Wimar Witoelar, Puckish Spokesman for Indonesian President, Dies at 75
03 June 2021

By Seth Mydans

May 29, 2021

Wimar Witoelar, a columnist, talk-show host, business consultant and political activist who served as media spokesman for the former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid and brought a colorful presence to public life, died on May 19 at a hospital in South Jakarta. He was 75.


The cause was multiple organ failure, said Erna Indriana, the managing director of the public relations firm Mr. Witoelar founded, InterMatrix Communications.


A professor of management who was briefly imprisoned in 1978 for leading campus opposition against President Suharto, Mr. Witoelar became a popular television personality, known for his puckish and indirect criticisms of the Suharto regime.


Suharto was forced to resign in 1998, and from 1999 to 2001 Mr. Witoelar served as the press secretary for President Wahid, a quirky and unpredictable Muslim cleric, also known as Gus Dur, who shared his love of witticisms.

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