Teuku Markam Gold Donors at Puncak Monas

This article was inspired by a friend of mine, Mulyadi, a Masters student studying at Yogyakarta State University. It seems that he really hopes for me to write how the history of the establishment of the National Monument monument (Monas) is located at Merdeka Square, Central Jakarta. At the peak of the National Monument, it was reported that there were gold weighing 38 kg and 28 kg of which were donations from Aceh businessman Teuku Markam. Is it true that Teuku Markam is the gold contributor? Who is actually Teuku Markam? I tried to find out the truth of the news. The first thing I did was find out on the search engine and read some literacy about the history of the establishment of the National Monument. After getting some reading material about Monas monument and Teuku Markam’s curriculum vitae, my curiosity became greater than before. In my heart blasphemed the Soeharto regime how not, all of the wealth of Teuku Markam was seized by Suharto. Not even a little was left for his family and children so that they lived lanting in the capital city of Jakarta. It was cruel that the Suharto regime should make Teuku Markam a hero but instead the Hero Teuku Markam was thrown into prison and his rights were taken.

Teuku Markam Gold Donors at Puncak Monas
Teuku Markam Gold Donors at Puncak Monas

Teuku Markam was a wealthy businessman from Aceh who lived during the administration of President Soekarno. He was one of the 10 richest people in Indonesia at that time. Teuku Markam is a descendant of one of the UleeBalang born in 1925 in Seuneudon, Panton Labu, North Aceh and his father, Teuku Marhaban. Since childhood Teuku Markam has been an orphan. When he was 9 years old, Teuku Marhaban passed away. While his mother had already died. Teuku Markam then took care of his sister Cut Nyak Putroe. Teuku Markam only received education up to grade 4 SR (People’s School). When young Teuku Markam entered compulsory military education in Kuta Raja (present-day Banda Aceh) and graduated with the rank of first lieutenant. Teuku Markam joined the Indonesian People’s Army (TRI) and joined the battle in Tembung, North Sumatra.

While serving in North Sumatra, Teuku Markam was active in various battlefields. Then he was sent to Bandung to become an aide to General Gatot Soebroto until Gatot Soebroto died. Before he died Gatot Subroto sent Teuku Markam to meet with President Soekarno, who then began his journey in the business world. At that time the President wanted an indigenous businessman who was able to handle Indonesia’s economic problems. The opportunity was utilized by Teuku Markam to do business and cultivate the business world by establishing PT Karkam Jaya. Under PT Karkam he achieved various successes, including succeeding in importing Toyota Hardtop cars from Japan. In addition, he also imported concrete iron, steel plates and even imported weapons for the military. He fully supported Indonesia’s independence including the liberation of West Irian. From the business results, Teuku Markam was able to donate 28 kg of gold at the Peak of the National Monument (Monas). In addition, he is also believed to be the person who freed the land for the construction of the Museum in Jakarta. Even though he was successful in the capital city he did not forget the land of his birth he had built infrastructure in Aceh, including the Medan – Banda Aceh, Bireuen-Takengon, Meulaboh, and Tapaktuan roads. But everything changed when Soeharto became President of the Republic of Indonesia, Teuku Markam was slandered as a PKI and accused of being a corruptor and Soekarnoism (Sukarno worshiper).

In 1966 Teuku Markam was imprisoned without 8 years of trial. On August 14, 1966 Suharto took over all assets of Teuku Markam in the form of offices, land and others and changed their ownership in the name of the Indonesian government. In 1974, Soeharto issued Presidential Decree No. 31 of 1974 which contained among other things the affirmation of the wealth status of former PT Karkam / PT Aslam / PT Sinar Pagi which was taken over by the Indonesian government in 1966 as a state capital at PT. PP Berdikari. This was justified by several Indonesian historians including Anhar Gonggong according to him “One of Soeharto’s Bank Ambassadors was probably Teuku Markam’s assets”. I believe Suharto took all of Teuku Markam’s wealth without leaving the slightest for his family. In 1974 Teuku Markam left the prison but his name was never restored and still considered a traitor to the country. To continue his life Teuku Markam founded PT Marjaya and worked on World Bank projects. However, there was no major project undertaken by PT Marjaya because of pressure from Soeharto, so he died in 1985 due to complications from the disease in Jakarta. Finally I asked what the fate of Soekarno and his family and children would be if people close to him were treated like that?

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