Tue, 08 Feb 2000

Construction at heritage landmark illegal: Official

JAKARTA (JP): City Secretary Fauzi Bowo said on Monday that the construction of a four-story office building which demolished part of a heritage landmark, the former Supreme Court building on Jl. Lapangan Banteng Timur in Central Jakarta, was illegal.

"The construction activities have been carried out in the absence of a building construction permit (IMB)," Fauzi told reporters in his office.

He said the city administration would consider filing a lawsuit with the Central Jakarta District Court if the owner disobeyed the administration's instructions.

"All parties should bow to the existing regulations," said Fauzi, who then called on Central Jakarta Mayor Andi Subur Abdullah and deputy head of the city development control agency (P2K) Djumhana to immediately issue an order to stop the construction.

Fauzi instructed the two officials to draft a press release to outline the unlawful tactics of the government institution which owns the new building, the Budget Directorate of the Ministry of Finance.

As of Monday, the construction activities continued on despite the city administration's official warning letter to the Directorate to halt construction. The letter was sent last Friday.

The damage to the protected building violates the 1992 Law No. 5 on Heritage, which carries a maximum 10 years in jail or a Rp 100 million (US$14,286) penalty.

The former Supreme Court building was constructed in 1828 in the Dutch colony's new government center called Weltevreden (now the Lapangan Banteng area), after moving from its initial location in the then downtown Kota area in West Jakarta.

The construction of the office complex has damaged several parts of the historical building, including some old pillars.

No request

Contacted separately, Djumhana confirmed that P2K had yet to receive any official request for a building construction permit.

"My subordinates said the owner acquired the building's block plan certificate (released by the city planning agency), but they (my subordinates) have not obtained any request for the building construction permit," he said.

Djumhana said it has become common that a government-owned building was constructed before the permit was completed.

"They usually continue the work while processing all necessary documents," he said, adding that such action was actually illegal.

Djumhana did not elaborate further as he was still collecting data on the building construction permit application.

Separately, an expert on historical buildings, Grace Pamungkas, lambasted P2K for failing to act when protected buildings in the city were systematically being demolished.

"Such damage to protected buildings would not have occurred if the control mechanism ran well. Every construction activity in the city should obtain a building construction permit released by the agency. So should they (officials), who play a role in preserving the buildings," she said.

Grace said the agency had reportedly been connected with corruption and collusion cases which contributed to the damage of the city's built history.

"For instance, so many old buildings in the preserved areas of Menteng in Central Jakarta have been changed into modern ones. There are reports that the demolition of the old buildings was carried out because of rampant collusion with agency officials," she said. (ind)