Fri, 18 May 2001

Council seeks vehicle tax delay, YLKI urges boycott

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) called on Jakartans on Thursday to boycott vehicle registration fees, which went up to 100 percent as of last month, while city council has urged the city administration to postpone the increase.

Foundation chairwoman Indah Suksmaningsih said the city administration did not provide a clear explanation as to why the registration fees and the tax on a change of ownership of a vehicle were increased.

"We still don't know why the taxes went up and where they are going to. People should boycott the taxes," Indah told The Jakarta Post by phone.

Indah said city administration officials were only supposed to collect enough taxes to reach the city's revenue target, instead of trying to secure a profit from city-owned firms.

"They are like hoodlums who collect money without having to work hard," she said.

Indah revealed that the foundation had received numerous calls from consumers who complained and questioned the increase.

The foundation, along with other non-governmental organizations grouped at the Coalition for Budget Transparency (KOTA), has also urged the public to boycott taxes as a protest against the 2001 city budget, which they claim benefits only the governor and city council, but not the people.

Meanwhile, city councillors urged the city administration on Thursday to postpone the registration fee increase, which in practice goes up to 100 percent.

"It would be better if the administration postpones the increase. People are living in difficult times, and they are already dealing with plenty of increases in prices and utility rates. We shouldn't burden them more," council deputy chairman Djaffar Badjeber said.

Djaffar, from the United Development Party faction, acknowledged that Gubernatorial Decree No. 33/2001 on the registration fee calculation base did not need council's approval.

But he said since the tax was in the public's interest, it should have been discussed with the council first before the governor issued the decree.

Golkar Party councillor Amarullah Asbah supported Djaffar's statement, regretting that the administration did not discuss the decree beforehand with council.

"The increase should have been postponed," Amarullah, who is also the chairman of Commission C for city revenue, said.

According to Amarullah, Governor Sutiyoso should not change the tax rate of 1.5 percent, which was incorporated in City Bylaw No. 3/1998 as a tax on car registration and a change of ownership of a vehicle.

Based on the new vehicle tax scheme, car owners have to pay 1.5 percent times the vehicle's price calculated by the city administration.

The Jakarta Administration's list of selected vehicles and their prices as the basis for the calculation of taxes is the one being protested by YLKI, the city council and the public.

Separately, the head of the city revenue agency, Deden Supriadi, ruled out a postponement on the increase and the implementation of the new tax system.

"It is difficult to suspend the increase as it will affect the city's revenue target," Deden said on Thursday.

He said he only heard about Sutiyoso's comments about establishing a team to review the new tax increase from the newspapers, adding that the city had yet to set up a team.

He said his agency was closely monitoring the payment scheme since it was applied at the end of last month. Based on his observations, Deden said, there were no major complaints made by the public.

He said the agency was targeting to raise Rp 7 billion a day in registration fees and taxes on a vehicle's change of ownership, for a total of Rp 2 trillion this year.

A computer in Deden's office which is connected with those at the three motor vehicle offices (Samsat) in the city, showed that for Thursday, a total of Rp 4 billion in car registration fees and Rp 1.2 billion in taxes for the change of ownership were collected as of 1:30 p.m. Samsat's offices usually close at 2 p.m. (jun)