Fri, 14 Mar 2003

Asset dispute may lead to court

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

While the total value of the city's assets remains a mystery due to a lack of data on it, the city administration reiterated on Thursday its desire to take over the management of properties currently under the control of the central government.

Governor Sutiyoso has threatened to go to court to gain control.

"If there is no other way, I will do so," Sutiyoso said at City Hall.

Sutiyoso was referring to land and buildings still under control of the central government, such as the 280-hectare Bung Karno Sports complex in Senayan and the 440-hectare defunct Kemayoran airport in Central Jakarta.

Earlier on Thursday morning, the City Council held a news conference to urge the central government to give up, not only the two assets, but others as well, including 97 kilometers of toll roads and the 912-hectare Tanjung Priok Port.

The news conference was organized after Sutiyoso criticized the council for its lack of support for his desire to take over the assets.

City Council deputy speaker Chudlary Syafi'i said that the desire to take over the assets from the central government had strong legal backing in the form of Law No. 34/1999 on the city as the capital and a special region.

A statement issued by the Council Commission D for development affairs stressed that a number of articles in the law authorized the city administration to take over control of a number of properties like airports, seaports, industrial zones, tourist attractions, toll roads, forests and islands.

However, the administration appears unable to properly manage all the assets already under its control.

The number and value of city assets is still a mystery as the City Asset Bureau has no data on it. A team has been tasked to list all city assets, including social and public facilities built by developers for the city.

The administration has failed to claim city assets worth dozens of trillions of rupiah from developers, who are required to provide social and general facilities when developing housing and business complexes.

A number of councillors have said that unclear data on city assets allows for the misuse of the assets because under such a condition, it would be easy for officials to manipulate the data so that the city assets could be claimed as private assets.

Sutiyoso said on Thursday that he had made many approaches in trying to take over the assets currently under the control of the state secretary, including seeking support from a number of officials in the central government and the House of Representatives.

According to Chudlary, a number of councillors had approached members of the political parties who had contacts in the executive branch.

"The assets are our right, therefore we should take them over. We hope the city administration will strive hard to obtain the assets," he added.