Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Of Nepotism, Oligarchy And Plutocracy

Hantu Laut

Indonesia under Suharto was the ultimate dictatorial oligarch state.

Indonesia saw rapid economic growth under the new leadership of Suharto.With it came massive corruptions, nepotism,cronyism and rule by the oligarch.Suharto has a small circle of people whom he trusted.

Suharto formidable political skill and intricate nationwide system of patronage kept him in power for 32 years.Like most dictator Suharto run the country as a private enterprise giving business monopolies dominating vast sectors of the country's economic activity to his family members and cronies.There were indications that the family carted away some US$75 billion between 1966 and 1998.

In 1999, Time magazine conservatively estimated that Suharto and his six children still have, after the Asian Financial Crisis, US$15 billion in cash, corporate assets, real estate, jewelry and fine art stashed away all over the globe.Not bad for a man whose salary was US$1764 a month.

Every child of his was given monopoly of some sort.Even grandson has entrepreneurial skill.He gave his grandson monopoly over the supply and sale of beer on the island of Bali.

His controversial playboy son Tommy Suharto was linked to several allegations of corruptions, murder and money laundering.After Suharto's removal from office Tommy was imprisoned on corruption charges but later given remission and released without having to serve his full sentence.He was also implicated in the murder of a Supreme Court judge who sentenced him to imprisonment.

During his reign Suharto has brought significant economic growth to the country, was all powerful and remained unchallenged until his ouster by people's power in 1998. Suharto died in 2008 leaving behind a battered economy and a legacy of human right abuse,corruption and abuse of fiduciary duties.

Indonesia is beginning to recover from the ill effects of the Suharto's legacy.

Malaysia will see less influx of cheap labour from Indonesia over the next ten years as the Indonesian economy improves with higher growth and better earning for the labour market.

Sometimes, oligarchy can be cruel and tyrannical.It can ruin a nation.Rule by the privileged few does not necessary mean bad if leaders put the interests of the nation and its people first.

Singapore has shown that you can run a nation with a tight fist yet bring prosperity to the nation and its people.

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