Saturday, May 26, 2012

B.J. Habibie

3rdPresident of Indonesia
In office
21 May 1998 – 20 October 1999
Vice President
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Abdurrahman Wahid
7thVice President of Indonesia
In office
10 March 1998 – 21 May 1998
Preceded by
Try Sutrisno
Succeeded by
Megawati Sukarnoputri
Personal details
(1936-06-25) 25 June 1936 (age 75)
Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi, Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia)
Political party
HasriAinunBesari, (m. 1962-2010, her death)
Ilham Akbar Habibie (b. 1963)
Thareq Kemal Habibie (b. 1967)
Engineer, Aviation Industrialist, Politician

BacharuddinJusufHabibiepronunciation (born 25 June 1936), also known B. J. Habibie, is a former politician of the State of Indonesia. His presidency (1998 - 1999) was the third and that of shortest duration after independence.
Early life
Habibie was born in Parepare, South Sulawesi Province to Abdul JalilHabibie and R. A. Tuti Marini Puspowardojo. His father was an agriculturist from Gorontalo and his mother was a Javanesenoblewoman from Yogyakarta. His parents met while studying in Bogor. When he was 14 years old, Habibie's father died.
Studies and Career in Germany
Following his father's death, Habibie continued his studies in Jakarta and then in 1955, he moved to Germany.
In 1960, in Germany, Habibie received a 'Diplom-Ingenieur', a degree in engineering. He remained in Germany as a research assistant under Hans Ebner at the Lehrstuhl und InstitutfürLeichtbau, RWTHAachen, to conduct research for his doctoral degree.
In 1962, Habibie returned to Indonesia for three months on sick leave. During this time, he was reacquainted with HasriAinun, the daughter of R. MohamadBesari. Habibie had known HasriAinun in childhood, junior high school and in senior high school at SMA-Kristen, Bandung. The two married on 12th May, 1962, returning to Germany shortly afterwards. Habibie and his wife settled in Aachen for a short period before moving to Oberforstbach. In May 1963, they had a son, Ilham Akbar Habibie.
When Habibie's minimum wage salary forced him into part-time work, he found employment with the automotive marque Talbot where he became an adviser. Habibie worked on two projects which received funded from Deutsche Bundesbahn.
Due to his work with Makosh, the Head of Train Constructions offered his position to Habibie upon retirement 3 years later, but Habibie refused.
In 1965, Habibie delivered his thesis in aerospace engineering and received "very good" for his Doktor der Ingenieurwissenschaften). During the same year, he accepted Hans Ebner's offer to continue his research on Thermoelastisitas and Habilitation, but refused to join RWTH as a professor per se. His thesis about light construction for supersonic or hypersonic states also attracted offers of employment from companies such as Boeing and Airbus which Habibie again declined.
Habibie did accept a place with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm in Hamburg. There, he developed theories on thermodynamics, construction, and aerodynamics, known as the Habibie Factor, Habibie Theorem, and Habibie Method, respectively.
Habibie's time in Europe may have contributed to his interest in the Leica cameras.
Career in Indonesia
On his return to Indonesia in 1974, Habibie was made Chief Executive Officer of the new State owned enterprise, IndustriPesawatTerbang Nusantara (IPTN). (In 1985, PT. Nurtanio changed its name to Indonesian Aviation Industry and is now known as Indonesian Aerospace Inc. (Dirgantara)). By the 1980s, IPTN had grown considerably, specializing in the manufacturing of helicopters and small passenger planes.
Habibie became a pilot, assisted in his training by A.B. Wolff, former Chief of Staff of the Dutch Airforce. In 1995, he flew an N-250 (dubbed Gatotkoco) commuter plane.
In developing Indonesia's Aviation Industry, he adopted an approach called "Begin at the End and End at the Beginning".In this method, elements such as basic research became the last things upon which to focus, whilst actual manufacturing of the planes was placed as the first objective.
Member of Golkar
In Suharto's regime, as was expected of senior government executives, Habibie was became a member of the Golkarorganisation. From 1993–1998, he was a daily coordinator for the chairman of the Executive Board.
Vice Presidency
In January 1998, after accepting nomination for a 7th term as President, Suharto announced the selection criteria for the nomination of the Vice President. Suharto did not mention Habibie by name but his suggestion that the next Vice President should have mastery over science and technology made it obvious he had Habibie in mind.
In that year, in the midst of the Asian Financial Crisis, this suggestion was received badly, causing the rupiah to fall. Despite this and protests (the former minister Emil Salim tried to nominate himself as Vice President), Habibie was elected as Vice President in March 1998.
Main article: Post-Suharto Era
Rise to office

By May 1998, problems including poverty had caused such discontent that Suharto's government fell into crisis. On May 13, the shooting of four students at Trisakti University in Jakarta, caused extreme anger which in turn led to widespread riots and lootings. There were now explicit calls for Suharto to step down as President of Indonesia.
Suharto responded by saying on May 19, 1998 that if he stepped down, the Vice President would become President and in a not too subtle a jab at Habibie, he added he was not sure whether the Vice President could solve the problems facing the country.
After learning of Suharto's comments from television reports, Habibie discounted his mentor and became increasingly sympathetic to those who wanted Suharto to step down. While careful not to oppose him directly or support those who did, he left the president in little doubt that he saw himself as Suharto's legitimate successor.
Suharto, faced with dwindling civilian and military support, even among loyalists like Wiranto and GinandjarKartasasmita, resigned late on the evening of May 20, 1998.
The next morning, on May 21, 1998, Suharto publicly announced his resignation and Habibie was immediately sworn in as President. There were mixed reactions to Habibie's elevation to the Presidency. Hardline reformists saw him as an extension of Suharto's regime while moderate reformists saw him as leading a transitional Government.
With the release of Suharto's 2006 book, Detik-Detik Yang Menentukan: JalanPanjang Indonesia MenujuDemokrasi (Decisive Moments: Indonesia's Long Road Towards Democracy), there is speculation that Suharto had wanted Habibie to resign along with him.
          In Javanese style, Suharto had subtly hinted at this intention. Habibie, despite being of Javanese descent, did not take the hint nor acquiesce. Because his intentions had been ignored, Suharto showed nothing but contempt for Habibie and never spoke to his former colleague again.
Habibie's Cabinet, which was called the Development Reform Cabinet, employed many of those present in Suharto's last Cabinet. However, to show his reformist intentions, Habibie included United Development Party (PPP) member HamzahHaz.
East Timor
Habibie opposed East Timorese Independence but did consider giving East Timor special autonomy.
In late 1998, John Howard, then Prime Minister of Australia advised Indonesia of a change in Australian Foreign Policy to whit Australia would advocate a referendum in East Timor on independence within a decade. Wishing to avoid the impression that Indonesia ruled East Timor as a colony, Habibiesurprised some by announcing that a referendum, offering choice between special autonomy and independence, would be held in East Timor. ABRI opposed this decision.
On 30 August 1999, the referendum was held and the East Timorese people chose overwhelmingly for Independence. However, the retreat of Indonesian troops from East Timor created the 1999 East Timorese crisis where many were killed.
Suharto's corruption charge
The MPR Special Session in November 1998 declared that an investigation should be made into corruption in Indonesia, focussing particularly on Suharto.
Habibie formed a special commission into corruption which, to the Reformasi, represented a gesture of good faith. Noted lawyer Adnan BuyungNasution was invited to chair the investigation. The broad scope of the terms of reference Nasution suggested was unacceptable to Habibie who then appointed Attorney General and loyalist, Andi Muhammad Ghalib.
On 9 December 1998, Suharto was questioned for three hours by Ghalib. The Habibie Government declared that Suharto had gained his wealth through corruption.
A tape of a telephone conversation between Habibie and Ghalib was made public. It raised concerns about the veracity of the investigation.
The economy
Habibie's Government stabilized the economy in the face of the Asian Financial Crisis and the chaos of the last few months of Suharto's Presidency.
Habibie's government began to make concilliatory gestures towards Chinese Indonesians who, because of their elite status, were targeted in the riots of 1998. In September 1998, Habibie issued a 'Presidential Instruction' forbidding use of the terms pribumi and non-pribumi to differentiate indigenous and non-indigenous Indonesians.
          In May 1999, Habibie issued a further instruction directing that a display of ID Card would suffice as proof of Indonesian citenzenship whereas previously, displaying the 'Letter of Evidence of Republic of Indonesia Citizenship' (SBKRI) was required. Although the Chinese Indonesian community was not mentioned specifically, it is clear these policies were targeted towards Chinese Indonesians who, in the Suharto years, were referred to as non-Pribumi and had to display SBKRI to prove their Indonesian citizenship.
When Habibie was a State Minister for Research and Technology, he created a program called OFP (Overseas Fellowship program), SMDP (Science and Manpower Development Program) and STAID (Science and Technology for Industrial Development). The three programs were to provide scholarships to thousands of students to continue their study for master’s and doctorate program in the United States, Europe, Japan, and others.
End of presidency
Although he had been viewed as leading a transitional government, he seemed determined to continue as president. In May 1999, Golkar announced that Habibie would be their presidential candidate.
At the 1999 MPR General Session in October, Habibie delivered an accountability speech which was a report of what he had achieved during his presidency. Once this was completed, MPR members began voting to decide if they would accept or reject his speech. During this process, pro-Reform members of Golkar broke with the ranks and voted against him, and his accountability speech was rejected 355 votes to 322. Seeing that it would be inappropriate to press his candidacy for the presidency after having his accountability speech rejected, Habibie withdrew his nomination.
Since relinquishing the presidency, he has spent more time in Germany than in Indonesia, however he has during SusiloBambangYudoyono's presidency been active both as a presidential adviser and through The Habibie Centre to ensure democratisation in Indonesia.
In September 2006, he released a book called Detik-Detik Yang Menentukan: JalanPanjang Indonesia MenujuDemokrasi (Decisive Moments: Indonesia's Long Road Towards Democracy). The book recalled the events of May 1998 which led to his rise to the Presidency. In the book, he controversially accuses Lieutenant GeneralPrabowoSubianto, Suharto's son-in-law (at that time) and the Kostrad Commander, of planning a coup d'état against him in May 1998.
Habibie was married to HasriAinunBesari, a medical doctor, from 12 May 1962 until her death on 22 May 2010. The couple had two sons, Ilham Akbar Habibie and Thareq Kemal Habibie. BJ Habibie's brother, Junus Effendi Habibie, was Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands.

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