President awards hero titles ahead of heroes` day commemoration

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono awarded hero titles to several national figures for their great contributions to the country here on Tuesday.

The awards were presented in a ceremony led by the President and attended by Vice President Boediono, cabinet ministers, and heads of state institutions ahead of the commemoration of National Heroes` Day on November 10. The awards were received by the recipients` next of kin.

As a tradition ahead of e Heroes` Day the head of state on behalf of the government awards hero titles and also tokens of appreciation to figures who had contributed a lot to the country in various fields, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said.

National figures who received the hero title awards were the late Idham Cholid, Syafrudin Prawiranegara, Prof Dr Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah (Buya Hamka), Ki Sarmidi Mangunsarkoro, Mr I Gusti Ketut Puja, Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono X and Ignatiur Joseph Kasimo.

President Yudhoyono meanwhile also presented a "Mahaputra Adi Pradana" medal to Sultan Sulaiman Syaiful Alamsyah of North Sumatra.

Tokens of appreciation for cultural and art figures were given to native Jakartan artist Benyamin Sueb, Hasbullah Parindurie, Harijadi Soemadidjaja, Gondo Durasim, Huriah Adam, Idrun Tinti, Kwee Tek Koay, Sigit Sukasman, Gi Tik Swan or KRT Hadjonagoro and Gedong Bagus Oka.

Historian and researcher of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Taufik Abdullah, said the national heroes` titles were awarded to figures who had given outstanding contributions to the country.

The decision was a political one as it was made by the president in the interest of national integration, he said.

"The national heroes` titles are the decision of the president meaning it is a political decision as it is related to national integration," he said here on Tuesday.

He said national heroes in the context of the Unitary State of Indonesia could also be considered portraits in a national family album.

He said those who would receive the titles were proposed by the people in their birth places. "They are part of the process onf strengthening national integrity," he said.

As an example he referred to Idham Cholid. The Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic organization figure born on August 27, 1922 in South Kalimantan has been considered having done a lot to the nation.

The secretary of the Directorate General of Social Empowerment of the ministry of social affairs that deals with nomination of hero title recipients, Hartono Laras, said his office had proposed 12 names to the President through the Council of Titles, Tokens of Appreciation and Service.

"The number then narrowed to 12 and finally the Council determined seven of them as national heroes," he said.

"National Hero Titles are given to those who have given extraordinary services during their life-time," he said.(*)