The 1970s in Indonesia started with the death of President Sukarno. He was under house arrest in March 1968. Sukarno had delegated key presidential powers to Suharto by signing the Supersemar.
As soon as Suharto took power, many of Sukarno’s policies were reversed. Malaysia and Indonesia agreed, and Indonesia rejoined the UN. Indonesia was also a significant participant in creating the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967. Indonesia rescheduled its foreign debts through effective negotiations and received aid from a group of donors. Simplified regulations governed economic activity. A new foreign investment law established a framework for new private capital investment in 1967. Within a short time after Suharto reformulated his economic policies, the results became evident. Indonesia’s inflation rate decreased, and its currency, the rupiah, stabilized, manufacturing expanded rapidly. Petroleum production increased as a result of international exploration companies working through the state oil corporation Pertamina.
In 1971 and 1998, Suharto won consecutive terms as president without opposition following parliamentary elections. It wasn’t easy to achieve these results. Suharto’s economic policies and his attempt to distribute development across the archipelago reduced local sentiments in the 1950s, but the impression that Java was privileged remained. Before Suharto was re-elected for a third term in 1978, the government closed sections of the press and arrested student leaders.
Here below are some fascinating vintage photos that show what Indonesia looked like in the 1970s.