Sat, 11 Sep 1999

Councilors say Sutiyoso's drug policy ill-advised

JAKARTA (JP): Councilors doubted on Friday the prudence of the city administration's plan to impose a "reward-and-punishment" scheme to eradicate drug use in schools, believing law enforcement officials should lead the war on drugs.

"It's unwise for Governor Sutiyoso to punish schools which are unable to stop drug consumption among students. It's not the schools' responsibility because the distribution of drugs involves outsiders," Dani Anwar of the Justice Party (PK) told The Jakarta Post.

He said priority should be put on measures to tighten control at the country's entry points, such as airports and seaports, to stop drug trafficking.

PK faction chairman Ahmad Heryawan said the most effective measure was to conduct patrols in schools located in areas where drug use was a known problem.

"The presence of security personnel at schools, even only one officer at each school, could frighten the traffickers from trying to influence the students."

Ahmad said school authorities should also encourage parents to become involved in fighting drugs because "it's the responsibility of all members of the community".

Maringan Pangaribuan of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) said Sutiyoso should establish an integrated special team on eradicating drugs which involved schools.

He also recommended the police conduct routine raids on schools where drug use was common.

Agus Darmawan of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and Siti Ma'rifah of the National Awakening Party (PKB) supported the planned reward-and-punishment system on the condition the city administration established criteria.

"The reward-and-punishment system will be effective only when there are clear guidelines," Agus said.

Siti opposed the placement of police officers in schools.

"Their presence will have a negative impact on students, as though a crime has occurred there. School authorities are the most appropriate party to carry out the movement," she said.

In the war on soaring drug use among the young, Sutiyoso said on Wednesday the city administration would reward state schools from the elementary through senior high school levels which were able to halt drug use on their premises. He warned of punishment for those which failed.

The administration's declared campaign of drugs does not appear to have frightened the dealers.

Darsono, a teacher at SDN 01 Elementary School in Pegangsaan subdistrict, Central Jakarta, said that a woman accosted 10 of his students several weeks ago and took them for a picnic to the National Monument square in Central Jakarta.

He believed the woman was trying to win the students' trust before providing them with drugs.

"We have warned the students not to consume anything offered by the woman or anybody else, and threatened them with dismissal if they take up the woman's invitation again," he told the Post. (ind)