Sat, 04 Jan 2003

Foreigners required to have KTPs

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Foreigners staying and working in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan are now required to have an Indonesian identification card even if they have valid residence and working permits.

Balikpapan Mayor Imdaad Hamid said Friday afternoon that all foreigners residing in the mayoralty were required to have a KTP identification card, for which they had to pay US$300 annually to the local administration.

"For Balikpapan residents the $300 is indeed a very big amount but for foreigners (working in Balikpapan) the amount is relatively small compared to their salary which ranges between $2,500 and $10,000 a month," Imdaad was quoted by Antara as saying.

Foreigners working in Indonesia are all obliged to pay a monthly fee of $100 to the manpower ministry.

Imdaad said the policy was adopted to facilitate population management and boost revenue. He did not explain what he meant by population management.

KTP is strictly reserved for Indonesians and the country does not recognize dual citizenship.

As an example, international Muslim activist Abdul Wahid Kadungga was questioned and briefly detained by police for possessing an Indonesian KTP.

"There are currently 1,215 foreign workers in Balikpapan, excluding their family members, and the figure is expected to rise as more and more foreign companies are operating in Balikpapan," Imdaad said.

Most foreigners in Balikpapan were working in oil and gas as well as petrochemical companies.

Imdaad said local legislature members had thrown their support behind the move and had incorporated the taxation into a Population Management bylaw.

Imdaad claimed that expatriates there already understood the rationale behind the policy and were ready to comply.

"At the beginning, foreigners rejected the policy, saying that they already have passports and permits to work in Indonesia but finally agreed to have KTPs after receiving an explanation from the Balikpapan administration," he said.

Imdaad said that foreigners would continue to flock to Balikpapan following the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 2003, and thus the KTP policy would remain in place.

Last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs revoked dozens of by- laws after the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry complained that they (the laws) had kept much-needed investment at bay. It is not yet known, however, how the KTP policy would affect investment in Balikpapan.