maubere digital army


A People’s State Against A Capitalist’s State
Mei 24, 2006, 10:38 am
Filed under: Notes From Dili

Grupu Estudu Maubere

When the occupiers left Timor-Leste after having been defeated in the 1999 referendum, the people of Timor-Leste entered a transitional phase to set up the independent state of Timor-Leste through the auspices of the UN. The transition period in Timor-Leste marked the first ever in history of UN's direct involvement in the governance of country.In carrying out its mandate as government, the UN handed the World Bank the job of managing Timor-Leste's reconstruction and development effort by administering the funds donated by UN member states. In October 1999 the World Bank established the Joint Assessment Mission to formulate a basic plan for Timor-Leste's reconstruction. The results of the assessment became the guide to the reconstruction of Timor-Leste. In carrying out the reconstruction program and establishing Timor-Leste's institutions, the leaders of the organisations which fought for independence under the CNRT were distanced and their only role became consultative.Even after sovereignty was handed over in May 2002, the UN and the World Bank ccntinued to hold on to this role. The involvement of the UN member states continued to grow through their advisors positioned within important government institutions as wll as through various programs that they presided directly such as agricultural rehabilitation, education and others. These programs were run by experts from their respective countries based on existing schemes and not based on adequate scientific studies of East Timorese conditions and capacity. The developed countries which dominate the UN and the World Bank are of the opinion that for underdeveloped countries like Timor-Leste, the economy must be handed totally to the private sector for them to develop. The role of the state is limited to assisting the private sector's development. If a state is active in the economic sector, it would be accused of meddling and endangering these countries' economic development.The government of the independent state of RDTL through the leadership of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has strived to turn Timor-Leste into a country truly independent by making its decisions based on the people's interest.

Opposing Privatisation

The government is not quick to accept programs introduced by international institutions, for example on the development of electrical energy. The World Bank, through the Asian Development Bank (ADB) wanted to channel funds but only under the condition that within 15 years, the electrical energy production ought to be privatised. The government rejected this initiative after taking into account the experiences from other poor countries where after having privatised their electricity energy production, electricity became accessible only to the rich. Electrical energy became a commodity which can be marketed to profit electrical companies without considering that the little people also also have a right to electricity for light. Thanks to the refusal to accept World Bank's proposals, today we still face problems relating to electricity services. However the government is close to success because in 2007, electrical energy development will start in order to respond the community's needs.

In the area of transport the Government wants to establish a public transport company so that the remote sucos can communicate with the city to meet their needs, such as marketing their agricultural products. But the World Bank is against this idea. Right now the government wants to set up a state company which will employ the small fishermen as the majority (share holders). Once again the World Bank is against this idea. The government hasn't been able to establish this venture because there isn't enough fund for it. When the revenue from the Timor Sea is adequate, there will be a better chance of establishing these state ventures which has the mission of supporting progress in people's life.

State Petroleum Company and Petroleum Fund

At the moment the government is undertaking plans to set up a state owned oil company. The aim of setting up this company is to make sure that all income from the oil and gas resources is spent towards the people. As part of this the government is studying other state owned oil companies such as that of Malaysia and other countries. The plan to set up this state owned company has been rejected by Timor-Leste businessmen (some of whom are members of Fretilin). These businessmen are cooperating with foreign businesses to compete in gaining access to the oil and gas revenues. In their opinion, the rights to manage these resources should be given to private companies arguing that these companies can manage the resources more efficiently and will benefit the government in terms of taxes and royalties. According to them a state owned company will not be as advantageous because government officials will embezzle the revenues through corruption. This is the same line of argument put forward by the World Bank in defence of privatisation.

It is true that in many countrie state owned companies never benefited the people because of massive corruption perpetrated by government officials. But this has occurred because these countries are rulled by auoritarian regimes. Government activities, including that of the state owned company, are never kept in check by the people. A way of preventing corruption inside the state owned company is through a direct people's control, through their representatives elected through democratic elections such as members of parliament. The Prime Minister understands this issue. That is why the revenues from oil and gas from Timor Sea are kept in the Petroleum Fund which can only be withdrawn by the National Parliament.

The Petroleum Fund is a financial management system drawn by Timor-Leste to manage its oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. At the moment the revenue is being invested in the United States in form of US government bonds. The account is held in the name of Banking and Payment Authority (BPA) and is kept at the Federal Reserve of the United States. For the funds to be withdrawn, it must get the approval from the National Parliament together with a declaration from independent auditors on the revenues from the oil resources. This process is further controlled by a consultative councill called the Petroleum Consultative Councill to be made up by representatives of the National Parliament, non government organisations, religious institutions and the private sector. In the future this institution will also include former presidents of the republic, former speakers of the parliament, former prime ministers, former ministers of finances and former directors of BPA. The method of keeping the revenues at the Federal Reserve and their withdrawal ensures transparency and prevents corruption similar to other oil rich countries.

With respect to the use of revenues from the Petroleum Fund, Mari Alkatiri's political line is very clear and it concerns investments in the public sectors which benefit the people, such as free education, free health services, establishing state owned companies and undertaking new partnership programs with non government organisations.

The revenues generated from oil and gas are the main income for Timor-Leste as well as being the main capital for Timor-Leste's independence. These revenues, which will continue to grow, will empower the government to carry out programs that will benefit the Maubere People. Timor-Leste is following the path taken by Venezuela with regards to the use of oil revenues to empower the people. In Venezuela, the government led by president Hugo Chavez uses the revenues to eradicate illiteracy, provide health services to the people, develop agricultural and industrial cooperatives, as wll as assisting people of other countries in the health sector.

The revenues generated by the oil fields can also become a focal point of internal conflict. Some groups want the revenues used to develop the private sector. Perhaps this issue can become the basis for major contests inside the Fretilin Congress.

Against borrowing

Although there is not enough money to fund development, the Government of Mari Alkatiri has decided against borrowing from the World Bank. In fact the World Bank is inclined to make Timor-Leste a country with debt. This is due to the lessons Prime Minister Alkatiri learnt from other underdeveloped nations where the debts from the World Bank only benefited a small elite. In time, it will be left to the majority of those people to pay off the debts. Furthermore, countries which borrow money will loose their political independence as their political economy will be dictated by the World Bank. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and President Xanana Gusmão have rejected this option for Timor-Leste, an option which would only serve the current short term benefit of the elite at the expense of the future generations.

Health and Education

The Government of Mari Alkatiri recognises that development requires a healthy and educated population. Because of this the government gives priority to educationa and health. This is in line with the International Convention for Social, Economic and Cultural Rights which RDTL has signed, to which the United States, dubbed as the pioneer of human rights, has yet to ratify until today. We must be proud that as a new nation and poor, in just four years we are able to provide health and education services free of charge. Without these free services in health and education, only those with the means will be healthy and will be able to provide education for their children. Those without the means will continue to live with diseases and ignorance.

In providing free health services with a good quality, the government has cooperated with the Cuban government, whose country has high health standards and is welknown throughout the world. The Worl Bank also recognises the quality of health and education of Cuba which is comparable to industrialised countries like the Scandinavians, although Cuba is itself underdeveloped. Cuba has sent many volunteer doctors to assist in the provision of health in many remote sucos. They earn a monthly allowance of US$200. This earning is only a fraction compared to the "salaries" of doctors from other countries who are contracted to work in Timor-Leste for salaries of more than US$3000.

The Government of Timor-Leste sends hundreds of students to Cuba to study medicine. According to government plans, by 2015 Timor-Leste should be able to provide a doctor for every thousand members of the community. This doctor to population ratio will be higher than that of the United States (1 to 1400). The cooperation with Cuba is advantageous to Timor-Leste because the students' scholarships are funded by the Cuban government. The Timor-Leste government only provided funds to buy their return tickets to Cuba. This program indicates that the Department of Health has adequate plans for the health system and knows how to prepare the human resources for it.

The Government is also undertaking programs to improve mother and infant nutritions. Timor-Leste is known as a nation with high mother and infant mortality rate. This program is aimed at reducing the number of mother and infant mortality rate. It has just started in the districts of Liqui ça and Suai in cooperation of WFP and Oxfam Australia. It has been achieving some good results because since it improved the nutrition intake for the participating mother and infant.

Unfortunately in the area of education plans are not yet available for schools, from primary education to university. It is notable however, that non formal vocational education programs provided by the governments of Portugal and Brazil only prepares the participants to market their skills to companies. It does not prepare them to become independent and become a valuable member of the society.

There are a lot of criticism directed towards the area of education and health. This is to be expected as not everything that is good for the peope is tolerated by the elite class. Those who reject free education argue that this method will bring down the quality of schools and students will be less responsible for their education. This line of thinking is inaccurate. In Germany, education services from primary to tertiary are provided for free by the state. But Germany is also know for its high quality education system which attracts many students from countries all over the world to study from technology to philosophy and the arts.

Agriculture

In developing the agricultural sector, the government is trying to improve infrastructures such as irrigation and roads. However there are no discussions at the moment on how to organise communities to improve their production. Perhaps this has to do with the small government budget resulting from Worl Bank policies. An example of this is pasture. The government is not offering to provide free training for the people. According to plans, the World Bank will set up and organisation to train participants to become future trainers. The graduates will deliver these services to the people but at a fee. This clearly shows the World Bank's preference towards privatisation. Essentially the government should provide the services in this area so that it can be accessible to everyone. Otherwise only those with the resources will be able to access it. These measures also occur in other aspects of agriculture.

State: the instrument for the people's liberation vs the instrument to beef up the capitalists

These programs demonstrate that Mari Alkatiri's Government is fighting to make the state of independent Timor-Leste an instrument which serves the people and not the elite class. In the meantime the elite class is making a lot of profit through businesses in cooperation with foreign entrepreneurs, which want the state to become an instrument to serve the interests of the industrialists. They want the government to make an economic policy which can deliver opportunities to them. These objectives compelled them to become involved in political parties in order to define the policies of the state in line with their interests.

The businesses which are involved in these way are parasites. They turn the state into an instrument to exploit a country's resources as well as the people. Much like what has been happening at the moment, the exploitation of these resources is not used to develop activities that will benefit the people. It is used instead to serve for their own pleasures. They will not develop the economy of Timor-Leste because they don't have any long term economic plan. They only want to profit in the short term to support their lifestyle of excess and luxury.

They want Timor-Leste to give more priority to the private sector in its economic policies through the "neoliberal" multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank and other developed nations currently running programs in Timor-Leste. They are of the opinion that a nation's progress can only be achieved when the running of the economy is handed totally to the private sector with the state's only role being that of supporting the private sector. If Timor-Leste economy is completely dominated by the private sector, the people of Timor-Leste will descend into a life of poverty and suffering in every aspect. But these won't be the only consequence, a new minority group will also emerge that will become richer and richer by day while the majority of the Timor-Leste people live in extreme poverty forever.

Mari Alkatiri's policies still remain true to the real objectives of Fretilin in setting the state as the instrument to free the pople from oppression, exploitation, ignorance and disease. These objectives are similar to the ones set out in the first Constitution drafted in 1975: "to dismantle the colonial structures in order to establish a new society free from domination and exploitation" (article 2, RDTL Constitution of 1975).

Right now there is a major clash between opposing ideals about an independent Timor-Leste: a state which serves the people versus a state which serves the interests of the business groups. This competition occurs in different sections, including within the government as well as inside Fretilin party itself. Our role in these debates is to make sure that the ideals of national liberation prevail by fighting for a State which belongs to the people, a people that dreamed of liberation of the Maubere People.

Farol, 16 May 2006.

This is a discussion compiled by the Grupu Estudu Maubere on Fretilin and the policies of the current Government of Timor-Leste. This document was put together on the eve of Fretilin's national congress. It is open for discussion and any comments or ideas are welcomed. Note that Grupu Estudu Maubere is no an organisation of, afiliated or associated with Fretilin. 



59 tahun sang comandante
Mei 21, 2006, 2:07 am
Filed under: Poezia & Arte

Rahung Nasution

mantra matan dook-ai abut mengalun bersama hujan ditujuh penjuru kotamu. namun disini kami masih bersama sepi. kehilangan ruang. sejarah pun masih gemar berkhianat. kami merayakan amuk tsunami. sedang yang tersisa dari perang gerilya, telah kami tuangkan pada gelasgelas sampanye. entah pada eropa, amerika atau santap malam bersama badanbadan donor. sebab kami adalah reruntuhan, perabotperabot rumah tangga, ternakternak tetangga dan mayatmayat yang masih mengapung. di kotamu nela tergesagesa menyambut hening sesaat. sedang malam pun masih beraroma denting hujan, memenuhi rongga paruparumu. dalam sepi. di meja belajarmu berderet bukubuku yang belum usai dibaca. dari balik jendela yang basah, jalanan adalah kesendirian yang memilih bersemayam diruangruang publik dan tamantaman eksebisi. semacam candu yang memikat. secantik bokong shakira dan menawan seperti poster christian ronaldo.

brengsek! matahari hampir menyala

di palacio das cinzas, xanana merayakan 59 tahun ubanuban yang mulai memenuhi kepalanya; lupakan aung san suu kyi. lupakan tiga butir peluru yang dititipkan comandante dai tula, pesanpesan rahasia kamarada koni santana. sebab di dili, gerilyawan falintil sudah dilucuti PBB dan jangan pernah lagi bertanya tentang mimpimimpi francisco borja. simpan rapi dua mata luka yang bukan untukmu sebagai rahasia abadi. bersama belulangbelulang sahe, rosa muki bonaparte, nicolau lobato bersama ribuan soldadu maubere yang terbantai dalam pertempuran biadab. masa depan negeri terselip pada senyum wiranto. sebab dijalanan darah akan mengering, lupakan bahwa pernah ada semacam manusia bernama soeharto.

berkemaslah!

dari istana abu

dari jam pasir yang terus meleleh

ke bali menuju balibar

malammalam sejuk melukis dili

dalam sepi

mimpi

m-a-u-b-e-r-e



‘Failed State’ and the Rise of the Timor-Leste Burgeois
Mei 20, 2006, 1:10 am
Filed under: Notes From Dili

Rahung Nasution

On Wednesday 24 of April 2006, in front of the Palacio das Cinzas (Palace of the Ashes), when two representatives from the protesting petitionary soldiers sacked by the Falintil-Força de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) led by First Lieutenant Gastão Salsinha met with president Xanana Gusmão to present their demands, Eric Campbell reported to Radio Australia: “The march began peacefully but soon turned into a violent ethnic clash as protestors attacked a market run by stallholders from the country’s eastern regions. 591 soldiers form the western regions were dismissed last month after they went AWOL (Absent Without Leave) claiming their commanders were favouring eastern soldiers.”

A day later, Suara Timor Lorosa'e (STL), a national paper published in Dili with a distribution of no more than 1000 copies, wrote two articles on the front page in Tetum and Indonesian, Demo Petisionariu Lao Ho Diak (The Petitioners' Demonstration Went Peacefully) and Keributan Warnai Aksi Demo F-FDTL 'Petisi' (F-FDTL 'Petitioner's' Action Marked by Unrest).

The framing of political messages presented by STL proved to be a fatal editorial blunder so that the two articles they produced are contradictive and cannot be trusted at all. One article reported that the Petitioner's Action Went Peacefully, where as on a separate column, another article reported F-FDTL 'Petitioner's' Action Marked by Unrest.

On Eric Campbell's report, the Australian public is led to believe in a 'fabricated' political event that there is severe unrest in Dili, which Campbell reported as an all out ethnic clash.

On the first day of demonstration by the petitionary F-FDTL soldiers, I covered this event along with tens of local and international journalists. Indeed disturbances did occur around Mercado Lama. A group of people at the market hurled stones against the demonstrators. This incidence occurred as a spontaneous reaction against the calls made by the demonstrator's sympathisers which they rejected, as testified by many journalists on that location. Another possibility is that the stone throwing could have been a concoction to encourage ethnic clash. And if the second assumption is right, then the stone throwing incidence has become a covert political agenda which seeks to create confrontation between the grassroots community of Timor-Leste.

Towards mid April Dili was abound with rumours through words of mouth, through SMS or mobile phones with the objective of fragmenting the Timor-Leste community into two camps: lorosa'e (easterners) versus loromonu (westerners). According to the rumour, this fracture would result in civil war. Initiating in these rumours without any clear indication of their origins, the Dili residents began their exodus by taking refuge in places that are deemed safe or by returning to their own home districts.

In February, before president Xanana Gusmão made his trip to Portugal, petitionary F-FDTL soldiers organised a protest action at the Palacio das Cinzas demanding a resolution to the problems of discrimination which they raised. Other than the President and the National Parliament, they also addressed their demands to foreign diplomatic representations in Timor-Leste. President Xanana urged them to return to their headquarters and to resolve this problem from within the F-FDTL institution. In March, the Chief of Staff of F-FDTL, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak announced the sacking of the 591 members of the F-FDTL under the pretext of indisciplinary action for abandoning the headquarters. The sacking was announced prior to the return of President Xanana Gusmão to Timor-Leste.

Through his state address which was broadcast by Radio no Televisaun Timor-Leste (RTTL), President Xanana viewed the decision taken by the F-FDTL headquarters as unjust; however as the head of the state, the president accepted that decision. In his address president Xanana also mentioned that the Chief of Staff of F-FDTL had said "If you want war, we'll make war." It is not clear when and under what circumstance were these words said. The president also mentioned the existence within F-FDTL that the loromonu were never involved in the struggle and that loromonu is composed of 10 districts, starting from Manatuto until Oecusse. It was from that moment that the issue of discrimination within the military institution raised by the petitionaries evolved to become rumours that there would be a civil war: the three districts from the east (Lospalos, Baucau and Viqueque) against the ten other districts. And different rumours also developed in the wider community. But no civil war erupted in Timor-Leste. The pro and contra with respect to the sacking of the members of F-FDTL continued to develop.

The petitionary soldiers, under the leadership of Gastão Salsinha, held demonstrations and general meetings starting from 24th of April demanding President Xanana to form a commission to investigate discriminatory practices within F-FDTL. On the fourth day, 28th of April, the action which started as a peaceful demonstration ended in violence. According to government's version, 4 civilians were killed; civilian houses were burnt, as well as a number of kiosks, in Taci Tolu and the Taibesi market. Furthermore, another action took place on the 8th of May in the Ermera where a member of the police force from the UIR (Rapid Intervention Unit) was killed. Other than demanding the government to settle the petitionary F-FDTL soldier's problems expeditiously, they also called for a general boycott of local government workplaces in 10 Timor-Leste districts. This call for boycott, launched with the objective of paralysing the government led by Mari Alkatiri never received any response from the public.

On its Tuesday 9th of May 2006 edition, the daily Kompas, a media establishment which has a large following in Indonesia, carried an article about Timor-Leste and "Failed States" which was written by Baiq LSW Wardhani, a staff lecturer in Political Affairs at the University of Airlangga (UNAIR), Surabaya. Once again, STL carelessly re-published this article in its opinion column thanks to the 'magic' of internet download technology. This attitude of this opinion piece was intellectually biased and attempted to change the opinion in Indonesia that the current political atmosphere in Timor-Leste is heading towards a failed state/disrupted state. Regrettably, STL published a piece which was biased and inaccurate from a foreign country about its own country.

Wardhani used the political "turmoil" in Timor-Leste as an indicator by arguing that "if the political turmoil keeps occurring, it will result in the fragmentation of the political elite and bring about a state of powerlessness within the state itself to settle its own conflicts, attracting foreign intervention" [“Jika kekacauan politik ini terjadi secara terus-menerus, maka akan terjadi fragmentasi elit politik yang menimbulkan ketidakmampuan satu negara untuk mengatasi konfliknya sehingga mengundang intervensi pihak asing.”]. In his analysis, Wardhani blamed the foreign countries, especially Australia for its double standards, which he described as an irresponsible "doctor" who has failed to assist the birth of this new nation. On the one side Australia tried to become god by helping, on the other side Australia tried to brutally dominate Timor-Leste's wealth in the Timor Gap, hence Wardhani's accusations.This argument showed the author's ignorance of the actual political situation in Timor-Leste when it underwent the transition towards an independent nation and its aftermath. Or it can be that this argument relied on rumours and hearsays which spread throughout the mass media, be it in Timor-Leste or in foreign media, particularly in Australia and in Indonesia. I myself suspect that this argument came from the disillusionment of the 'nationalist' camp in Indonesia which regretted the "separation" of Timor-Leste from the Republic of Indonesia. Does STL also regret this separation? If we look at the various factors in the East Timorese political events, there are no indications which could compel an examination into a failed or disrupted state. This discussion is irrelevant because the criteria of a failed state (a very market oriented theory) have not permeated the current Timor-Leste politics. Apart from political instability through permanent conflict between political, ethnic, religious and racial groups which occur in a state, the most important indicator which points towards a failed state is the process of systematic poverty. Of the various policies set out by the government of Timor-Leste in its development program, there are no indications to suggest that the state is powerless in its provision of public services. Evidently, Wardhani's analysis depended solely on the rumours which float around the mass media.
When the unrest took place on the 28th of April, with a number of vehicles set alight in front of the Palácio do Governo, there was an important event which nearly escaped media interest: President Xanana Gusmão and Prime Minister Alkatiri were at Hotel Timor to participate in a seminar organised by Forum Empresario Timor-Leste (Entrepreneur's Forum of Timor-Leste). It was an entrepreneur's forum supported by the US government's development body, USAID, through the Dezemvolve Setor Privada (Private Sector Development) program.

In the middle of the 'crisis' facing the Mari Alkatiri's government, on the 8th of May, the Minister for Development and Economy, Abel Ximenes (Larissina) resigned. Although there are sections which noticed the differences between Abel Larissina and Mari Alkatiri on the direction the nation is taking, Abel has denied it. Abel Larissina stated that he is concentrating on Fretilin to strengthen the party and as an entrepreneur, he will develop the strength of the private sector.

This week, 17-19th of May, Fretilin will hold its II National Congress. Abel Larissina and his group are an influential force in the congress which will elect and install a new president and a new general secretary of Fretilin, posts held currently by Lu Olo and Mari Alkatiri.As a new nation, Timor-Leste was formed through the involvement of various countries and was left with a range of lingering issues which require swift resolutions. The political differences in the formation of various state institutions suffered "stagnation" and Timor-Leste was "forced" to accept different policies which later on resulted in problems. Meanwhile, the ongoing process of reconciliation was also not responding to the demands for justice, which various sections struggled for.
One of the UN legacies which are quite problematic is the establishment of the armed forces institution, the F-FDTL. The UN established the armed forces of Timor-Leste following a study prepared by the King's College (England) in May 2000 and through the United Nations' Transition Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) Regulation No. 1 year 2001 (UNTAET/REG/2001/1). The F-FDTL institution was established through an agreement from the National Council which at the time was headed by Xanana Gusmão.

The recruitment process and the process of determining the military posts resulted in disappointment from various sections who viewed this process as unfair (Buletin La'o Hamutuk, Vol. 6 No. 1-2 April 2005). The transformation of Falintil, a national liberation army, into a regular army destroyed the relationship which evolved along the struggle. The relationship between the armed guerrilla fighter and the people along the history of resistance can be compared to that between the fish and the water. The fundamental relationship such as this was never considered as important in the process of establishing the F-FDTL institution.

The recruitment disadvantaged many guerrilla fighters who had for many years participated in the armed struggle, but could not pass the entry test for F-FDTL because of health and height prerequisites. Another problem was to do with military posts. There are those who had been commanders in the armed resistance but were made ordinary soldiers inside F-FDTL, whereas the younger recruit who had been helping them working as estafeta was elevated to the post of a captain. It's not clear if this has to do with the level of education or because of other reasons which are not connected to the previous Falintil struggle.

In the initial stages of the recruitment, F-FDTL recruited 600 people from guerrilla units. The former Falintil guerrillas who were not successful were integrated into the community through a Reintegration Program which was run by the IOM (International Organisation of Migration) and funded by the World Bank.

The process of reintegration also caused problems which were becoming more and more delicate. Prior to returning to their communities, the former Falintil guerrillas were equipped with crash courses and were given financial assistance to set up a small business. Many of the small businesses failed because of the limited management capacity. It could also be argued that their daily life while resisting in the jungle consisted only of matters related to war strategies. Mari Alkatiri himself, on the program Visaun Governu on RTTL, at the start of this month, voiced his dissatisfaction towards the process carried out in that moment.

In the meantime, the training and the education programs in F-FDTL were handed to foreign countries, especially from Australia and Portugal, which agreed to provide funding and send in military instructors.

If we look at the problematic process of establishing the F-FDTL institution, the demands of the 591 petitionary F-FDTL soldiers, which took on the issues of discrimination, do have a basis. However the issue of discrimination based on regionalism that they raised, soldiers from eastern regions versus soldiers from western regions, seemed to have missed the point. In fact, in the process of establishing this institution, there were many former guerrillas who chose not to be involved and returned to the community as a civilian because of their dissatisfaction for the process or personal choice. These former Falintil guerrillas could have come a western or an eastern region, for example the former commander Samba 9, secretary Renan Selac, commander Ernesto Dudu, commander Eli Foho Rai Boot, and others.

There is no basis for dumping these UN legacies or other past unresolved issues on the government of Mari Alkatiri. It is this type of misinterpretation that is frequently published in the Timor-Leste and Australian mass media, which view Mari Alkatiri's government as a source of all of the problems. The mass media does not recognise that in fact Alkatiri does attempt to minimise or even remove the overseas' forces which dominated the decision making in Timor-Leste for sometime.

Among the critiques directed at Alkatiri's government so far, be it from his own comrades within Fretilin or from the opposition groups, we have not seen a vision or an 'alternative' model for the development of this new nation. The attacks aimed at Mari Alkatiri often come from the disappointments and the failure to accommodate the bourgeois class in Timor-Leste. Even worse, there are sections that chose instead to raise the issue of his nationality, his race and his religion, which is Islamic.

The liberal democracy promoted by default by the UN turned political parties into electoral machines. When a party becomes an electoral machine, in this case Fretilin, it can't escape the democratic model in which popular participation is removed.

In 1975 Fretilin integrated the struggle for national liberation with people's liberation through cooperative programs, eradication of illiteracy and development of a national culture. At that time Fretilin became a people's political force with a clear vision about the future of an independente Timor-Leste. Unfortunately, these popular ideas which flourished in the 1970s are considered by many sections within Fretilin as outdated ideas. There is but a small Fretilin elite who continue to defend them, one of them is Mari Alkatiri.

Amid Fretilin's various shortcomings and the crushing different foreign interests, Mari Alkatiri struggled to find an 'alternative' path to the development of Timor-Leste. Indeed there is no room politically to follow the paths of Venezuela, Brazil or Bolivia. Nevertheless, having learnt from other countries, including Indonesia, Mari Alkatiri did not direct Timor-Leste towards borrowing from the World Bank or the IMF. This policy was not only opposed by the pro-market opposition parties, but it was also opposed by his comrades in Fretilin. At the moment a large number of Fretilin elite hold important positions in Mari Alkatiri's cabinet, one of them is Abel Ximenes Larissina, who later resigned.

Alkatiri's government's three priority sectors are education, agriculture and health which also became a target for other critics. Alkatiri's policy of bilateral cooperation with the governments of Cuba and China came frequently under scrutiny. Mari Alkatiri is accused wanting to tilt this new nation closer to China and Cuba which are 'communists'.

Through Timor-Leste's Departments of Health and Education, the government has sent hundreds of students to study medicine in Cuba; and Cuba has sent volunteer doctors to Timor-Leste to assist in the provision of health services in the clinics which are spread through out the thirteen districts.

In the non-formal sector of education, in response to an illiteracy rate of over 50% in the Timor-Leste community, the government is carrying out a program of illiteracy eradication. The Cuban government has sent mass education trainers who will be working alongside the local teachers at the community level.

Not surprisingly the negative voices coming from the opposition groups against Mari Alkatiri are reinforced through the political role played by the media. Even through the standards of a liberal media, the reporting by the Timor-Leste mass media on Mari Alkatiri and his policies are quite disturbing.

None of the criticism addressed to Mari Alkatiri—'who wants to tilt Timor-Leste closer to Cuba and China'—through mass media reports could be substantiated by the parties involved. For example in its reports about the Cuban medical services as having low standards, the newspaper never even interviewed the patients who received care from the Cuban doctors and nor interviewed the doctors themselves.

Other than bilateral cooperation with Cuba and China, actually the government of Timor-Leste also receives different types of assistance from other Western countries. In the justice and education sectors, the governments of Australia, the US and Portugal also provided financial assistance. Other Western government establishments also provide scholarships to Timor-Leste university students. If we make a comparison, the scholarships offered by these Western countries usually go to students who have finished their education in areas with little use to the community, and many of their graduates do not work for the people but work for international institutions operating in Timor-Leste.

A group of activists composed of university students and NGO workers in Dili, whom are known as the Farol Group, often 'labelled' as close to Mari Alkatiri because of their ideas and beliefs, recognises that the latest political contest is heading towards the consolidation of the bourgeois elite to remove Mari Alkatiri; be it an internal contest within Fretilin or at the upcoming 2007 general elections. This view was put forward at a discussion last Saturday 13th of May, which took place at the Institutu Edukasauun Popular to discuss the latest political development in Timor-Leste.

Not all of Mari Alkatiri's policies are supported by the Farol Group. The immigration act and the defamation law have caused apprehension among this group of activists. However if we look at the policies for the exploration of Timor-Leste's resources through the petroleum revenue from the Timor Gap, this group of activists is of the opinion it has a strong basis for.

In the Petroleum Laws, the Alkatiri government has attempted to avoid the 'resource curse' which has affected many poverty stricken countries rich in resources and oil, by creating a Petroleum Fund, an institution, which will exploit the national resources, known as the "Norway Plus".

Through the Petroleum Fund, 90% of the national wealth obtained from oil and gas is required to be invested for use in the long term. This requirement is aimed at avoiding the various problems which generally affected countries rich in oil and gas that suffered from domestic inflation which weakened their competitiveness to improve their national revenue.

The revenue from the Petroleum Fund will be stored into a bank account controlled by the BPA (Banking and Payment Authority). A parliamentary decree and a declaration by an independent audit are required in order to use the fund.

Other than managing the oil and gas resources resulting from the cooperation between Australian and Timor-Leste governments, the Alkatiri government also plans to set up a state venture which will cooperate with China, Malaysia and Brazil. This venture will be set up so that Timor-Leste can gain a bigger share of the revenue from oil fields currently in dispute with Australia.

At the moment Timor-Leste is one of the only poorest countries in the world that has no debt. Ten percent of the revenue from the Petroleum Fund will be used to develop education, health and agricultural programs through public sector investment.

The health services in Timor-Leste are free, as well as the cost of education from primary to secondary levels. This education policy will be implemented from the coming month of June.

In order to implement these development programs, the Alkatiri government is preparing a new model for cooperation which will involve the community sectors (local governments, the church and the civil society) through a New Partnership Program.

On the other hand, the bourgeois class, which is undergoing political consolidation, which during the transition period benefited from the exploitation of donor funds through the World Bank via the distribution of tenders to the private sector, is yearning for something different. And offcourse, with policies as outlined above, their interests will be hampered. Truly, a very alarming contest!

This is an unofficial translation of the original article, which was written originally in Indonesian Malay. The translator is responsible for all errors made in the translation. Translator: Alex Tilman (alextilman@gmail.com).



‘Failed State’ dan Kebangkitan Borjuasi Timor-Leste
Mei 15, 2006, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Catatan Dari Dili

Rahung Nasution

Pada hari Rabu, 24 April 2006, dari depan Palácio das Cinzas (Istana Abu), ketika dua utusan demonstran tentara petisioner yang dipecat markas Falintil-Força de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) yang dipimpin oleh Letnan Satu Gastão Salsinha bertemu dengan presiden Xanana Gusmão untuk menyampaikan tuntutan mereka, Eric Campbell melaporkan pada Radio Australia: “The march began peacefully but soon turned into a violent ethnic clash as protestors attacked a market run by stallholders from the country’s eastern regions. 591 soldiers form the western regions were dismissed last month after they went AWOL (Absent Without Leave) claiming their commanders were favouring eastern soldiers.” [Barisan demonstrasi itu dimulai dengan damai tetapi segera berubah menjadi bentrokan etnik yang keras ketika para pemrotes menyerang satu pasar yang para penjualnya berasal dari wilayah timor negeri itu. 591 prajurit dari wilayah barat dipecat pada bulan lalu setelah mereka meninggalkan markas di luar cuti, menuduh para komandan mereka mengistimewakan prajurit dari wilayah timur].

Keesokan harinya, Suara Timor Lorosa’e (STL), koran nasional terbitan Dili yang bertiras tidak lebih dari 1000 eksemplar, menulis dua berita pada halaman utama dalam bahasa Tetun dan Indonesia, Demo Petisionariu Lao Ho Diak (Demo Petisioner Berjalan Baik) dan Keributan Warnai Aksi Demo F-FDTL ‘Petisi’.

Proses pengemasan pesan (Framing of political messages) yang dilakukan STL menunjukkan kecerobohan redaksional yang fatal sehingga kedua berita yang mereka produksi menjadi kontradiktif dan sebagai berita sama sekali tidak bisa dipercaya. Pada satu berita Demo Petisioner Berjalan Baik, sementara pada kolom di bawahnya Keributan Warnai Aksi Demo F-FDTL.

Pada kasus laporan Eric Campbell, publik di Australia digiring pada satu ‘rekayasa’ peristiwa politik bahwa di Dili sedang terjadi satu kekacauan yang luar biasa, yang Campbell laporkan sebagai bentrokan etnik (ethnic clash) yang keras.

Pada hari pertama demontrasi tentara petisioner F-FDTL, saya meliput peristiwa tersebut bersama puluhan jurnalis lokal dan internasional. Memang terjadi keributan di sekitar Mercado Lama. Sekelompok orang yang berada di wilayah pasar melakukan pelemparan ke arah demonstran. Peristiwa ini terjadi disebabkan reaksi spontan karena ungkapan-ungkapan simpatisan demonstran tidak bisa mereka terima, seperti yang diyakini banyak jurnalis yang berada di lokasi kejadian. Kemungkinan lainnya, pelemparan itu merupakan satu rekayasa agar terjadi benturan etnik. Dan Jika asumsi kedua ini yang benar, maka peristiwa pelemparan itu sudah menjadi agenda politik terselubung yang ingin membenturkan masyarakat bawah Timor-Leste.

Menjelang pertengahan April di Dili beredar rumor lewat mulut ke mulut, melalui SMS ataupun telepon selular yang isinya memecah-belah masyarakat Timor-Leste ke dalam dua kubu: lorosa’e (bagian timur) versus loromonu (bagian barat). Menurut rumor tesebut, perpecahan ini akan memicu terjadinya perang saudara. Bermula dari rumor yang tidak jelas asal-usulnya ini, penduduk Dili pun mulai melakukan eksodus dengan mengungsi ke tempat-tempat yang dianggap aman ataupun kembali ke kampung halaman di distrik asal masing-masing.

Pada bulan Februari, sebelum presiden Xanana Gusmão melakukan lawatannya ke Portugal, tentara petisioner F-FDTL melakukan aksi protes ke Palácio das Cinzas menuntut penyelesaian masalah diskriminasi yang mereka persoalkan. Selain ke Presiden dan Parlemen Nasional, mereka juga mengirimkan tembusan tuntutan mereka ke keduataan-kedutaan asing di Timor Leste. Presiden Xanana meminta mereka kembali ke markas dan menyelesaikan persoalan ini dalam institusi F-FDTL. Bulan Maret, Panglima F-FDTL Brigadir Jenderal Taur Matan Ruak mengumumkan pemecatan 591 anggota F-FDTL dengan alasan indisipliner meninggalkan markas. Pemecatan itu diumumkan menjelang kepulangan presiden Xanana Gusmão ke Timor-Leste.

Melalui pidato kenegaraan yang disiarkan Radio no Televisaun Timor-Leste (RTTL), presiden Xanana menilai keputusan markas F-FDTL tidak adil, namun sebagai kepala negara, presiden menerima keputusan tersebut. Dalam pidatonya presiden Xanana juga mengatakan bahwa Panglima F-FDTL mengatakan, “Kalau perang, ya perang.” Tidak jelas kapan dan dalam konteks apa ucapan itu disampaikan. Presiden juga menyebut adanya anggapan dalam F-FDTL bahwa orang loromonu tidak berjuang dan loromono itu adalah 10 distrik, mulai Manatuto sampai Oecusse. Mulai saat itulah, persoalan diskriminasi dalam insititusi militer yang diangkat petiosioner ini berkembang menjadi desas-desus akan pecahnya perang saudara: tiga distrik di timur (Lospalos, Viqueque, dan Baucau) melawan sepuluh distrik lainnya. Dan berbagai rumor pun mulai berkembang di kalangan luas. Tetapi tidak terjadi perang saudara di Timor Leste. Pro-kontra mengenai pemecatan anggota F-FDTL tersebut terus berkembang.

Para tentara petisioner, di bawah pimpinan Gastão Salsinha, selanjutnya mengadakan demonstrasi dan rapat umum mulai 24 April menuntut agar Presiden Xanana membentuk satu komisi untuk menyelidiki diskriminasi dalam F-FDTL. Pada hari keempat, 28 April, demonstrasi yang semula damai berakhir dengan kekerasan. Menurut versi pemerintah 4 orang sipil meninggal, terjadi pembakaran rumah-rumah penduduk dan sejumlah kios, di Taci Tolu dan pasar Taibesi. Aksi lanjutan pada 8 Mei yang lalu berlangsung distrik Ermera dengan menewaskan satu anggota polisi dari kesatuan UIR (Unit Gerak Cepat). Selain menuntut pemerintah menyelesaikan persoalan tentara petisioner F-FDTL secepatnya, mereka juga menyerukan pomboikotan administrasi pemerintahan lokal di sepuluh distrik Timor-Leste. Dan aksi pemboikotan yang ingin melumpuhkan pemerintahan Mari Alkatiri itu tidak direspon masyarakat.

Pada edisi Selasa 9 Mei 2006, harian Kompas, satu rezim media yang punya pengaruh besar di Indonesia, memuat satu artikel Timor-Leste dan "Negara Gagal" yang ditulis Baiq LSW Wardhani, seorang staf pengajar Political Affairs di Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR), Surabaya. Sekali lagi, secara ceroboh STL mempublikasikan kembali artikel ini dalam kolom opini mereka melalui ‘keajaibain’ teknologi download internet. Opini tersebut merupakan satu penyikapan intelektual yang bias dan berusaha menggiring opini di Indonesia bahwa peristiwa politik aktual di Timor-Leste sedang mengarah pada kegagalan sebuah negara (failed state/disrupted state). Konyolnya, STL memuat kembali tulisan yang bias dan tidak akurat dari luar negeri mengenai negerinya sendiri.

Wardhani menggunakan indikator “kekacauan” politik di Timor-Leste dengan berargumen “jika kekacauan politik ini terjadi secara terus-menerus, maka akan terjadi fragmentasi elit politik yang menimbulkan ketidakmampuan satu negara untuk mengatasi konfliknya sehingga mengundang intervensi pihak asing.” Dalam pemaparannya Wardhani menyalahkan sikap asing, khususnya sikap mendua Australia yang dia istilahkan sebagai “dokter” yang tidak bertanggungjawab yang membidani kelahiran negara baru ini. Di satu sisi Australia mencoba jadi dewa penolong dan di sisi lain secara serakah ingin menguasai kekayaan Timor-Leste di Celah Timor, demikian tuduh Wardhani.

Argumen ini menunjukkan ketidaktahuan penulisnya pada situasi politik aktual di Timor-Leste ketika menjalani transisi menuju negara merdeka dan sesudahnya. Atau bisa jadi argumen ini juga bersumber dari rumor dan desas desus yang beredar di media massa baik di Timor-Leste ataupun media luar khususnya di Australia dan Indonesia. Saya sendiri curiga, argumen ini merupakan kekecewaan kaum ‘nasionalis’ di Indonesia yang menyesalkan “berpisahnya” Timor-Leste dari Republik Indonesia. Apakah STL juga menyesalkan perpisahan ini?

Jika kita melihat berbagai faktor peristiwa politik di Timor-Leste untuk memulai diskusi tentang negara gagal (failed state/disrupted state), faktor-faktor yang mendukungnya belum ada sehingga menjadikan diskusi ini tidak relevan. Karena kategori-kategori negara gagal (satu teori yang sangat pro-pasar), tidak terjadi pada politik aktual di Timor-Leste. Selain instabilitas politik melalui konflik parmanen antar kelompok-kelompok politik, etnis, agama, dan ras yang terjadi di sebuah negara, indikator terpenting yang menjurus pada gagalnya sebuah negara adalah proses pemiskinan sistematis. Dari berbagai kebijakan yang diterapkan pemerintah Timor-Leste dalam program pembangunannya, belum menunjukkan ketidakmampuan negara untuk menyediakan pelayanan publik. Jadi maklum saja, jika analisis Wardhani tersebut hanya berdasarkan rumor yang berkembang di media massa.

Ketika kerusuhan mulai berlangsung, 28 April, dengan pembakaran sejumlah kenderaan di depan Palácio do Governo, ada satu peristiwa penting yang nyaris luput dari perhatian media massa: presiden Xanana Gusmão dan Perdana Menteri Alkatiri sedang berada di Hotel Timor mengikuti seminar yang diselenggarakan Forum Empresario Timor-Leste (Forum Pengusaha Timor-Leste). Satu forum pengusaha yang didukung oleh badan bantuan pembangunan pemerintah Amerika Serikat, USAID melalui program Dezemvolve Setor Privada (Pengembangan Sektor Swasta).

Di tengah ‘krisis’ yang dihadapi pemerintah Mari Alkatiri, pada tanggal 8 Mei, Menteri Pembangunan dan Perekonomian Abel Ximenes (Larissina) mengundurkan diri. Meskipun sebagian kalangan melihat adanya perbedaan Abel Larissina dengan Mari Alkatiri mengenai arah negara ini, Abel membantah hal ini. Abel Larissina hanya mengatakan bahwa dia akan kembali ke Fretilin untuk memperkuat partai dan sebagai pengusaha akan mengembangkan penguatan sektor swasta.

Dalam minggu ini, 16-19 Mei, Fretilin akan melangsungkan Kongres Nasional II. Abel Larissina dan kelompoknya merupakan satu kekuatan yang berpengaruh pada kongres yang akan memilih dan menetapkan kembali presiden dan sekretaris jenderal Fretilin, yang saat ini dijabat Lu Olo-Mari Alkatiri.

Sebagai negara baru Timor-Leste dibentuk dengan melibatkan campur tangan negara-negara asing dan menyisakan berbagai persoalan yang menuntut untuk segera diselesaikan. Perdebatan politik dalam pembentukan institusi-instiusi negara mengalami ‘kemandegan’ dan Timor-Leste ‘dipaksa’ untuk menerima berbagai kebijakan yang kemudian menimbulkan permasalahan. Sementara itu, proses rekonsiliasi yang berlangsung juga tidak menjawab tuntutan keadilan yang diperjuangkan banyak kalangan.

Satu warisan PBB yang cukup bermasalah adalah pembentukan institusi angkatan bersenjata F-FDTL. PBB membentuk angkatan bersenjata Timor-Leste mengacu pada satu studi yang dilakukan oleh King’s College (Inggris) pada bulan Mei 2000 dan melalui Regulasi United Nation Transition Adminstration in East Timor (UNTAET) No. 1 tahun 2001 (UNTAET/REG/2001/1). Institusi F-FDTL dibentuk melalui persetujuan dari National Council (Dewan Nasional) yang saat itu dikepalai oleh Xanana Gusmão.

Proses rekrutmen dan pemberian pangkat mengakibatkan kekecewaan di berbagai kalangan yang menganggap proses tersebut tidak adil (Buletin La’o Hamutuk, Vol. 6 No. 1-2 April 2005). Transformasi Falintil sebagai tentara pembebasan nasional menjadi tentara reguler menghancurkan relasi yang berlangsung selama masa perjuangan. Hubungan antara gerilyawan bersenjata dengan rakyat yang selama ini didentikan dengan ikan dan air. Hubungan fundamental semacam ini tidak dianggap penting dalam proses pembentukan institusi F-FDTL.

Rekrutmen ini merugikan banyak gerilyawan yang sudah bertahun-tahun berpartisipasi dalam perjuangan bersenjata, tetapi tidak lulus dalam ujian masuk F-FDTL karena prasyarat kesehatan dan tinggi badan. Masalah lain adalah kepangkatan. Ada komandan di hutan yang dalam F-FDTL mendapatkan pangkat serdadu biasa, sementara pemuda yang selama ini membantunya sebagai estafeta malah berpangkat kapten. Entah karena alasan tingkat pendidikan atau sebab lainnya, yang tidak terkait dengan perjuangan Falintil sebelumnya.

Pada perekrutan tahap awal, F-FDTL merekrut 600 orang dari satuan-satuan gerilyawan Falintil. Mantan-mantan gerilyawan Falintil yang tidak masuk dalam daftar perekrutan diintegrasikan ke dalam masyarakat melalui satu Program Reintegration yang dikelola oleh IOM (International Organization of Migration) dan didanai Bank Dunia.

Proses reintegrasi ini juga mengakibatkan persoalan yang semakin pelik. Sebelum dikembalikan pada masyakarat, mantan-mantan gerilyawan Falintil dibekali dengan kursus-kursus kilat dan diberi bantuan dana untuk berdikari membuka usaha kecil. Banyak dari usaha-usaha kecil yang tidak bisa berjalan karena kemampuan managemen usaha sangat terbatas. Bisa jadi juga karena kesaharian mereka ketika masih bergerilya di hutan terbiasa dengan urusan-urusan strategi peperangan. Mari Alkatiri sendiri, pada program Visaun Governu di RTTL, diawal bulan ini, mengungkapkan ketidaksetujuannya pada proses yang berlangsung ketika itu.
Sementara itu, program pelatihan dan pendidikan di F-FDTL diserahkan pada negara-negara asing terutama dari Australia dan Portugal yang bersedia memberi dana dan juga mendatangkan pelatih-pelatih militer.

Jika kita melihat dari proses pembentukan institusi F-FDTL yang bermasalah ini, tuntutan 591 anggota F-FDTL petisioner yang mengangkat persoalan diskriminasi memang ada dasarnya. Namun diskriminasi yang dipersoalkan dengan mengangkat isu regionalisme, tentara wilayah timur versus tentara wilayah barat sepertinya tidak tepat dan salah sasaran. Kenyataannya, dari proses pembentukan institusi ini banyak bekas-bekas gerilwayan yang memilih mundur dan kembali ke masyarakat menjadi orang sipil karena ketidaksenangan mereka pada proses ini ataupun karena pilihan mereka sendiri. Mantan-mantan gerilyawan Falintil ini bisa berasal dari wilayah barat maupun wilayah timur, seperti eks Comandante Samba 9, Secretário Renan Selac, Comandante Ernesto Dudu, Comandante Eli Foho Rai Boot, dan lain sebagainya.

Jika persoalan warisan PBB maupun persoalan-persoalan sejarah yang belum diselasaikan ini hanya semata-mata ditimpakan pada pemerintahan Mari Alkatiri, ini tidak ada dasarnya. Pandangan yang salah sasaran inilah yang sering diekspos pada media massa Timor Leste dan Australia yang memandang pemerintah Mari Alkatiri sebagai segala sumber persoalan. Media massa tidak melihat bahwa Alkatiri justru berusaha meminimalkan atau bahkan menyingkirkan kekuatan-kekuatan asing yang selama ini mendominasi pembuatan keputusan di Timor-Leste.

Di tengah berbagai kritik yang ditujukan pada pemerintah Alkatiri, baik dari kamarada-kamaradanya di Fretilin maupun dari barisan oposisi, sejauh ini kita belum melihat satu visi dan satu model ‘alternatif’ bagi pembangunan negara baru ini. Serangan-serangan yang ditujukan pada Mari Alkatiri cenderung karena kekecewaan dan tidak terakomodirnya kepentingan kelas borjuis Timor-Leste. Lebih parah lagi, ada kalangan yang mempersoalkan kewarganegaraan, ras dan agamanya yang islam.

Sistem demokrasi liberal yang dipromosikan PBB secara otomatis menjadikan partai-partai politik menjadi mesin elektoral. Partai sebagai mesin elektoral, dalam hal ini Fretilin, akhirnya juga terjebak dalam model demokrasi yang meminggirkan partisipasi rakyat.

Pada tahun 1975 Fretilin mengintegrasikan perjuangan pembebasan nasional dengan cita-cita pembebasan rakyat melalui program koperasi, pemberantasan buta huruf dan pengembangan kebudayaan nasional. Saat itu Fretilin menjadi satu kekuatan politik rakyat dengan visi yang jelas tentang masa depan Timor-Leste yang merdeka. Sayangnya, ide-ide popular yang berkembang di tahun 1970-an ini dianggap banyak kalangan di Fretilin sebagai ide yang sudah usang. Hanya sebagian kecil elit Fretilin yang terus ingin mengembangkanya, salah satunya adalah Mari Alkatiri.

Berbagai kelemahan yang dihadapi Fretilin dan gempuran berbagai kepentingan asing, Mari Alkatiri mencoba mencari satu jalan ‘alternatif’ bagi pembangunan Timor-Leste. Memang tidak ada ruang politik untuk mengikuti jalan Venezuela, Brazil atau Bolivia. Namun belajar dari kegagalan negara-negara lain, termasuk Indonesia, Mari Alkatiri tidak menjerumuskan Timor-Leste dengan menghutang pada Bank Dunia dan IMF. Kebijakan ini bukan hanya ditentang oleh barisan oposisi yang pro-pasar, namun juga oleh kamarada-kamarada di Fretilin. Saat ini sebagian besar dari elit Fretilin menduduki posisi-posisi penting di kabinet Mari Alkatiri, salah satunya adalah Abel Ximenes Larissina yang kemudian mengundurkan diri.

Tiga sektor prioritas pembangunan pamerintah Alkatiri yakni sektor pendidikan, pertanian, dan kesehatan juga menjadi sasaran kritik lainya. Kebijakan kerjasama bilateral dengan pemerintah Kuba dan Cina sering dipersoalkan. Mari Alkatiri dituding ingin menggiring negara baru ini mendekati Cina dan Kuba yang ‘komunis.’

Melalui Departemen Kesehatan dan Pendidikan Timor-Leste, pemerintah mengirimkan ratusan pelajar untuk belajar kedokteran ke Kuba dan secara voluntir pemerintah Kuba mendatangkan dokter-dokter ke Timor-Leste untuk membantu pelayanan kesehatan pada klinik-klinik yang tersebar luas di tiga belas distrik.

Pada sektor pendidikan non-formal, untuk mengatasi 50% lebih masyarakat Timor-Leste yang masih buta huruf, saat ini pemerintah menjalankan satu program pemberantasan buta huruf. Pemerintah Kuba mendatangkan pelatih-pelatih pendidikan popular yang akan bekerjasama dengan tenaga-tenaga pengajar di komunitas.

Tentu saja suara-suara miring yang ditujukan barisan oposisi pada Mari Alkatiri didukung dan diperkuat melalui peran politik media. Mengamati standar pemberitaan media yang liberal sekalipun, pemberitaan media massa di Timor Leste terhadap Mari Alkatiri dan kebijakannya cukup mengkhawatirkan.

Kritik yang dialamatkan pada Mari Alkatiri—‘yang ingin menggiring Timor Leste mendekati Kuba dan Cina’—melalui pemberitaan media massa, tidak satupun yang dikonfirmasikan pada pihak-pihak yang bersangkutan. Misalnya, dalam menulis mengenai rendahnya mutu pelayanan dokter Kuba, surat kabar tidak mewawancarai pasien yang pernah dirawat para dokter Kuba apalagi mewawancarai dokter-dokter itu sendiri.

Selain kerjasama bilateral dengan Kuba dan Cina, sebenarnya pemerintah Timor-Leste juga menerima berbagai macam bentuk bantuan dari negara-negara Barat. Pada sektor peradilan dan pendidikan, pemerintah Australia, Amerika dan Portugal juga memberikan bantuan dana. Badan-badan dana pemerintah negara Barat juga menyediakan beasiswa bagi mahasiswa-mahasiswa Timor-Leste. Tapi kalau kita bandingkan, beasiswa dari negara-negara Barat itu biasanya diberikan kepada para mahasiswa yang menempuh pendidikan di bidang-bidang yang kurang bermanfaat bagi rakyat dan kebanyakan lulusannya bukan bekerja untuk rakyat tetapi untuk lembaga-lembaga internasional yang ada di Timor-Leste.

Sekelompok aktivis yang terdiri dari mahasiswa dan pekerja NGO Dili, yang dikenal dengan Kelompok Farol yang secara ide dan pemikiran sering ‘dicap’ dekat Mari Alkatiri, melihat pertarungan politik yang terjadi saat ini mengarah pada konsolidasi elit borjuis untuk menyingkirkan Mari Alkatiri. Baik pada pertarungan internal Fretilin maupun pada pemilu 2007 yang akan datang. Pendapat ini mengemuka pada satu diskusi hari Sabtu, 13 Mei lalu, yang berlangsung di Institutu Edukasaun Popular untuk membahas perkembangan politik terakhir di Timor-Leste.

Tidak semua kebijakan Mari Alkatiri didukung Kelompok Farol. Regulasi yang mengatur keimigrasian dan undang-undang defamasi meresahkan kalangan aktivis ini. Namun jika kita melihat kebijakan pengelolaan kekayaan Timor-Leste yang diperoleh dari pendapatan minyak dan gas di Celah Timor, pendapat kaum aktivis ini memiliki dasar argumen yang kuat.

Dalam regulasi Undang-Undang Perminyakan, pemerintah Alkatiri mencoba mengatasi ‘malapetaka kekayaan sumberdaya’ yang sering dihadapi negara-negara yang kaya akan sumber daya minyak namun mengalami kemiskinan parmanen dengan membentuk satu insitusi Petroleum Fund. Satu institusi yang akan mengelola kekayaan negara ini dipromosikan sebagai “Norwegia Plus”.

Melalui Petroleum Fund, 90 % kekayaan negara yang diperoleh dari minyak dan gas akan diinvestasikan ke dalam obligasi untuk kepentingan jangka panjang. Obligasi ini bertujuan menghindari berbagai permasalahan yang umum dihadapi negara-negara yang kaya minyak dan gas namun mengalami inflasi ekonomi domestik yang memperlemah kompentisi mereka untuk memperbaiki kembali pendapatan negara mereka.

Pendapatan yang ada pada Petroleum Fund akan dimasukkan secara langsung ke dalam satu rekening yang akan dikontrol oleh BPA (Otoritas Perbankan dan Pembayaran). Untuk penggunaan dana tersebut diperlukan persetujuan dari Parlemen Nasional dan harus melalui satu deklarasi dari tim auditor independen.

Selain managemen kekayaan minyak dan gas yang diperoleh dari pendapatan hasil kerjasama pemerintah Australia dan Timor Leste, pemerintah Alkatiri juga berencana mendirikan satu perusahan negara yang akan bekerjasama dengan Cina, Malaysia, dan Brazil. Perusahan ini dipersiapkan agar Timor-Leste mendapatkan haknya yang lebih besar dari ladang-ladang minyak yang saat ini masih disengketaan dengan Australia.

Saat ini Timor-Leste menjadi salah satu negara miskin di dunia yang tidak memiliki hutang. 10 % yang terdapat dalam Petroleum Fund akan digunakan untuk pengembangan program pendidikan, kesehatan dan pertanian dalam bentuk investasi sektor publik.

Pelayanan kesehatan di Timor-Leste adalah gratis, demikian halnya dengan biaya pendidikan mulai dari tingkat dasar hingga menengah. Kebijakan pendidikan ini akan diterapkan mulai bulan Juli mendatang.

Untuk mengimplementasikan program-program pembangunan, pemerintah Alkatiri sedang mempersiapkan satu model kerjasama baru yang melibatkan sektor-sektor masyarakat (pemerintah lokal, gereja dan masyarakat sipil) melalui New Partnership Program.

Dari sisi lain, kelompok borjuis yang kini melakukan konsolidasi politik, yang selama proses transisi berlangsung paling diuntungkan melalui pengelolaan dana-dana bantuan lewat Bank Dunia dengan pemberian tender-tender pada sektor swasta, menginginkan hal yang lain. Dan tentu saja dengan berbagai kebijakan di atas kepentingan mereka tergangu. Sungguh, sebuah pertarungan yang mengkhawatirkan!




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