Thu, 20 Mar 2003

Army intervene on behalf of company

JAKARTA: Security forces, including members of the Army, intervened on behalf of property company PT Jakarta Propertindo in a dispute involving 480 families living in low-cost homes on Wednesday.

The ugly incident follows outrage over thuggery in Indonesia and revelations companies pay the Indonesian Military (TNI) protection money.

The mid- to low-income tenants from Pluit, North Jakarta were demonstrating against Jakarta Propertindo's decision to increase rent by 71 percent from Rp 270,000 (US$30) to Rp 470,000 per month.

The company, which manages the units on behalf of the city administration, has refused to hold negotiations with tenants.

Residents, who have refused to pay, gathered on Wednesday to prevent security guards, including members of the North Jakarta military command, city public order officers and civilian police assistants, from turning off power to eight units owned by the protest organizers.

They tenants failed and a man was nearly struck with a bayonet during the resistance. Only state-owned electricity company PLN can legally connect or disconnect power supplies.

Jakarta Propertindo has also refused to meet the tenants' lawyer, saying the decision was final. They are also threatening to cut off water supplies.

The tenants lawyer said it would ask the city council to mediate.