Changes likely in Indonesian police-military ties

Updated On: Feb 18, 2005

Jakarta–Some six years after the Indonesian military and police became two independent entities, the Ministry of Defence is considering bringing them together under one roof.

Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said on Feb 15 that his ministry was re-assessing the relationship between the Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI) and the National Police (POLRI).

“We’re assessing the coordination and synchronisation between the TNI and the police. The two should be under the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs because this office deals with both defence and security issues,” he told reporters.

The TNI is currently under the Ministry of Defence while the police is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Mr Juwono said with centralised coordination, the two forces could cooperate better in securing and defendingIndonesia, especially in combating activities such as human trafficking and illegal logging.

He added that a draft on a new bill to replace the existing defence law would be submitted to the House of Representatives (DPR) in the next two months.

Mr Juwono denied that the new bill, if passed, would mean that the two institutions would be reunited or given the same status as during the New Order era under former president Suharto.

Underthe New Order, which collapsed in 1998, the police was subsumed within the military, which was then known as ABRI. The all-powerful ABRI was a key political player under the Suharto regime but became tainted by allegations of corruption and human rights’ abuses.

* Major changes in draft of defence, security law (The Jakarta Post, Feb 16)

* Defence Ministry re-assessing TNI-Police relationship (Antara, Feb 16)