One day after his death, Habibie was buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery, next to his wife's grave, in a state funeral that was led by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Habibie had been treated on the intensive care unit of the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital since 1 September 2019, reportedly for heart failure. Still, the news of Habibie’s passing was a major shock for many because one day earlier, on 10 September 2019, Habibie’s son Thareq Kemal Habibie had made a public statement that his father’s condition was improving. This made many people assume that Habibie would make a full recovery. After all, it was not the first time Habibie had entered a hospital for treatment.

Habibie was the third president of Indonesia, succeeding Suharto who had been forced to step down when Indonesia experienced turbulent times in 1997-1998. But there are a couple of things that make Habibie an ‘unusual’ president in the political history of Indonesia.

Firstly, originating from South Sulawesi, he is Indonesia’s only non-Javanese president.

Secondly, under Habibie Indonesia started its remarkable transformation from a highly centralized (military-backed) authoritarian regime to a decentralized democracy.

Thirdly, he was the shortest sitting president of Indonesia, serving for 17 months only (21 May 1998 – 20 October 1999).

Fourthly, he is the only Indonesian president who has allowed an Indonesian province to become independent (Timor Leste).

Read the full article in the September 2019 edition of our monthly research report. You can purchase the report by sending an email to or a WhatsApp message to the following number: +62(0)8788.410.6944