Jakarta – Former third president of Indonesia B.J. Habibie, Died at the Central Army Hospital (RSPAD), Jakarta, Wednesday (11/9). Habibie died at the age of 83 years, died at 18.05 WIB.
A trained engineer, Habibie replaced Suharto as Indonesia’s third president just a few months after becoming his representative, just as the country was plunged into unrest and economic upheaval.
He held power for 17 months until the late Abdurrahman Wahid became president and his term was marked by agreeing to a referendum for the people of the former Portuguese East Timorese colony.
The Indonesian army invaded in December 1975 and the following year annexed East Timor as the 27th province.
But Habibie suddenly changed the old policy in January 1999 and said East Timor could become independent if it refused autonomy in Indonesia. Timorese then chose independence, unleashing a wave of violence.
Habibie is also known for his efforts to turn Indonesia into a technology powerhouse, including trying to develop the national aircraft industry.
President Joko Widodo, speaking at the hospital where Habibie was treated, described Habibie as “a world-class scientist and father of technology in Indonesia.”