Rich and powerful flocking to tycoon's funeral
The funeral of Indonesian tycoon Liem Sioe Liong is drawing a contingent of his countrymen to Singapore to attend the service, with many flights and hotels heavily booked.
Singapore Airlines said most of its evening flights from Jakarta to the Lion City today were booked, with just a few seats left. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel still has rooms available despite having seen a substantial number of bookings from Indonesian guests in the past few days, said a hotel employee.
'Even Liem's nephew couldn't get a room in the Mandarin Orchard and had to go to a smaller hotel,' a Singaporean with knowledge of the matter said. The date of the funeral has yet to be fixed, and a Buddhist priest is expected to conduct the funeral, he said.
Megawati Sukarnoputri, Indonesia's president from 2001 to 2004, yesterday flew to Singapore for the funeral, according to the Singaporean.
Liem, who bears the Indonesian name Sudono Salim, had a close relationship with late Indonesian president Suharto, who deposed Megawati's father Sukarno to head the Southeast Asian nation in 1965.
'Liem was the other face of Suharto's New Order, the business face,' said Yang Razali Kassim, a regional geopolitical researcher.
'Since the beginning until the end of the New Order in 1998, Liem's business empire had dominated the Indonesian economy.'