Tue, 07 Nov 2000

City Council halts free ID card scheme

JAKARTA (JP): The city council called on the administration on Monday to monitor the potential abuse of the free identity card renewal scheme. The scheme was initially planned to come into effect as of Nov. 1 but was delayed pending the approval of the Council.

The council is withholding its approval until the amendment of city bylaws on population administration and fees takes place.

Councillors also said the free ID card policy would not be made effective as long as people are still burdened with illegal fees demanded by officials at the subdistrict levels and by other neighborhood authorities.

"It isn't about the amount of money which will be abolished, but the fact that it isn't done properly," said councillor Jannes Pardosi from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan).

He said officials should adjust to the new regulation and accept the fact that they can not earn money from issuing IDs.

Head of the City Population Agency Syahril Lumban Toruan said the policy of free renewal of identity cards would be a test case on whether illegal fees can be eradicated once public services related to personal documents were free.

But he said the problem included the fact that the public may not know that the services are free given their tendency to involve third parties in the issuance of identity cards.

In line with Governor Sutiyoso's pledge in his accountability speech to improve public services, the city administration also planned to extend the validity period of the identity cards from the current three years to five years.

Syahril said Jakartans who are Indonesian citizens are required to pay Rp 1,000 for their identity cards while foreigners acquiring Indonesian citizenship must pay Rp 3,000 for their identity cards.

The identity cards should then be issued in seven days, compared to the earlier two-week period, once all requirements including notices from neighborhood authorities are met.

Those who fail to renew their cards within a two-week period after expiry must pay a fine of Rp 10,000.

"We also plan to send birthday greeting letters to residents, which would remind them to renew their cards at the subdistricts' offices," Syahril added.

He also called on Jakartans to avoid using third parties to arrange their identity cards in order to avoid any misunderstanding of the regulations, as reflected in complaints over much higher fees than the official Rp 1,000 in acquiring IDs. Illegal fees can range from Rp 2,000 to Rp 10,000.

Syahril promised to monitor the process of obtaining identity cards to prevent any abuse of the system.

The city administration receives Rp 1.75 billion (US$203,000) annually from Jakartans renewing their identity cards, which is only about 1.5 percent of the total revenue of the capital.

Jakarta now has an estimated population of some 9.7 million but Syahril could not specify how many were without identity cards. (07)