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Face-off in Jakarta: Suharto vs the IMF

Bourchier, D. (1999) Face-off in Jakarta: Suharto vs the IMF. In: Aspinall, Edward, Feith, Herb and van Klinken, Gerry, (eds.) The last days of President Suharto. Monash Asia Institute, Clayton, Victoria, pp. 9-11.


President Suharto won another five years in office from the 1,000 member People's Consultative Assembly on 10 March 1998. But his struggle to restore faith in his government's capacity to manage Indonesia's desperate currency crisis is far from over. The global spotlight is on Indonesia and the pictures are of riots, panic buying and Chinese traders grieving in their fire-gutted shops. A collapse of international confidence in the rupiah has sent the currency into free fall, leaving ordinary people angry, bewildered and uncertain about the future. At the heart of the drama is the 76 year old President Suharto and his titanic battle of wills with the world's banker of last resort, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In October 1997, Suharto called in the IMF in an attempt to cushion Indonesia from the effects of the currency crisis then affecting Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. He accepted their advice to close down sixteen badly performing banks without warning and shelve several mega-projects the IMF said Indonesia could not afford.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Monash Asia Institute
Copyright: Monash Asia Institute
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