Frans Seda passes away
Just when the whole nation is mourning the former president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), senior economist and former finance minister Frans Seda passes away at 83 this morning. He died in his sleep at his home in Pondok Indah, Jakarta. He is known as a respected Catholic figure in the country.
Born as Franciscus Xaverius Seda in Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara in October 4th, 1926, Frans was cabinet member in the last years of Soekarno administration and early years of Soeharto regime. He is also known as economic adviser for then president Megawati Soekarnoputri. What a big loss for Megawati, especially because hours earlier she, and the whole country, mourns the death of Gus Dur whom she considered a big brother.
Gus Dur and Frans Seda are close friends, mainly because of their efforts to promote pluralism in Indonesia. Jimly Asshiddiqie, former Constitutional Court chief justice, said both Gus Dur and Frans Seda deserved to be crowned as "national heroes". "We have lost two great figures. They show us how to build the nation. They are pluralism figures, deserved to be crowned the national heroes," Jimly said after paid a tribute to Frans Seda in Jakarta today.
Frans graduated from Katholieke Economische Hogeschool, Tilburg, Netherland in 1956. He was the chairman of Catholic Party in 1961-1968, agriculture minister in 1964-1968, finance minister in 1966-1968, and transportation and tourism minister in 1968-1973.
Frans is also considered an influential figure behind the biggest print media group Kompas Gramedia Group where he has been commissioner since 1970. He was also the chairman of Atma Jaya Foundation, which manages Atma Jaya Catholic University.
Married to Yohanna Maria Pattinaya, Frans has two daughters: Franscisia Xaveria Sika Seda (Ery Seda) and Yoanessa Maria Yosefa Sipi Seda (Nessa Seda). Ery, sociologist, is a lecturer at University of Indonesia. Ery got her PhD from University of Wisconsin, USA with thesis: Petroleum Paradox: Natural Resources and Development in Indonesia, 1967-1997.
Despite his close relationship with Soekarno, Frans was a founder of Democracy League to challenge Soekarno in 1960s. He looks fit for his age, sporty in his 80s. Recipe? "Think positive, listen good music, good food, jogging regularly, swimming," Frans told Kompas few years ago.
Frans is the author of books like Power and Moral (1996) and An Endless Symphony (1992), both published by Gramedia.
Rest In Peace, Pak Frans! Oh, have a warm discussion with your friend Gus Dur out there in the new world! In the words of Pramono Anung, secretary general of PDI-P, Gus Dur and Frans Seda might have planned for a "meeting".