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Maraden Panggabean

Maraden Saur Halomoan Panggabean (born in Tarutung, North Sumatera, Indonesia, June 29, 1922 - died in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 28, 2000 at the age of 77 years) or more commonly known as Maraden Panggabean was a prominent Indonesian General during the early years of General Suharto's New Order regime.

Maraden Panggabean
Maraden Panggabean (cropped).jpg
1st Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs of Indonesia
In office
29 March 1978 – 19 March 1983
Preceded byNew Term
Succeeded bySurono Reksodimedjo
15th Minister of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia
In office
9 September 1971 – 29 March 1978
Preceded bySuharto
Succeeded byMohammad Jusuf
Personal details
Born(1922-06-29)June 29, 1922
Netherlands Tarutung, North Sumatera, Dutch East Indies
DiedMay 28, 2000(2000-05-28) (aged 77)
Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia
Resting placeIndonesia Jakarta, Indonesia
Military service
AllegianceJapan Empire of Japan
Indonesia Indonesia
Branch/serviceDefenders of the Fatherland Army (PETA)
Indonesian Army
RankJenderal pdh ad.png General
Battles/warsIndonesian National Revolution
Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation
Indonesian invasion of East Timor

Early lifeEdit

Panggabean was born in Tarutung, North Sumatra, on 29 June 1922. He is from Batak ethnic group.

After completing his education, Panggabean took on work as a teacher, an occupation held in high regard in the Batak community, and even became the principal of a school in Tarutung. In 1942, with the arrival and subsequent occupation of Indonesia by the Japanese Imperial Army, Panggabean left the field of education. He first trained to become a civil servant under the Japanese Occupational Government although he would soon be interested in taking on a military career.

Military careerEdit

In 1943, the Japanese Occupation Government formed the Defenders of the Fatherland Army an auxiliary force consisting of Indonesians which were designed to assist the Japanese should the Allies come to invade Indonesia. Like many of his military contemporaries, Panggabean joined. In Panggabean's case however, he seemed to have only manage to go through military schooling and basic training before the Japanese surrendered and nationalist leaders Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta proclaimed Indonesia's independence.

Like all other youths all around Indonesia, Panggabean was caught up in the rush to take weapons from the Japanese in preparation of the formation of a National Army. On 5 October 1945, the People's Security Army, the precursor to the Indonesian National Armed Forces and later on, TNI[clarification needed] was formed. Panggabean took up the position of military trainer at Sibolga before serving as Chief of Staff for the 1st Battalion, 4th Regiment, 10th Division in Sumatra until 1949.

Following the Indonesian National Revolution of 1945–1950, Panggabean spent the next 10 years as a regimental chief of staff at Tapanuli and as a sectoral commander in the Military Territory of North Sumatra. In 1957, Panggabean also took the opportunity for further military education at the Infantry Officers Advanced Course in the United States. In 1959, Panggabean became battalion commander before being transferred to Military Territory II/Sriwijaya as resort commander.

Panggabean then received his first assignment out of Sumatra as a military court judge in Makassar, Sulawesi. As the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation intensified, Panggabean was appointed commander of the 2nd War Theater, with authority over the troops in Borneo. There, he developed a friendship with Suharto [1] as the then Kostrad commander had troops stationed in Borneo.

After he cracked down on the 30 September Movement, Suharto became the Commander of the Army. Suharto seemed to have remembered Panggabean and appointed him as a staff member with the position of second deputy.

Supersemar controversyEdit

Although originally not part of the events which led to the formulation of Supersemar and Suharto receiving executive power, Panggabean became part of the controversy in 1998. According to Sukardjo Wilardjito, a presidential bodyguard stationed at Bogor, Panggabean was present with Amirmachmud, M Jusuf, and Basuki Rahmat, the three generals that many accounts agree to have been present when Supersemar was signed. According to Sukardjo, Panggabean, alongside Basuki held Sukarno at gunpoint while he signed a pre-prepared Supersemar.[2]

New OrderEdit

Military career during New OrderEdit

In July 1966, the position of Deputy Army Commander was created and Panggabean was appointed to the position to assist Suharto with his increasing workload. In 1967, Panggabean became Army Commander himself. As Army Commander, Panggabean witnessed a reorganization in the Indonesian National Armed Forces which saw the armed services commanders be reduced in status to chief of staffs under the control of an Army commander, a position to be filled by Suharto himself. In 1969, Panggabean became the Commander of Kopkamtib. Two years later, in 1971, Suharto reshuffled the Cabinet and Panggabean became Deputy Commander in addition to becoming State Minister assisting the President in matters of Defense and Security .[3]

Panggabean reached the pinnacle of his military career in 1973 when he became Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces in addition to becoming Minister of Defense and Security. As Commander, Panggabean had differences with Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Malik in the way in which Indonesia should approach its foreign policy in South East Asia. Malik wanted ASEAN to only be about economic cooperation whilst Panggabean wanted ASEAN to also be about security cooperation.[4] In addition, Panggabean also wanted to send troops to assist the South Vietnamese in the Vietnam War. On this matter, Suharto sided with Malik.

In April 1978, Panggabean was discharged as Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces and Minister of Defense and Security.


In addition to continuing his military career, Panggabean also began a political career by being involved in Golkar, the political party which Suharto had chosen as part of his re-election bid. In 1973, Panggabean became a member of the Golkar Executive Board before becoming Chairman of the Executive Board in 1974. He served in this position until 1978 when Suharto replaced him in the position. Nevertheless, Panggabean was retained as vice chairman of the executive board and served as the day-to-day chairman until 1988.

Government officialEdit

After being discharged as commander, Panggabean was named by Suharto as Coordinating Minister of Politics and Security. He served as Minister until 1983 when he was appointed Chairman of the Supreme Advisory Council. When his term ended in 1988, Panggabean retired from politics.

Other activitiesEdit

In 1985, Panggabean became Advisory Chairman for the Joint Organization of Batak Tradition and Culture. In 1989, he became a Patron of the Bona Pasogit Foundation, an organization dealing with rehabilitation of earthquake affected areas in Panggabean's native Tarutung.


Panggabean in Jakarta on 22 May 2000 after suffering from stroke.


Panggabean was married to Meida Seimima Tambunan with whom he had four children.

He was of Batak ethnicity and was a Protestant.


Foreign honourEdit


  1. ^ [Indonesia-News] JKTP - Maraden Panggabean Dies at 78 Archived 2006-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Indonews archives - August 1998, week 4 (#652) Archived 2012-09-09 at
  3. ^ Elson, Robert (2001). Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. p. 201. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  4. ^ Elson, Robert (2001). Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. pp. 213–214. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  5. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1971" (PDF).

External linksEdit

Military offices
New title Deputy Chief of Staff of Indonesian Army
July 1966–1967
Succeeded by
Umar Wirahadikusumah
Preceded by
Chief of Staff of Indonesian Army
Succeeded by
Umar Wirahadikusumah
Preceded by
Commander of Kopkamtib
November 19, 1969–March 27, 1973
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces
March 1973–April 1978
Succeeded by
Mohammad Jusuf
Government offices
Preceded by
Idham Chalid
Chairman of Supreme Advisory Council
Succeeded by
Political offices
New title Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs of Indonesia
Succeeded by
Surono Reksodimejo
Preceded by
Minister of Defence of Indonesia
Succeeded by
Mohammad Jusuf
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chairman of the Golkar Executive Board
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vice-Chairman of the Golkar Executive Board
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Advisory Chairman for the Joint Organization of Batak Tradition and Culture
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Patron of the Bona Pasogit Foundation
Succeeded by