From Paras Indonesia http://www.parasindonesia.com/read.php?gid=324
June, 01 2006 @ 07:07 pmSuharto Sons' Sex Scandals Divert Attention From Justice
While former dictator Suharto was hospitalized for most of last month for intestinal bleeding, media coverage of his see-sawing health and corruption investigation was at times eclipsed by marital scandals involving two of his businessmen sons.
Rumors of marital strife, sex scandals and dodgy business deals within the super-rich family are nothing new but could almost never be published by the media until the downfall of Suharto in 1998. For example, no reporters dared to comment on rumors of exactly how close eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti ‘Tutut’ Rukmana was to former Army chief General Raden Hartono. Even more off-limits were certain rumors swirling around the physical equipment of son-in-law Prabowo Subianto – who has since divorced Suharto’s middle daughter Siti ‘Titiek’ Hediati Hariyadi.
Only youngest son Hutomo ‘Tommy’ Mandala Putra’s flings with prominent celebrities were easier to allude to as they were usually so shameless, although the media still had to be careful not to publish anything that might incur the wrath of the all-powerful family.
In the past month, tabloids and television gossip shows have had a field day with the latest episodes of conjugal conflict involving Tommy and middle son Bambang Trihatmodjo. Unfortunately, such coverage of these essentially banal matters of celebrity domestic strife has diverted attention from the fact that Suharto is unlikely to ever be brought to justice for corruption or human rights abuses.
For President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh, the greater the focus on the Suharto kids’ sex scandals, the less attention on the fact that the war on corruption has seemingly surrendered to Suharto.
Nevertheless, for the record and for the sake providing somewhat salacious reading, here’s a look at the two scandals. Similar problems, albeit to a lesser extent, have no doubt plagued many other Indonesian couples but will thankfully never make the news.
The first entertaining distraction from the Suharto corruption case was the news that Tommy (44), who is serving a 10 year jail sentence for murdering a Supreme Court judge and other offenses, is being divorced by his wife Ardhia ‘Tata’ Pramesti Regita (31). The couple wed in 1997 and have two children, but married life and even prison apparently did not end Tommy’s notorious playboy lifestyle. His wealth initially enabled him to receive overnight visits from busty actress Sandy Harun while he was incarcerated on Nusakambangan island jail off the southern coast of Central Java. Later he was granted regular leave to Jakarta, ostensibly for medical examinations to check whether he has a tumor behind his eye. Some circles claim Tommy is actually suffering cancer, although his doctors have not commented publicly on such allegations.
Sandy has admitted that she and Tommy have an illegitimate daughter. Tommy is also said to have fathered another child, while on the run from the law in 2001, when he spent some of his time living with ex-model Lani Banjaranti.
Tata filed for divorce on April 13, citing irreconcilable differences. Proceedings commenced at South Jakarta Religious Court on May 15. Tata is seeking custody of their two children, Dharma Mangkuluhur Hutomo (9) and Radhyana Gayanti Hutami (6). Although Tommy is still regularly allowed out of jail due to special privileges, he refused to attend the court hearing on the grounds that his father was sick. The proceedings were adjourned for three weeks.
Tata’s lawyer Junimart Girsang said the couple last met in 2000, when Tata visited Tommy at Nusakambangan. He rejected rumors that Tata would receive a lump sum of Rp200 billion ($21.5 million) in alimony for divorcing Tommy. He also denied rumors that Tata was seeking to end the marriage because of domestic violence.
He declined to reveal Tata’s precise reasons for seeking the divorce. Asked whether it was because Tommy had failed to fulfill his “biological marital obligations”, the lawyer refused to comment. He merely said Tata’s reasons were “very personal and very private”.
A bigger scandal in the Suharto family erupted on May 21, when Bambang Trihatmodjo’s estranged wife of more than 20 years, Halimah, and two of their children attacked the house of Bambang’s mistress, singer Mayangsari, in Simprug, South Jakarta.
Intimate photos of a smitten Bambang (53) and Mayang (34) have been widely circulated over the internet for the past year. Two months ago, Mayang gave birth to a daughter by Bambang, who has never denied the affair or fathering the child.
Halimah was enraged by her husband’s infidelity and its wide exposure in the media. She showed up at Mayang’s house at 11pm Sunday, accompanied by her son Panji Adhikumoro, daughter Gendis Siti Hatmanti and four bodyguards, and demanded to be allowed inside after seeing Bambang’s car parked outside. They rammed through the gate with one of their vehicles and then tried to smash their way into the house. Several bottles were thrown at the windows. Panji managed to get inside the house and punched his father in the face.
Local police showed up and attempted to end the fracas. Officers later told reporters they had found blood and shattered glass when they arrived, adding that Halimah had reportedly cut her foot on glass, while Bambang received an injury to his leg. Detikcom quoted police as saying that when they tried to escort Halimah away, she shouted: “Sir, don’t take charge of me! Take charge of that whore!”
South Jakarta Police responded to the incident by sending a summons to Halimah, her son and daughter and the four guards. After being questioned for 12 hours on May 23, Halimah and her children were declared suspects under Article 170 of the Criminal Code for willful destruction of property. Police said Panji could also be charged with assaulting his father. Panji is currently dating glamorous film star Laudya Cynthia Bella (18), who is referred to by some tabloids as “the virgin”.
Some reports said Bambang was punched after rushing out of Mayang’s house in an effort to calm down Halimah. But police said Panji had either entered the house either through a broken window or through the front door, which had been opened by Bambang, who now has a bruised face. Police said Halimah and Mayang did not trade any punches.
Initial reports said the gate was smashed down with Halimah’s BMW X5 sports utility vehicle. Police said it was a less expensive vehicle, driven by the four guards, that rammed the gate.
Police investigators found a knife inside the house and seized it as evidence, but are yet to determine its owner and whether it was intended for use in the attack.
Halimah's lawyer Syuratman Usman on May 26 claimed the dispute would be settled out of court because it was a private family matter. He said he proposed an out-of-court settlement to Bambang but was yet to receive a reply.
Police said that despite the desire to settle the matter amicably, they would continue to investigate the case and later hand over their files to state prosecutors. "Peace is not the police's affair," said Jakarta Police spokesman I Ketut Untung Yoga.
Pressed on whether charges would be dropped if an out-of-court settlement is reached, he replied: "The police cannot comment on that. That’s a matter for the courts.”
He denied the Suharto family had put pressure on police not detain Halimah and her children pending the investigation. “In these modern times there is no such pressure. Everyone walks the same path and the law does not distinguish between people.”
Yoga on Tuesday (1/6/06) reiterated the case would be brought to the Attorney General’s Office because all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. "We will uphold the law. It’s only the reporters who are asking too much about this,” he said.
A guard at Mayang’s house on May 24 said the singer was feeling depressed, stressed and eating less. Five plainclothes police are now guarding Mayang’s house, in addition to her regular private guards. Don’t bother looking for fugitive terrorists or corruption suspects when there’s better money to be made by moonlighting for the Suharto clan.
One of the odder allegations to emerge from the scandal was a rumor that Tommy visited Mayang’s house at midnight on May 23. A guard who wished to remain anonymous told detikcom online news portal he had seen Tommy make the late-night visit. Police later said the statement was incorrect and that it was Bambang who had made the late-night visit.
The Halimah-Mayang scandal was raised in parliament, with legislator Azlaini Agus of the National Mandate Party (PAN) asserting that Bambang should be considered the guilty party because his infidelity had provoked his wife’s rage.
Agus, who is a member of parliament’s Commission III on legal affairs, said Bambang should have resolved any problems with his first wife before taking on additional wives. "The person who is very clearly in the wrong is Bambang. This conflict happened because of him. If he wants to have three or four wives, he must first resolve any issues with the earlier one and ensure stability within his family,” he was quoted as saying by detikcom.
He said Halimah’s rage was a natural emotional response to a brazenly cheating husband.
Women’s rights activists have also come to Halimah’s defense. Prominent playwright and actress Ratna Sarumpaet said that although Halimah and her children had engaged in a criminal action, they should not be charged because it was an internal family affair.
"The police are strange. This is a family affair that ought to be resolved peacefully. Yet many other groups have perpetrated brazen acts of destruction and are not condemned,” she said, apparently referring to attacks by Islamic extremists.
She said Halimah’s emotional action was understandable because “she had been betrayed and had her feelings destroyed”.
Ratna said she regretted that the couple’s children had been dragged into the messy affair. "This will cause long-term damage to them. These children will be fragile in later life. They should have been protected.” Feminist bloggers have also voiced sympathy for Halimah.
Despite her depression, Mayang was seen in public for about two hours on May 25 at Hotel Mulia’s 24-hour restaurant, the Cafe. She was sitting with her brother Gita, her baby daughter and a babysitter. They were closely shielded by four bodyguards.
Upon leaving, she was reluctant to answer questions from reporters. She eventually gave one brief comment: “Thank God the family and I are ok.”
According to the Kompas
daily, Bambang first met Mayang in 1997, when the singer was hired as an entertainer for Golkar Party’s election campaign. Bambang, who at that time was treasurer of Golkar, was introduced to Mayang by veteran dangdut singer Camelia Malik. Since that first meeting the pair became increasingly close.
In November 2000, Mayang boasted to reporters at Jakarta’s Hard Rock Cafe that she was close to the Suharto family because of her services to Golkar as an entertainer. “If they want to remember us when it’s finished, then thank heaven. If they don’t want to remember us, that’s ok,” she told the Warta Kota daily.
In April 2002, rumor had it that Halimah scolded Mayang at her Simprug residence after catching her canoodling with Bambang at a cafe in Senayan. Mayang strongly dismissed the rumors as slander. She offered to give Rp1 million to any reporter who could prove the allegations were true.
In November 2005, intimate photos of Bambang and Mayang began circulating on the internet. One showed Mayang in red underwear. Another showed her smooching with Bambang. Prominent multimedia expert Roy Suryo said he believed the photos were genuine and not digitally engineered.
In February 2006, Mayang admitted she was several months’ pregnant but declined to reveal the identity of the father. Tabloid reporters noticed that Bambang was visiting Mayang’s house every few days and often stayed overnight.
On March 30, Mayang gave birth to a daughter through caesarian section. Bambang was present for the birth. Mayang left hospital on April, accompanied by Bambang, her mother, brother and designer Adjie Notonegoro. It was the first time the couple had appeared together in public as a “family”.
On April 8, Mayang announced her baby was named Khirani Siti Hartinah Trihatmodjo. Bambang’s late mother’s name was Siti Hartinah.
On April 22-23, Bambang and Halimah appeared happy together at the wedding of their daughter Gendis (23) to Arif Putra Wicaksono (25). Mayang was noticeably absent from the event.
Exactly how much mileage the media will be able to get out of the Halimah-Bambang-Mayang love triangle is unclear, but the sooner the media attention wanes, the better. Unless Halimah ends up being victimized for not being a good Indonesian wife and refusing to ignore her horny husband’s shenanigans.
By: Roy Tupai | Category: Society & Culture