KUALA LUMPUR: Former Indonesian Army commando-turned-multi-millionaire Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo has an important date here tomorrow.
Lt Gen (Rtd) Prabowo, who is now Indonesia’s defence minister and who turned 68 on Oct 17, is scheduled to meet his Malaysian counterpart Mohamad Sabu on bilateral relations.
Just two weeks ago, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo surprised many by choosing Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairman Prabowo for the job, despite the latter being his election rival.
It is learnt that Prabowo’s visit will include talks on Indonesia’s strong stance on maintaining its sovereignty, especially of its islands in the South China Sea, Natuna Sea and Celebes Sea.
The New Straits Times learnt that Prabowo’s visit would also touch on Indonesia's new capital in the East Kalimantan Province, straddled over the districts of Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara - near Balikpapan and Samarinda – about two hours flight from Jakarta.
Indonesian media reported that Prabowo’s chequered military past put him as one of Indonesia’s most powerful generals under the authoritarian regime of his father-in-law and the country’s second president Suharto.
He was discharged from the military for alleged human rights violations and instigating racial riots, a few months after Suharto’s downfall in May 1998.
After forming Gerindra in 2008, Prabowo made his way to prominence via his family’s billion-dollar businesses.
Prabowo is the son of economist and one-time Suharto confidant Sumitro Djojohadikusumo and Dora Marie Sigar.
Prabowo married Suharto’s second daughter Siti Hediati Hariyadi, better known as Titiek Suharto, in 1983 but divorced in 1998.
He graduated from the Indonesian Military Academy in 1970 and served in the Special Forces (Kopassus) until his appointment as chief of the Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) in 1998.
In the 2009 presidential election, he ran unsuccessfully for the vice-presidency as Megawati Sukarnoputri's running mate.
He contested the 2014 presidential election but was defeated by the then Jakarta governor Jokowi.
He made another unsuccessful run for the presidency earlier this year.