Emotional footage emerges of BJ Habibie, Xanana Gusmao saying farewell

Indonesians bury former president Habibie at state funeral

It ended just after only 17 months in Oct 1999 when he withdrew from competition in presidential elections.

Sixth Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY recalled his relationship with Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie or BJ Habibie at the late scholar's house on Wednesday.

In 1999, the people of East Timor voted for independence which triggered months of violence, necessitating the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers. But there are a couple of things that make Habibie an "unusual" president in the political history of Indonesia.

Habibie was a trained aerospace engineer who had been working in Germany for almost two decades when then-President Suharto convinced him to come back home in 1974 and lead an effort to industrialize Indonesia's economy.

Though he was a product of Suharto's "New Order" administration, which gave a strong political role to the military and stifled opponents, Habibie oversaw democratic reforms to free political prisoners and allow press freedom. On Oct. 20, 1999, Habibie withdrew from approaching presidential elections.

The brief meeting took place after Habibie's funeral at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery here and was also attended by Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla.

He lifted a three-decade-old ban on the speaking and teaching of Mandarin as part of an easing of discriminatory policies against ethnic Chinese that was instituted by Suharto after his anti-communist pogroms of 1965-66.

He described the bloody riots that ended Suharto's dictatorship as "barbaric", further alienating students who feared he was betraying their democratic revolution and staged violent protests against his presidency.

A failure to prosecute a longtime friend around allegations of significant corruption undermined his marketing campaign to keep in ability.

Thousands of Indonesians gathered in Jakarta Thursday to bid their final goodbyes to former President B.J. Habibie.

Born June 25, 1936, in the South Sulawesi town of Parepare, Habibie was the fourth of 8 siblings. His father was of native Sulawesi descent and his mother a Javanese noblewoman from the ancient sultanate of Yogyakarta.

Islamic prayers were said, and as his body was lowered, mourners tossed flower petals into his grave, alongside that of his wife of 48 years, Hasri Ainun Habibie, a medical doctor who died in 2010.

Habibie, concurrently ex-research and technology minister, is survived by his two sons: Ilham Akbar and Thareq Kemal.

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