Jakarta honours Suharto’s eldest daughter

PRESIDENT Suharto’s eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana has been honoured with one of Indonesia’s highest national awards.

Mrs Rukmana, better known as Tutut, received the Bintang Mahaputra from her father on Friday at the state palace for her work as chairman of the Indonesian Social Workers Association and head of the Indonesian Red Cross.

The Mahaputra is the most prestigious medal in the country after the Bintang Republik Indonesia.

“I am very moved by this award,” said the 48-year-old mother of four who was draped in a scarf at the awards ceremony, a trademark often identified with her since she performed the haj in 1990.

Besides playing an active political role as vice-chairman of the ruling Golkar party, she is also a prominent business tycoon.

Her diversified business activities covers toll-road construction, banking, pulp and heavy industries, television and radio stations, and oil-palm plantations.

She is also active on the diplomatic front as head of the Indonesia-Portugal Friendship Association.

Touted as a possible future vice-presidential candidate, she has been seen by her father’s side more and more often since the death of her mother, Ibu Tien Suharto, last year.

She was just one of the 35 recipients of the Bintang Mahaputra this year. Among the other recipients were 10 governors and the wives of five Cabinet ministers. The award is given each year in conjunction with the country’s independence-day celebrations.

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