The Constitution of 1945 stipulated that the freedom of every Indonesian citizens is protected by the laws.
However, in 53 years after its independence on 17 August 1945, Indonesia was ruled by authoritarian regimes that used their powers merely for the interests of their family, friends and groups. Freedom was very limited, oppositions was crushed, the media was heavily censored. Any violation would be severely punished either legitimately or illegitimately, among others by shutting down the publisher/broadcaster and detaining the persons in charge.
In spite of the lack of freedom, between 1968 and 1998, Indonesians enjoyed economical, social, political and security conditions which were relatively stable.. The economy grew steadily, educations were affordable, no very serious religious, racial and political conflicts among the people was reported.
But unfortunately, the economy was heavily depended on foreign debts, investments, and exports of natural oil, gas, timbers, so when the international financial crisis broke in 1997, Indonesia was hit very badly, and forced to accept the emergency program directed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including the liberalization of social, economic and political lives.
This fact and nationwide public protests against the 32-years authoritarian regime of President Suharto had forced him to step down from 32 years power on 21 May 1998, and asked Vice President Habibie to take over.
And liberal democracy came to Indonesia and the social, political, economical and security situation became unstable.
One year later, the first free general election was held and won by the anti-Suharto Indonesian Democratic Party in Struggle led by the daughter of former President Soekarno namely Megawati. Unfortunately, the People's Consultative Council (MPR) did not elected her as president, instead they elected the leader of the largest Islamic organization namely Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) on October 1999.
Gus Dur was a very liberal and highly respected human rights. He abolished racialist laws against minorities including Chinese citizens, recognized extreme-fanatic religious movements, etc. Muslim-Non Muslim bloody conflicts broke in the Island of Maluku and Sulawesi.
Gus Dur's policies were too controversial for other politicians, including his plan to disband the pro-Suharto Golkar Party, so on July 2001, the MPR ousted him and Megawati became President. Many violence broke, among others the suicide bombing in Bali in 2002
In 2004, General Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) won the first freely-held presidential election with a land slide majority of more than 60%. But his Democrat Party only minority seats in the House of Representatives so he must form coalition government with the Golkar Party several Moslem political parties. This weak political support has made SBY always hesitate in taking actions especially against violent organizations using religion as mask like the FPI that often carried out illegal sweepings and curfews on public places.
More suicide bombings exploded in Bali (2005) and Jakarta (2009), many inter-religion conflicts broke in some parts of the country.
In 2009, more than 60% of the people, including me, re-elected SBY once again, but considering that his Democrat Party on got around 25% of the seats in the House of Representatives, therefore SBY must once again rely on the support of his coalition partners i.e. the Golkar Party and Islamic based parties.
This is ironic, because our Constitution adopted the Presidential government-system, whereby the President hold supreme executive power, therefore should not be depended on the House of Representatives.
Today, almost two years I cast my votes for SBY and his Democrat Party, he is still like before. As a result, the majority of our people are still living in poverty, unemployment is growing, many injustices exist, reluctance to fight corruption, only few people can afford the very expensive higher education.
Moreover, violence organizations are seemingly becoming more stronger.
Considering the above, I felt that SBY and his Democrat party should stick to the promises that they have made during the last general election and presidential election i.e. govern the country based on the concept of pluralism, supremacy of law, equality before the law merely for the best interest of the Indonesian people and not just for certain individuals, groups and political parties. That way, people would not regret casting their votes for you in the elections. And the freedom that we have since 1998 would be a blessing, and not a curse, for us.
Well, that's my personal opinion about freedom, I shall be very glad to know about your opinion.