Govt awards hero title to war veterans

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is scheduled on Friday to hand the title of national hero to four people for their contributions to the country before and after the 1945 revolution.

Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa said Thursday that the awards would be given during a ceremony at the State Palace in Central Jakarta.

“So tomorrow at 2 p.m. there will be an award ceremony to bestow the title of national hero on four people,” she said during her opening speech, while visiting the veterans of the Seroja operation in Bekasi, West Java.

The four are Djamin Ginting, Sukarni Kartodiwirjo, Mohammad Mangundiprojo and Abdul Wahab Hasbullah.

Djamin is one of the most important Indonesian independence fighters, having led soldiers in North Sumatra during the war.

He was born in Karo regency, North Sumatra, on Jan. 12, 1921. After finishing high school, he joined the Japanese military and became a commander. After Japan lost World War II, it ditched the military squadron that it had formed in Indonesia.

Djamin then took over the military locally and successfully repelled an insurgency in Medan, North Sumatra, in 1958.

He then served as a state secretariat deputy during the presidency of Sukarno, the country’s first president, in 1966.

Sukarni, who hailed from Blitar, East Java, had started rebelling against the Dutch colony in 1934. Not long before Japan colonized Indonesia, he was captured by the Dutch in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, only to be released by the Japanese along with other national figures, including Adam Malik.

Sukarni kept fighting for independence, urging Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta to declare independence.

Sukarni and other independence fighters took Sukarno and Hatta to Rengasdengklok to prevent them from being dissuaded by the Japanese.

After Sukarno declared independence on Aug. 17, 1945, Sukarni established the Comite Van Aksi, a committee tasked with spreading the news of independence as fast as possible.

Mohamad Mangundiprojo was a treasurer at the People’s Security Agency (BKR) East Java, the country’s armed forces established on Aug. 22, 1945, and disbanded on Oct. 5, 1945.

He defiantly rejected a request for funds from Mayor Sabarudin, a military leader in Surabaya, East Java, known for his penchant for violence.

After the rejection, Sabarudin accused Mangundiprojo of corruption and ordered his personnel to kidnap him when Mangundiprojo reported Sabarudin to the military in Yogyakarta.

Sukarno ordered the army to ambush Sabarudin’s convoy and save Mangundiprojo.

Wahab Hasbullah is one of the early founders of Nahdlatul Ulama.

Hartono Laras of the Social Affairs Ministry said that the four national figures were among 12 nominated by their home regional administrations.

After that, a team at the ministry selected the four men.

“We have to review their histories of heroism. There are also some general criteria, as well as more specific ones, such as whether they fought for the country throughout their lives or not and whether they had done something beyond the call of duty or not,” Hartono said on Thursday.

Last year, former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono bestowed the title on Radjiman Wedyodiningrat, Lambertus Nicodemus Palar and Tahi Bonar Simatupang, while in 2012 the title was given to Sukarno and Hatta, in what some considered to be long-overdue recognition.


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