Wed, 04 Jun 2003

City Council demands annulment of `illegal' parking fee hikes

Bambang Nurbianto and Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta administration and the City Council rejected on Tuesday as illegal a decision by private parking operators to raise the charges for off-street parking in buildings by up to 100 percent.

They demanded that the Private Parking Operators Communications Forum (FKPPS) and buildings in Jakarta that have implemented the new charges cancel the hikes.

"These parking charge increases are illegal as they have not been approved by the city administration or the council," the chairman of the city parking board (BP Parkir), Yani Mulyadi, said.

He admitted that the FKPPS had requested the increases in parking charges, but his board had turned them down.

Under Article 199 of Bylaw No. 03/1999, the collection of local government charges by private organizations must obtain approval from the governor and city council.

Yani said he would only send a reprimand to the parking operators over their unilateral decision to increase off-street parking charges, but councillors said the move would not be enough as the illegality of the action was clear.

The secretary of the City Council's Commission B for economic affairs, Dani Anwar, said the city administration should force the parking operators to annul the decision immediately.

"Sutiyoso should be upset by this illegal act as the parking operators have insulted his authority," said Dani, who is a councillor from the Justice Party (PK).

Similarly, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) councillor Batu Tahan Marpaung said the his Commission B would summon the relevant officials and FKPPS executives to clarify the reasons behind the increase.

He demanded that the city administration take firm action against the parking operators over the "illegal" hike.

Under the new policy, effective since Monday, parking charges were raised from between Rp 1,000 and Rp 1,500 to Rp 2,000 per hour for cars, and from Rp 500 to Rp 1,000 per hour for motorcycles.

FKPPS chairman Bernanto Soerojo said in a statement on Friday that the increases were in response to Bylaw No. 6/2002 on the imposition of a 20 percent tax on private parking operators beginning this month.

The rises would cover the recent increases in electricity, telephone, water and building maintenance charges.

Meanwhile, spokesman for the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI), Daryatmo, told the Post that the increases in parking charges should be followed by better service for consumers.

"What are the off-street parking users getting by paying more -- not to mention that the operators still state that they are not responsible for any damage to or loss of parked cars?" he said.

The administration must make it official that operators should be responsible for anything that happens to a car in the areas they control, he said.

Even if an operator considered the service it provided as renting out parking space instead of a security business, it still should be accountable for the loss of a car as this could only happen through the negligence of the operator, he said.