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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

HOW TO GET THE COUNTRY MOVING


DEBTS

Follow through with initiatives to sort the country's $65-billion private sector borrowings. The government should help creditors and debtors explore all possibilities -- loan roll-overs, write offs, turning debt to equity. Settling the debt problem will give businesses a fighting chance to get fresh loans, credit lines and investments.

Pass a real bankruptcy law that allows putting companies in receivership. Then let hopeless and debt-laden firms sink.

REFORMS

Implement all commitments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government's credibility has been badly dented by the fiasco of the first budget, so avoid even the appearance of moving away from change.

Cushion the effects of unemployment and price rises from the lifting of subsidies -- without watering down structural reforms, which will spook investors. Avoid social instability above all.

LEADERSHIP

Put in place a succession mechanism that is credible at home and abroad. Vote in a vice president who has the stature, ability and guts for the challenges ahead -- and who enjoys the respect of investors. Give him or her a substantive role in government.

Draw on President Suharto's fund of goodwill and rally the country around the flag. Share the pain -- officials, tycoons and other members of the privileged classes should be seen to be sacrificing with the rest of the country.

Give Suharto his due and allow him to gradually turn over his duties to his vice president. Ensure a smooth transition of power to pre-empt violence and even civil war -- and to keep capital flowing in.

THE WORLD

Continue extending help, advice and exhortations. ASEAN has a key role in bucking up Suharto's resolve to implement reforms. Japan should stimulate its economy to boost demand for Asian imports and encourage its banks to come to terms with their Indonesian borrowers. The U.S. must make sure the IMF gets additional capital. America and other industrialized countries should hammer out a global plan to help resolve the Asian crisis.


This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

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