Adi Sasono, a Muslim social democratic intellectual, passed away very recently, on August 13.
An engineer by training, he was more famous as an Islamic student activist and a champion of a people-centered economy, criticizing the rule of the conglomerates and crony capitalism groomed under Suharto’s New Order Regime. This earned him the reputation as “Indonesia’s most dangerous man.” He was part of the critical-yet-loyal-oppositionist intellectuals under the New Order, a role which propelled him to be appointed as Minister of Small Businesses and Cooperatives under the Habibie administration.
Given the situation, such a stance was quite a breakthrough. Of course, he never advocated for a radical rearrangement of the economy a la Latin American leftist parties, but his ideas had a strong anti-establishment bent.
The task for the next generation of scholars of Indonesian history is to write an intellectual history/biography of him and his cohort of intellectuals.