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Abdul Khalik & Lilian Budianto
The Jakarta Post
Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono accused Singapore on Thursday of not signing an extradition pact with Indonesia out of fear it would be obliged to return money stashed away by corrupt fugitives who fled to the city state during the 1998-2001 financial crisis.
The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), also negotiated along with the extradition agreement, seems to have collapsed as well.
“They [agreements] are frozen,” he told The Jakarta Post.
“Singapore doesn’t want this extradition arrangement because it would have to return money from corrupt individuals who ran from Indonesia, along with the hot money it gets from other countries,” he said.
Juwono said there were 80 Indonesian fugitives living in Singapore.
He said when he met with Singapore’s senior minister Lee Kuan Yew in Jakarta last year, the city state’s founder stated that it did not make any sense to return the money.
Indonesia and Singapore signed both the DCA and the extradition treaty in 2007. However, the House of Representatives slammed the government over the terms of the DCA, claiming it compromised the nation’s security and as such, both agreements were never put into practice.
The Indonesian government then asked for some changes to be made to the agreement which were promptly rejected by the Singaporean government.
The foreign ministries of both Singapore and Indonesia then agreed to not discuss the agreements when meeting diplomatically.
Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said recently that Singapore and Indonesia set aside the discussion of the DCA because the latter had raised new terms and issues after it had already been signed.
“We set aside the issues for the time being,” said George Yeo.
“There has been no progress on the DCA because Indonesia insisted on substantive changes to the implementing arrangements despite having earlier agreed to it,” Rajpal Singh, first secretary of the Singaporean Embassy, said.
“Singapore stands ready to proceed with the agreed and signed package of the DCA and Extradition Treaty when Indonesia is prepared to do so,” he said in a statement to The Jakarta Post.
During a press conference held following the visit of George Yeo last week, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said they agreed not to discuss the DCA or other agreements.
George Yeo was in Jakarta last week to sign the western maritime boundary agreement with Indonesia after a five-year negotiation process.