"He was firm, courageous, patient in listening to whatever people had to say and able to make quick decisions. Although I once defied an order from him, I had great respect for him. And Golkar now believes he deserves to be named a national hero on account of what he did as national leader," Aburizal said.
The Golkar Party leader made the statement after attending the launch of a book titled "Pak Harto, The Untold Stories" at the Museum Purnabhakti Pertiwi, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII), East Jakarta, on Wednesday.
Aburizal said Soeharto was a great leader who could serve as an example to other Indonesian leaders.
Although many people considered the Soeharto adminisration to be an authoritarian one, this should not be a reason not to respect him, he said.
"Every leader anywhere in the world has his own particular style of governing. An authoritarian style at the time was something common. Every leader followed his own style in doing it. But what mattered was that as the state`s top leader, Soeharto was able to bring about change for the better for all society," he added.
Therefore, according to the business-tycoon-turned politician, the Indonesian nation should now begin to learn to recognize what was good and beneficial in Soeharto`s legacy.
Conceding that there had also been a negative evaluation of Soeharto`s leadership, Aburizal said this was not a problem. "We cannot expect all people to like or dislike us. But with the passage of time, people will eventually be able see what was good and what was not good in what a former leader did," he said.
On the same occasion, the chairman of the Golkar Party`s advisory board, Akbar Tandjung, said Soeharto was a leader who never wavered in taking decisive action in grave situations such as during the communist coup attempt in 1965.
"He also was a leader with vision far into the future as evident from his accelerated economic development plans," Akbar said.
Soeharto was also able to maintain good relations with the leaders of other ASEAN member countries so that the association`s membership kept on increasing.
"Soeharto is a national hero who saved the nation from various threats including attempts to change Indonesia`s founding principles and political direction," Akbar said.