FKM chief urges government to hold dialogue

Source: M. Azis Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Ambon, 11-07-2007

Judicial chairman of the Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM), Simon Saiya, has urged the government to hold a dialogue in response to criticism over an incident in which South Maluku Republic (RMS) activists unfurled their flag in front of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his recent visit to Ambon.

In a telephone interview with The Jakarta Post from Ambon on Monday night, Simon said a dialogue between FKM and the Indonesian government would give him a chance to voice his demand for recognition and the handover of RMS sovereignty rights to the Alifuru-Maluku nation peacefully through a FKM-RMS transitional government.

Simon said one of the aims of the unfurling of the RMS flag by activists (who were disguised as cakalele dancers) during Yudhoyono’s visit was to show the world the RMS government, which was proclaimed on April 25, 1950, still existed.

“We should invite observers from neutral countries to participate in a dialogue, which (ideally) should be held in a neutral country,” he said.

“We will demand recognition and the return of our RMS freedom sovereignty rights to the Alifuru-Maluku nation before filing a report against the Indonesian government to the International Court.”

He denied allegations the FKM movement for RMS independence used subversive and separatist actions.

Moreover, he said, the cakalele dance, which he ordered dancers to perform, was intended to prove to President Yudhoyono and national and international officials the Alifuru-Maluku people wanted freedom.

Simon said the Alifuru-Maluku nation, based on history and cultural traditions, was part of West-Melanesia. Therefore, it was understandable for its people to demand freedom, he said.

“We believe the Indonesian government has violated its 1945 Constitution — that freedom is the right of all nations.”

Simon said Maluku was not fully secure, due to the presence of many police officers and TNI soldiers stationed in Maluku.

“The SBY government needs to have the courage to uncover who the real actors behind the Maluku conflict are and stop pitting one religion against another,” he said.

After the declaration of FKM on Dec. 19, 2000, Simon said he initially acted only as a sympathizer and supporter. He assumed his important post after the FKM secretary general, Moses Tuanakotta, was jailed for raising the RMS flag in front of FKM executive chairman Alex Manuputty in Kudamati, Ambon, on April 25, 2004.

Simon was elected to replace Manuputty, who fled to the U.S.