Thu, 09 Nov 2000

City govt assures safety of nightspots

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration will guarantee the safety of all nightspots in the capital during the fasting month of Ramadhan as long as they do not violate the ruling on their allowed hours of operation.

The deputy governor for administrative affairs, Abdul Kahfi, told Jakartans, including nightspot operators, on Wednesday not to worry about their safety because the city authorities were determined to maintain public order.

"As long as the nightspot owners follow the regulation, which requires them to open after the evening prayer and close before the predawn meal, they should have nothing to worry about," Kahfi said.

Ramadhan is expected to start on Nov. 27. During the month Muslims perform the night prayer, called tarawih, at around 7 p.m. and eat the predawn meal, or sahur, at 3 a.m.

Governor Sutiyoso, citing the needs and interests of all Jakarta residents, announced that all entertainment centers across the capital would be allowed to stay open during Ramadhan as long as they complied with all regulations.

Sutiyoso pleaded for the general public to understand that many Jakartans earned a living from the entertainment spots, so it would be a violation of their rights if the city administration closed the nightspots down.

However, councillors from Muslim-based parties criticized Sutiyoso's decision on Tuesday, saying this would create an unfavorable atmosphere for Muslims performing their religious duties.

The councillors said the numerous attacks on nightspots by the Islamic Defenders Front were an expression of the public's dissatisfaction with the city administration's controversial policy.

Kahfi said the city administration was ready to deal with more such attacks. (dja)