Sat, 12 Feb 2000

Construction halted near old Supreme Court building

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration will hold off issuing construction permits for a four-story building behind the protected former Supreme Court building in Central Jakarta, an official said on Friday.

Central Jakarta Mayor Andi Subur Abdullah said the owner of the planned new building, the Directorate General of the Budget of the Ministry of Finance, should first repair damage caused to the Supreme Court building on Jl. Lapangan Banteng Timur before the construction could proceed.

"We will suspend issuing the building construction permit (IMB) until they repair the damage. We will also take them to court for the damage they've caused," he said at City Hall.

"We'll take both actions simultaneously."

Andi Subur said he would meet with the building's owner and the developer at the mayoralty office on Monday to discuss the matter.

The mayor played down the possibility of construction workers holding a protest due to the delay in construction activities.

"What's the problem? They can shift the workers' job to repairing the damaged building. That should settle it," he said.

The city administration and several parties are concerned about the damage to the listed building, which was constructed in 1828 as part of the Dutch colony's new administrative center.

The act of damaging protected buildings is punishable under 1992 Law No. 5 on heritage sites, which carries maximum sentences of a 10-year jail term or a Rp 100 million (US$14,285) fine.

The fact that the new building also lacked a construction permit angered city secretary Fauzi Bowo, who instructed his subordinates to stop the project, but to no avail.

The city's team on restoration projects inspected the site on Thursday, but was unable to meet with a representative of the directorate.

Team deputy chairman Noersaijidi M. Koesoemo praised the mayoralty's decision, saying it showed the team's recommendation to halt the issuance of the permit was heeded.

"We also found out that they (directorate officials) had a secret plan to demolish all of the former Supreme Court's annex, which is also an old structure, to be replaced with an entrance to the new building," Noersaijidi told The Jakarta Post.

"But they never mentioned the plan to us."

Andi Subur said the annex was an inseparable part of the protected building.

"They would have to rebuild it to its original state," he said. (05/ind)