June 1, 1945. 

Commemorating the Month of Pancasila will be more complete if we recall Soekarno’s struggle while the Republic was fighting Dutch imperialism. Bandung is one of the silent witnesses of young Soekarno against Dutch tyranny. He left the traces through the site of the former Banceuy Prison and Indonesia Menggugat Building. 

Banceuy Prison 

On December 29, 1929, Soekarno, alongside the other three from Indonesia National Party (PNI), Maskoen, Soepriadinata, and Gatot Mangkoepraja, as activists troubling the Dutch East Indies government, were arrested in Yogyakarta and thrown into Banceuy prison for about 8 months. 

The prison was located behind the office buildings and the Banceuy Permai shopping complex. The former Banceuy prison leaves one cell that was once inhabited by Soekarno. Cell number5isnolessthan2x1.5meters in size with a thick metal door that has a small hole. 

In the “Bung Karno: Penyambung Lidah Rakyat Indonesia” biography by Cindy Adams, Soekarno explained the cell number 5 in Banceuy Prison as a “coffin.” The description is solely based on the poor situation he was in inside the rectangular room filled only with a cheap mat and a piss pot. 

The Banceuy Prison was built by the Dutch colonial government in 1887 in an area that was formerly known as Kampung Banceuy. As one of the oldest prisons in the Dutch East Indies, this prison was seen as somewhat creepy – the robbers and murderers detained inside added a more eerie impression to the building. 

Inside the current cell number 5, which is free to be visited, sits a bronze statue of Soekarno. Visitors can read the summary of the journey of Soekarno and his three colleagues on the walls. 

Shook by the situation in Banceuy Prison, Soekarno specifically expressed in his biographical book: “I am a neat and picky person. I am someone who likes to indulge myself with good clothes, good food – I have found the alienation and the degrading behavior towards prisoners to be very insulting.” 

Soekarno revealed that his only friend was a group of cicak and sometimes he stole newspapers smuggled by his wife, Inggit Garnasih. “Our foods are delivered to the cell. So when cicak-cicakku gather, I feed them. I hold out a grain of rice and wait for them to crawl from above the attic.” 

Interestingly, out of pity the guards sometimes let him read the newspaper at night. Two newspapers that Soekarno frequently read were AID de Prianganbode and Sipatahoenan, the newspaper led by Otto Iskandar Dinata which regularly reported on the development of the PNI. 

Besides the former Soekarno’s cell, the Banceuy Prison also leaves a watchtower that is visible from the edge of Jalan Banceuy, leading to Jalan Naripan and Jalan Cikapundung. 

Indonesia Menggugat Building 

Located on Perintis Kemerdekaan Street Number 5, not far from the City Hall, as one of the well-preserved historical buildings in Bandung, this building has a fairly large courtyard with a sturdy banyan tree. 

Initially, the Indonesia Menggugat Building was a residence for Dutch citizens, built in 1907. In 1917, the building changed its function to the Landraad or Dutch Colonial Government Court. In 1930, Landraad was used to try freedom fighters. 

When Sukarno was put on trial, the Proclamator rebelled in court and made a legendary defense declamation under the title “Indonesia Menggugat.” This incident certainly shocked the Dutch colonialists until finally Soekarno’s defense was used as the name for the building and stands until now. 

Several times this building had changed its function. After independence until the 1950s, this building changed its function to the Office of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI). Later, from the 1950s to 1973, this building became the Finance Building. From 1973 to 1999, this building was used as the West Java Trade and Industry Office. 

In 2005, after undergoing revitalization, the building was named the Indonesia Menggugat Building by the former Governor of West Java, H.C. Mashudi. June 2007, the Indonesia Menggugat Building was officially opened to the public and became a class A cultural heritage building. 

Visitors can see the traces of this courthouse with the benches of a courtroom that are silent witnesses. Visitors can also see photos of Soekarno and his comrades from the PNI who were also on trial. 

Currently, the Indonesia Menggugat Building functions for public spaces such as seminars or cultural events. There is no entrance fee to visit it. (Freddy Wally)

Exploring the culture of Kulawi Traditional Village in Central Sulawesi

Raego Dance. (Photo: Laely Indah Lestari Doc.)

IO – Indonesia is a country very rich in culture. Each region has its own unique and distinctive culture and customs. Among these is Kulawi Traditional Village in Central Sulawesi, a hidden cultural village located about 72 kilometers from Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi. Getting there is not always easy, as often there are landslides and floods. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right time to go to Kulawi Traditional Village. 

The village is located in the Mataue Mountains, Kulawi District, Sigi Regency, Central Sulawesi. Mataue means a “water spring” because it is flanked by three rivers, the Oo River, the Watuwali River, and the Tolibanu River.  

Laely Indah Lestari, a cultural traveler, photographer, and writer visited Kulawi Traditional Village to learn about its culture. As a guest of honor in the Kulawi Traditional Village, she received many special items. Laely mingles with the community, as well as enjoying the culture and the atmosphere of the preserved ancestral values. 

Several things can be obtained in the Kulawi Traditional Village cultural tour. First, we can wear traditional Kulawi clothes consisting of a blouse, and a skirt, which is used in a single suit as a traditional outfit. 

The top or blouse is called Halili, while the lower part is called Topii, or the skirt consists of three layers, each of which has a philosophy. 

The top layer symbolizes the relationship between man and God. The second or most middle layers represent the relationship between humans. Meanwhile, the bottom layer symbolizes the relationship between humans and nature. “I am very proud to wear the Traditional Kulawi Tribe Clothing, especially I was able to wear it while mingling in the local community,” said Laely. 

Second, witnessing the making of Indonesian traditional backcloth. The Kulawi tribe has been manufacturing bark cloth since the Neolithic era. It is made from traditionally processed fibers of banyan tree bark, such as nunu, ivo, and malo bark. In Kulawi, the Bark Fabric is called Kumpe or Mbesa which means traditional cloth. 

Visitors have the opportunity to learn to make bark cloth directly by a Kulawi maradika (blue-blooded) woman who was already very good at making bark. Also, witnessing them making the backcloth, as well as learning to beat the bark; the process is very complicated and takes a long time. 

Third, we will also get to know Raego Dance, a typical dance from the tribe. This dance is accompanied by a melodious choir consisting of men and women. The choir echoed the meaningful lyrics without music. The poetry is sung by a choir that has been designated as an intangible cultural heritage asset. 

When she just came to the Kulawi Traditional Village, Laely was greeted with this dance. Raego is not only a work of art but has a sacred value in traditional ceremonies and welcoming guests. “I got goosebumps when I was greeted by this dance.” 

According to her, the dance is an extraordinary experience when visiting Kulawi Traditional Village. “Dancing together and dissolving in the beauty of Indonesian culture.” 

Fourth, spending time in Raimbulawa. Raimbulawa is a reading place that is commonly used by locals. During the ceremony, Laely was introduced to the traditional officials and traditional elders who explained the hierarchy of the Kulawi, and its customs. The Kulawi traditional officials must be descendants of the Maradika (Kulawi blue blood). 

Fifth, enjoying togetherness at the Kulawi’s traditional house, Lobo. The Lobo house is the center of the village that deals with customs, government and culture. 

The traditional house is made of forest wood which has its outer skin removed and then smoothed using a machete; it is rich in symbols of social philosophy. 

The elements of the building contain their values, from the roof, carvings, and the body of the legs to the entire shape of the building. This place functions for deliberation, welcoming guests of honor, traditional ceremonies, and also a traditional court. 

Being a guest of honor in the Kulawi Traditional Village is a beautiful intimacy for Laely. Cultural tourism in Kulawi Traditional Village is also an experience in itself. Visiting this place is not only about loving Indonesian culture, but also growing a sense of pride that in this part of the Earth, Central Sulawesi, where the customs are still beautifully preserved. 

“The Kulawi Traditional Village is very special, the intimacy through the common thread of culture makes us closer to the traditional clothes, the warm hospitality, and its customs,” she concluded. (Kartika Indah)

Uswatun Hasanah

Uswatun Hasanah. (Photo: ANTARA)

Makes history for Indonesian women’s boxing

IO – It is a high point in history for Indonesian women’s boxing, as boxer Uswatun Hasanah entered the lightweight final (60 kg) of the Asian Elite Boxing Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

Unfortunately, Uswatun failed to capture a gold medal, as she was defeated by Rima Volossenko (Kazakhstan) in the final which was held in Le Meridien, Dubai, Sunday, May 30, 2021. 

The boxer from West Nusa Tenggara stepped into the top tier after defeating Tajikistan’s Shoira Zulkaynarova in the semi-finals. Uswatun, who was in the women’s 60kg class, won by a narrow score of 3-2. Previously, in the quarter-finals, Uswatun performed well by outfighting the female Filipino boxer, Maricel Sela Torre. 

In the semifinal match, Uswatun initially had difficulty facing her opponent, who was experienced and taller, but in the next round, Uswatun managed to maintain a comfortable distance and improve her rhythm. Several times she managed to get hooks into the opponent’s face. In the end, Uswatun was declared the winner. 

This Indonesian Army soldier was a bronze medalist at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. 

Her parents opposed Uswatun’s intention to become a boxer. “I started boxing when I was a high school student. At first, my parents didn’t permit it, but I was determined. Finally, they allowed me to box after seeing me compete and win,” said Huswatun Hasanah, as quoted in Suarakarya.id. 

Initially, this girl who was born in Lombok, January 27, 1998, practiced the sport of taekwondo. She began training in boxing at the Sasana Notorius Boxing Camp in West Sumbawa Regency, West Nusa Tenggara in 2014. “I was introduced to a boxing coach by Pak Indah’s man, Dugi Cahyono, who became a taekwondo coach. I consider Pak Dugi to be like my parent,” she said. 

Uswatun’s achievement to the previous final round received praise from the Commander of Military Resort 162/WB, Brigadier General of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, Ahmad Rizal Ramdhani, as Chairman of the Indonesian Amateur Boxing Association, West Nusa Tenggara Provincial Committee. 

“So the boxing championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is also an event to add experience as well as a try out for Atun (Uswatun Hasanah’s nickname) to face the SEA Game in Vietnam later,” said Ahmad Rizal proudly, as quoted from the page Tniad. mil.id. (rp) 

Sukarno

Sukarno. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Eloquent founding father whose oration marks the birth of Pancasila

IO – Indonesians commemorate the birth of Pancasila every June 1, coinciding with Sukarno’s stirring oration before the Dokuritsu Junbi Cosakai (The Preparatory Agency for the Investigation of Indonesian Independence) on June 1, 1945. 

During its first meeting session on May 29, 1945 at the Chuo Sangi-In building (now Pancasila building in Jakarta), members of the agency deliberated on the state ideology. 

The session lasted almost five days, and on June 1, 1945, Sukarno presented his ideas for the foundation of the Indonesian state. He called it “Pancasila”. Panca means five, while sila means principles. The first was to be “Nationalism”, second “Internationalism or Humanity”, third “Democracy”, fourth “Social Justice”, and fifth “belief in an Almighty God”. 

To refine the Pancasila formulation and create a constitution based on these five principles, Dokuritsu Junbi Cosakai formed a committee known as Committee Nine whose members included Ir. Sukarno, Mohammad Hatta, Abikoesno Tjokroseojoso, Agus Salim, Wahid Hasjim, Mohammad Yamin, Abdul Kahar Muzakir, Mr. AA Maramis, and Achmad Soebardjo. 

After several deliberative sessions, Pancasila was finally ratified during the PPKI (The Preparatory Committee for the Indonesian Independence) meeting on August 18, 1945. Here, it was agreed that Pancasila was to be included in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution as the legitimate ideological foundation of the Indonesian state. 

Sukarno was born Koesno Sosrodihardjo on June 6, 1901 in Surabaya. Because he often had poor health as a child, his name was changed into Soekarno by his father when he was eleven. 

Sukarno, together with his comrade Mohammad Hatta, is best known as the Proclamator of Indonesian Independence on August 17, 1945. 

When he became President, he changed the spelling of his name from Soekarno to Sukarno to break with the Dutch spelling convention. However, he still used Soekarno in his signature because it is the one used when he signed off the proclamation text of Indonesian Independence. Moreover, it wasn’t easy to change one’s signature after using it for 50 years! 

After his accountability speech was rejected by the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly (MPRS) at the fourth general session in 1967, Sukarno was relieved of his duties at the MPRS Special Session in the same year and replaced by Soeharto as Acting President of the Republic of Indonesia. 

Bung Karno, as Sukarno was endearingly known, died in Jakarta on June 21, 1970. (rp) 

Soemitro Djojohadikoesoemo

Soemitro Djojohadikoesoemo. (Photo: Wikipedia)

A Minister whose distinguished service spans two regimes

IO – There are not many figures whose skills were so respected that they served as a Minister during two very different regimes. Soemitro Djojohadikoesoemo was a rare exception. Born in Kebumen, Central Java, on May 29, 1917, he died at the age of 83 on March 9, 2001, a Minister who served in both Soekarno’s “Old Order” and Soeharto’s “New Order”. 

Soemitro was Indonesia’s Finance Minister from April 3, 1952 to July 30, 1953 under Prime Minister Wilopo. He returned to that post on August 12, 1955 and served until March 24, 1956 under Prime Minister Burhanuddin Harahap. Previously, from September 6, 1950 to April 27, 1951, he had been Trade and Industry Minister under Prime Minister Mohammad Natsir. 

When Suharto assumed the leadership, marking the start of the New Order regime, Soemitro was appointed Trade Minister (June 6, 1968-March 28, 1973). In the following period, he was appointed State Minister for Research (March 28, 1973-March 28, 1978). 

As father of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and father-in-law of former Bank Indonesia Governor Soedradjad Djiwandono, Soemitro is prominently known as Indonesia’s “Economic Maestro”. He sought out and applied numerous influential economic theories. Indeed, he counted several ministers in Soeharto’s cabinet, such as B.J. Sumarlin, Ali Wardhana and Widjojo Nitisastro as his former students. 

Soemitro studied economics and earned his doctorate from the Nederlandsche Economische Hogeschool in Rotterdam in 1943. His dissertation “Het Volkscredietwezen in de Depressie” (“Microloans in an era of Depression”) is one of the most sought-after economics books. 

Soemitro married Dora Marie Sigar while studying in the Netherlands. Dora was a Minahasanese postoperative nursing student in Utrecht. They met at an event. 

After graduation, Soemitro worked at the Nederlandsche Economische Hogeschool research institute. In 1946, he returned to Indonesia and became an expert staff member of Prime Minister Sutan Syahrir, joining his Socialist Party of Indonesia (PSI). 

Soemitro was a prolific author. Since 1942, the founder of the University of Indonesia’s Economics Faculty wrote some 130 books and papers in English. His last book was Jejak Perlawanan Begawan Pejuang, published in April 2000. 

During his lifetime, Soemitro was bestowed numerous awards, among them the prestigious Bintang Mahaputra Adiprana II from the Indonesian Government. He was also widely recognised abroad, being the recipient of the Panglima Mangku Negara award from the Kingdom of Malaysia, Grand Cross of Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant (First Class) from the Kingdom of Thailand, Grand Cross of the Crown from the Kingdom of Belgium, as well as other awards from the Republic of Tunisia and the French Republic. 

His involvement in the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PRRI) in Sumatra altered the course of his career trajectory during the Old Order regime. The Sukarno government accused him of being involved in corruption. Soemitro’s involvement in PRRI also led to the ban of PSI and its dissolution in 1960. He went into exile, taking refuge in different countries with his wife and children and only returned to Indonesia after the New Order was safely in power. 

Soemitro died at Dharma Nugraha Hospital, Rawamangun, East Jakarta on March 9, 2001 after suffering from heart disease and chronic vasoconstriction. 

His will stated he wished to have a simple funeral in a simple place, so the family decided to bury the famed economist at Karet Bivak Blok A-III Public Cemetery as his final resting place.

Soemitro may have passed away 20 years ago, but his brilliant thoughts in economics continue to live on and have become a priceless legacy for this country. (rp) 

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