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Megawati: Military needs more money JAKARTA - Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri said on Saturday the military needs more money to carry out its duties and protect the nation's vast and porous borders but the government's ability to help out was limited. Speaking at the 57th anniversary of the armed forces and wearing a military-style jacket complete with insignia, Megawati said years of economic crisis had left the government unable to support the police and military, forcing them to make their own money.
"We should stop certain practices in which TNI (military) and the national police are compelled to seek funds in order to finance their daily operations...this is not normal," she said to around 7,000 members of the TNI gathered at Jakarta's Halim military airbase. "(But) without them to safeguard our borders, our wide-open territory is an easy target for foreign powers to loot both security and economic sectors," she added.
In a major boost for Indonesia's security forces, the United States in August promised a $50 million package to help the giant nation fight terrorism. Most of the $50 million to be spent over several years, will be used by police, including $12 million to set up a special counter terrorism unit. Despite trying to repolish its tarnished image since the downfall of former President Suharto in May 1998, Indonesia's military remains dogged by problems of lack of discipline and professionalism.
Underscoring those problems, Indonesia's army chief on Wednesday dishonourably discharged 20 soldiers from a crack airborne unit, saying they behaved like thugs by killing at least seven people in recent attacks on two police posts. Around 100 soldiers armed with rifles and grenades attacked the police stations at Binjai town in north Sumatra on Monday after a soldier was arrested for suspected drug offences.
But in an important step towards reform, the country's lawmakers in August agreed to remove the military and police from the top legislative body (MPR) by 2004. The 700-member MPR currently comprises 500 members of parliament, which includes 38 members of the military and police.



Posted in Military @ 06 October 2002 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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