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Analysis
25-02-2014
Political dynamics in the Indonesian Military (TNI) colors the 2014 presidential election (Part III)
Author : Hendrajit, Executive Director of the Global Future Institute (GFI)
Chinese conglomerates Jimbaran Group
 
In earlier writings, as stated that Megawati as the final determinant in PDIP for the presidential nomination, has not yet shown her support for Prabowo, Jokowi or herself, instead of supporting presidential candidates nominated by other parties. Internal political dynamics in the military is one of the factors underlying the Megawati's decision to wait and see.

But what makes the crucial in terms of the presidential nomination through the PDIP and the Mega's political attitudes that seem to await wind direction that is not solely due to the internal dynamics in the military between Cikeas and Cilangkap camps.
 
The problem is that the internal dynamics between the Cilangkap versus Cikeas has involved a long feud between the two conglomerates equally raised by the New Order regime of former President Suharto. Namely the business conglomerate built by Ginandjar Kartasasmita under the auspices of Presidential Decree No. 10, 1980 versus Chinese conglomerate known as the Jimbaran Group. This includes Liem Soe Liong (SALIM GROUP), Eka Cipta (SINAR MAS), Prayogo Pangestu, Mochtar and James Riyadi (Lippo GROUP), William Soeryajaya and Ciputra.
 
The Chinese network of Jimbaran Group conglomerate built through the Prasetya Mulya Foundation which is politically very close to CSIS ( Center for International Strategic Studies), a think-tank guided by General Ali Murtopo, that later continued by Benny Murdani, in the Suharto era.
 
After the fall of the Suharto regime in May 1998, and the appointment of BJ Habibie as president of the transition to general elections in June 1999, the political initiative was under the control of Ginandjar Kartasasmita supported by 14 ministers who resigned from the Suharto government, and then establishing a new political alliance with Habibie. While the Benny Murdani's military faction that actually also involved in preparing for a situation to oust Suharto, lost in the game against the Ginandjar's camp. In consequence, the Jimbaran Group has lost its power since the New Order build alliance with CSIS and the Benny Murdani's military faction.
 
The fracture of Jimbaran Group's strength and influence, could be seen from the Liem Soe Liong's migration to Singapore, as his new base of operations in the control of his global scale business. Liem has practically lived continuously until his death in Singapore.
 
Jimbaran Group in the Post-Suharto era
 
No wonder if in regulating the political constellation in Indonesia, including the 2014 election, the Chinese conglomerates' strategic agendas that once joined Jimbaran Group and their business allies who came later, have practically been arranged and controlled from Singapore.
 
According to a source of the Global Future Institute, in Singapore there has been money amounted to Rp. 400 trillion still "parked" in Singapore until now, and most likely due to compound interest. The number had increased several fold since the 2009 election. The raising information is that the money has been under the control of the Chinese conglomerates based in Singapore that will be returned to Indonesia if the next president of Indonesia is in accordance with their aspirations and desires.
 
In other words, the Singapore-based Chinese conglomerates have likely taken part in coloring the presidential nomination through political parties contesting the 2014 election. The question is that, who will they support?
 
Well this is where the base of complexity they face. When the Benny Murdani's military faction lost power after the fall of Suharto in May 1998, one of their hopes was burdened on Megawati Sukarnoputri. Besides being the main political opponent of former President Suharto, as long as Mega was still in the suppression of the Suharto regime, some generals close to Murdani gave their support either openly or secretly for Mega, such as Agum Gumelar, Hendropriyono, Theo Syafei, Tyasno Sudarto, Dada Ruchiatna, and so on.
 
So when Mega won the 1999 election for the first time that was held ​​democratically in the post- Suharto era, not surprisingly if all elements supporting Jimbaran Group's networks, including Kompas, expressed support for Mega to occupy the post of president replacing BJ Habibie.
 
But unfortunately, despite winning the 1999 election, the decision to assign a person to be president must be through the General Session for refering to the 1945 Constitution in the pre-amendment version. As a result, in the 1999 General Session, Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), was appointed to become the 4th president of RI based on the results of the voting at the General Session. Although in the next voting, Mega managed to become vice president to accompany Gus Dur.
 
The Gus Dur's key victory and Megawati as Vice President was due to the support of Golkar which essentially was completely under the control of Ginandjar Kartasasmita, the most influential political patron in Golkar. Although in the presidential election vote, Golkar was divided between Akbar Tanjung's faction, giving its support to Gus Dur, and the Ginandjar's one giving its support to Mega. However, because of the Akbar Tanjung's  faction received solid support from some Islamic parties that are in the CENTRAL AXIS led by Amien Rais, Gus Dur finally could win.
 
But in the voting to choose Vice President on the next day, Mega could win the nomination of vice president thanks to the solid support of all factions in Golkar and the Central Axis.
 
Results of the General Session could not satisfy Mega because after all she was the winner of the election, but the national political map brought the Jimbaran Group's paralysis of political power and the Moerdani's military faction that since the beginning had been close to the Megawati's camp.
 
From Gus Dur to Mega
 
So for the Jimbaran Group, there was no other choice in the time but joining the Gus Dur's camp and support his leadership. The figures counted by the Jimbaran Group in the Gus Dur's cabinet were Lt. Gen. (ret) Luhut Panjaitan and Agum Gumelar. That is why Luhut Panjaitan was positioned in the trade ministerial post and Agum Gumelar was installed by Gus Dur as the Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, replacing Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).
 
In addition to having contact with Singapore, Luhut was also quite close to the Jimbaran Group network. Then to him the Chinese conglomerates headquartered in Singapore entrusted their strategic agendas. However, due to the Gus Dur's unpredictable directions and political measures, the Chinese conglomerates' maneuver through Luhut Panjaitan could not work as expected.
 
Especially when Gus Dur himself often made political blunders which eventually led to the downfall of his presidency, thanks to a  cross-party coalition led by the Ginandjar faction in which through the Matzuzaki Network Club, began to exert influence on the five political parties such as PDIP (Arifin Panigoro), Marzuki Darusman and Fahmi Idris (Golkar), Hatta Rajasa and Amien Rais (PAN) and Hamzah Haz (PPP).
 
So when Gus Dur fell , and Vice President Megawati took office, then the Ginandjar camp practically took political control from behind the scenes. Again, the stronghold of Jimbaran Group was losing play. Thus, in the political formation in the Mega cabinet, Jimbaran Group aspirations were only represented by Laksamana Sukardi as Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (SEO).
 
While at the trade ministry, Mega chose Rini Suwandi althought she was  very close to the Chinese businessmen,  because historically her proximity with Soekarno and former Jakarta governor Soemarno in the past, Mega had a high trust to Rini. So as to serve the Jimbaran Group aspirations, Rini was just functioned merely as the Mega's contact person or mere political arranger. But the Chinese conglomerates could not control the Rini Suwandi's scheme of Business.
 
The liberation of a majority stake in Indosat to the Singapore's Temasek Holding through SOE Minister Laksamana Sukardi, might be the limited damage that occurred in the Mega government, as a consequence of the appointment of Laksamana Sukardi that in the Suharto era served as Managing Director of Lippo Bank.
 
SBY and the strengthening of Matzuzaki Club's political formation 
 
Along with the victory of SBY as president in the 2004 election which was further strengthened through the 2009 election in the second period of his reign, the Matzuzaki Club's political formation directed by Ginandjar Kartasasmita became stronger, because SBY was an important chain from this political network that also happened to be originated from military wing.
 
So with the emergence of SBY, Jimbaran Group was practically broken by two fronts at once. The business-economy front, dealing with indigenous conglomerates that are largely the Ginandjar political cronies in Golkar and those joining other parties, while in the military front along with the appearance of SBY, the military faction in the army was practically under the control of the academy of military factions 1973, 1975 and 1977, through Pramono Edhi Wibowo and Erwin Sujono immediately purge the ranks of Special Forces and Strategic Reserve Command.
 
In such a situation, the Jimbaran Group network then tactically influenced some elements of the army factions, especially the military academy 1970 consisting of, among others, Luhut Panjaitan and former Chief of Staff Soebagyo HS that are respected as the elders in the military headquarters in Cilangkap. But even it was only to seize the sphere of influence, in addition to trying to build opinion related to presidential candidates that would be accepted by the Jimbaran Group.
 
Behind the movement to supports Jokowi as presidential candidate
 
Ideally, the Jimbaran Group should rely their hope and support to Wiranto (former TNI commander) and the Chinese businessman, Hari Tanu Sudibyo, that are paired as candidates for president and vice president by the People's Conscience Party (HANURA). In addition, Wiranto is also a high military officer who was involved in political competition when Suharto was still in power, reaching his peak in the fall of Suharto in May 1998. So when Wiranto is confronted with Prabowo in the upcoming presidential election, the pair is actually appropriate in  terms of the Jimbaran Group aspirations.
 
However Wiranto as alumnus of the 1986 military academy that is in line with the military academy alumni in 1970 and 1972, is not a figure that is quite popular and does not has high electability in the eyes of potential voters in the upcoming 2014 elections. So Jimbaran Group despite looking Wiranto as an ally, but they do not put their expectation on Wiranto for being judged as such a "dead card."
 
Thus, the Chinese conglomerates Jimbaran Group have so far allied with several high-ranking military academy alumni in 1970 who still have influence in which, so far they have merely objected to the possibility of Prabowo to become president. But they have not had a clear political preference for supporting a figure as a presidential candidate.
 
At this stand, because there is no ideal military figure in the view of Jimbaran Group, then Jokowi which incidentally is also the Megawati's PDI-P cadre, was likely supported by the Jimbaran Group through the PDIP. That means, they will push Mega  persuasively and through political pressure, to be supported as a presidential candidate by the PDIP.
 
Well this is where the crucial problem facing Mega. In addition to having to anticipate the possibility of the Matzuzaki Club network, asking Mega to support to their presidential hopeful, on the other hand Mega has to deal with the Jimbaran Group pressure and insistence to nominate Jokowi as president through PDI-P or maybe later through other parties.
 
In such a crucial situation, Megawati and SBY are likely to postpone the decision to bring their party's presidential candidate for having to wait growing political constellation after the final announcement of legislative elections in April ahead.
 
If the PDI-P, Golkar and Gerindra will emerge as the winner of three major legislative elections, then Mega and SBY will be easier to establish political formations, including nominating their presidential hopeful.
 
If the PDI-P, Golkar and Gerindra emerge with the acquisition of a significant vote in the legislative elections, Mega will likely make strategic decisions in PDIP for the ground to support the Matzuzaki Club's political scheme. So Pramono Anung, as the chain of the Ginandjar Kartasasmita's network, is welcome to play a political role as arranger.
 
In such scenarios, there are several combinations with various possibilities:
1 . Supporting Prabowo's candidacy on the consideration of complying with the Batu Tulis commitment - Bogor in 2009, with concessions Mega proposes a vice presidential candidate to accompany Prabowo.
2 . Preceded with the possibility of political reconciliation between Mega and SBY, then this scenario will lead to the support for Prabowo - Hatta Rajasa. That means it will create a strategic alliance between PDIP - Gerindra - Democrat and PAN.
3 . If the Jimbaran Group's resistance is getting stronger for pushing PDIP to nominate someone whom they can accept, Mega  will certainly take an unpopular option, namely by nominating herself as president. De facto it would benefit Prabowo, but at the same time she will stem the PDI-P traditional supporters ranging from 15 percent of the vote not to be swing voters for presidential candidates who would potentially harm the Prabowo's victory.
 
Another scenario that should be observed is when the vote results of PDIP, Golkar and Gerindra are not very significant for being counterbalanced with the ones of Nasdem Party (Surya Paloh) and Hanura (Wiranto) that incidentally are actually in line with their political scheme. At this point, Mega will likely take a decision different, with the possibility of opening political communications with the Jimbaran Group network.
 
At this stand, Rini Suwandi, Hendripriyono and PDIP Secretary General Tjahyo Kumolo that have since the New Order era been close to the military faction in Cilangkap, will be given important roles as political arrangers for open political communications with the Jimbaran Group and military factions in Cilangkap which rest on some high-ranking officers of the army academy in 1968, 1970 and some of 1972.
 
From here, the various political formations could be raised through some possibilities :
1 . Mega will decide to run for president, accompanied by vice- presidential candidate she supports.
2 . Nominating Jokowi by picking figures to accompany Jokowi from the Soekarno's big family and those outside PDI-P that would be liked or popular in the eyes of people.
3 . Or Mega proposes presidential candidate who has been popular in the eyes of people with the basis for creating a new political formation outside the Matzuzaki Club and Jimbaran Group's orbit of influence.


Related Article
» Political dynamics in the Indonesian Military (TNI) colors the 2014 presidential election (Part II)
» Political dynamics in the Indonesian Military (TNI) colors the 2014 presidential election (Part I)
» Interpreting the importance of two steps of Red Bear for Indonesia in the geopolitical shift
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