Wed, 29 Nov 2000

Council calls for consistent policy in Kebayoran Baru

JAKARTA (JP): The City Council demanded an end to discrimination and inconsistency in the policy of preventing residential zones from becoming business areas.

Members focused on Tuesday on Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta, where public order officials had sealed homes that had been turned into offices after permission was granted by related agencies.

The City Tourism Agency, for instance, had issued business permits for restaurants and cafes. Clinic owners said they had received permits from the City Health Agency.

According to a bylaw on Jakarta's city planning, Kebayoran Baru district in South Jakarta was principally designed as a residential area with a maximum of two-story buildings.

Chairman of Commission D for development affairs Sayogo Hendrosubroto said South Jakarta officials should not have issued permits inconsistent with city planning.

"The building supervisory office should follow the urban design guidelines issued by the planning office," he said in a meeting with some 25 representatives and South Jakarta mayoralty officials.

Last week 10 representatives of some 300 business owners from the Association of Kebayoran Baru Business Owners demanded that the city allow their businesses to reopen after they were sealed by public order officials.

Association chairman D. Nawolo Baskoro said many businesses, including cafes, restaurants, bars and karaoke halls, art galleries and furniture shops, had been closed for violating the regulation since early this year.

The association's members said South Jakarta Mayoralty's city planning of Kebayoran Baru needed to be reviewed to allow businesses to operate in certain locations.

The head of the City Planning Agency, Ahmaddin Ahmad, said his office "was not informed" about the violations.

Owners said public order officials had not asked them whether they had business permits.

Ahmaddin said he thought the changes were temporary, such as the many cafes which were set up following the beginning of the economic crisis. Many have now closed. The city gave permission with certain conditions for the operation of street cafes in 1998.

Deputy of South Jakarta Mayoralty Tharmin Ekadjati said there were 277 residences which had been turned into offices, of which 81 had residential building permits but not business permits.

Another councillor, Tjuk Sudono of the National Mandate Party (PAN), said the South Jakarta Mayoralty officials should be consistent with the enforcement of regulations.

Tjuk asked the owners if they had been asked for "contributions" by officials, to which owners said yes.

"Officials shouldn't take any contributions from business owners. The public will think that they (contributions) justify their business," Tjuk said.

Another councillor, Ali Imran Husein of the United Development Party (PPP), said officials should not be discriminative in sealing businesses.

"How can (officials) let one place remain open, while another has been sealed and must pay Rp 50,000 to the court? This has happened for a long time," Ali said.

Assistant to the City Secretary for Development Affairs Ongky Sukasah said the city planning guidelines were to be developed over 10 years, with a review every five years.

He said the administration would select a location in Kebayoran Baru which could be classified as a business area or a mixed area. Of the existing businesses, some may have to be closed, he said.

Kebayoran Baru and Blok M in Melawai subdistrict were planned to be the center for business activities. In the 1950s, the area was a satellite town of Jakarta. But rapid development led the district to become one of Jakarta's most upmarket locations. (07)