Thu, 04 May 2000

A tough task lies ahead

Director-General of Land Transportation Santo Budiono and State Railroad Company Director Edie Haryoto have announced their resignation in the wake of the train crash that left four people dead, reflecting their awareness of their public responsibilities.

In his statement, Santo Budiono said, "I am resigning because of my moral responsibility in the matter. Enough people have died in accidents," adding that his resignation would not solve the existing problems.

It is clear that whatever the reasons may be that have led to so many railroad accidents, those reasons must be found and eliminated. During the past year, for example, there were 136 train accidents and at least 23 of them occurred during the past three months. A fairly clear indication of the hazardous condition of our public transportation.

Now, our minister of communications has a most difficult task to accomplish. He has to put in order all of our public transportation systems, which indeed are in sad condition. The condition has grown out of years of bureaucratic neglect because our bureaucrats in the past were inclined to act only if lured by lucrative projects, but also because too many members of the public with no social conscience turned out to be destroyers -- vandals who like to destroy public property with zeal.

We welcome this "shame culture". We hope all this will serve as a lesson for all of us and open the way for professionals and morally principled people to man Indonesia's public services.

-- Media Indonesia, Jakarta