Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Habibie's Decisive Seconds: Book Excerpts

Former president BJ Habibie's memoir, titled Decisive Seconds, tells us some interesting events about the transition of power from Soeharto, how he kick out general Prabowo---that time Kostrad Commander and still Soeharto's son-in-law, and how Soeharto rejected his appeals to meet, Kompas reported.

"This is an abasement. You fired me as Kostrad Commander?" Lt Gen Prabowo asked. "Not fired, replaced," Habibie replied.
"Why? I want to protect the President."
"That's the task of President's Security Forces with direct responsibility to Military Commander, not your job..."
"What kind of President are you? On behalf of my father's and my father-in-law's name, please give me three more months as Kostrad commander."
"No. Before the sun goes down, all Kostrad forces should be under the new commander."
That was the tense dialog between Prabowo & Habibie on May 22, 1998, less than 24 hours after Habibie sworn in as president.
The dialog was stopped when ret lt general Sintong Panjaitan cut the dialog and said...General, The President has no more time, leave the room...
Earlier that day, 06.10, Habibie called Gen Wiranto and asked him to stay in his position as TNI Commander. Wiranto reported to Habibie the movement of Kostrad forces around the State Palace and Habibie's residence at Patra Kuningan, South Jakarta.
At 07.30, commander general of Special Forces (Kopassus) Maj Gen Muchdi met Habibie with the letter from Gen (Ret) AH Nasution asking Habibie to promote Gen Subagyo HS as TNI Commander and Prabowo as Army's Chief of Staff (KSAD).

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