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Thursday, May 21, 1998 Published at 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK

President Habibie's maiden speech in full

President Habibie said public criticism of his rule would be welcome

The full text of Mr Habibie's address as broadcast by Indonesian television:

Peace be upon you! First of all, I call on all Indonesian people everywhere to say praise and thanks to the Only One God for consistently giving us faith and patience which have enabled us to face various trials. The various trials require patience and hard work to enable our nation to get out of the economic and political crisis immediately.

With the resignation of Haji Mohamed Suharto as president of the Republic of Indonesia, I constitutionally replaced him as president on the basis of Article 8 of the 1945 Constitution and took an oath of office today, 21st May, at 0910 West Indonesian Standard Time.

Call for 'full support'

[ image: Mr Habibie acknowledged the contribution of students in bringing change]
Mr Habibie acknowledged the contribution of students in bringing change
My fellow countrymen! Steps towards total reforms have been undertaken. These efforts will be immediately followed by the formation of a responsible government in accordance with common norms of governance. With all my humility, I realize the heavy task I am facing. Therefore, to ensure the success of carrying out this task, I need the full support of people from all walks of life. I am seeking the support of all Indonesian people for our efforts to get out of the ongoing crisis which has almost paralysed various pillars of national life.

Students' 'fresh breeze'

The students' struggle to speed up the reform process constitutes a fresh breeze which ushers the country into the 21st century. I am paying serious attention to the aspirations of the university students, intellectuals, and the Council of People's Representatives for total reforms.

I have grasped the people's aspirations for the enhancement of political life in accordance with the current era, the creation of a government which is clean and free of inefficiency, corruption, collusion, and nepotism, and economic life which will give fair business opportunities to all citizens.

Therefore, I want to affirm my commitment to the people's aspirations. I will implement gradual and constitutional reforms in all areas to restore socioeconomic life, enhance democratic political life, adjust ourselves to the current era, uphold the law in accordance with Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.

New cabinet to spearhead reforms

I will soon announce a new cabinet lineup which is in accordance with the people's demands and aspirations, namely a professional cabinet which has a high level of dedication and integrity. The main task of the cabinet is to be in charge of the reform process.

[ image: Mr Suharto was thanked for his contribution to Indonesia's development]
Mr Suharto was thanked for his contribution to Indonesia's development
In the political field, various laws will be revised to further the quality of political life, particularly the holding of general elections as stipulated in the Broad Outline of State Policies. In the legal field, the Anti-Subversion Law will be reconsidered.

In the economic field, the drafting of a law on the elimination of monopoly and unfair competition will be speeded up. In addition, the government will also give special attention to the State Budget, the revitalization of national banking and financial institutions, and the implementation of programmes which affect public interests.

Accord with IMF

The government will consistently implement all commitments to foreign parties, particularly economic reforms in accordance with agreements with the IMF. The government will consistently honour regional and international cooperation and will try in the shortest possible period of time to restore the dynamism of the Indonesian people's development based on a high level of national and international confidence.

Invites criticism

My fellow countrymen! Realizing the heavy but noble task, I am humbly opening myself to all input and criticism from the people to speed up the reform process to enable us to achieve the national prosperity we are together striving for. To attain the noble goal, I am once again asking for your full support. I appeal to all national forces to end our existing differences so we can effectively use the limited time to settle the current crisis.

Suharto 'won't be forgotten'

My fellow countrymen! Finally, let me say a few words to Mr Suharto who has just announced his resignation as president. As a nation that upholds lofty cultural values, we will not forget his services and dedication, which not only safely guided our republic during the difficult times from 1965 to 1968, but also ensured the success of national development so we could reach the take-off stage and achieve a higher standard of living than that of three decades ago. That was before we were hit by an economic crisis which has affected the entire Asian continent.

Therefore, on my own behalf and that of the government, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the second president of the Republic of Indonesia, Haji Mohamed Suharto, for all his services and dedication to the nation and country.

I am confident that the Indonesian people also appreciate his service and dedication. May the Only One God bestow his blessings to all Indonesian people. Thank you. May peace be upon you!

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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