Mon, 10 Oct 1994

Foundation plans to go ahead with building school

JAKARTA (JP): A police-sponsored foundation insists it will continue with a plan to construct a two-story school in a 2,600- square-meter public park in the Jelambar area, West Jakarta, despite the protests of area residents.

Soechemi, the secretary of the Bhara Raharja Education Foundation, told reporters on Saturday that the children of the underprivileged squatters living around the area desperately need a school.

"Last year we refused more than 100 teenagers because of our limited space," Soechemi said, referring to a technical high school run by the foundation which uses another school building located some 500 meters from the park.

"They have to understand and realize that they still have underprivileged neighbors," he said, adding that 90 percent of the Jelambar residents are well-off Indonesians of Chinese descent.

Hundreds of residents have demanded that the City Council put an end to the plan, saying that the plot has been designated by the Jakarta administration for a public park.

R.V.L. Gurning, the spokesman for the protesters, said that the residents had raised Rp 3 million (US$1,376) to finance the improvement of the park in a bid to plant more trees in heavily polluted Jakarta.

Gurning, a retired army colonel, said the residents also objected to the existence of the technical high school because the students have been involved in brawls.

The park is a part of a 107-hectare housing area, once owned by police officers. It is popularly known as Kavling Polri Jelambar.

Soechemi said that now most of the 2,250 houses had been sold to other people.

He said that he could understand the residents' worry about the behavior of the students.

The secretary stressed that firm measures, including semi- military training, had been introduced at the school in efforts to modify their behavior.

"Fifteen students were expelled from school this year because of their bad conduct," he said, adding that the foundation owners are retired police officers.

Soechemi also showed the approval of the school issued by the Ministry of Education on April 1994, as well as the approved school design blueprint issued by the City Administration.

"I just really want to know what the purpose is of the man who tells lies," he said bluntly, adding that he planned to file a lawsuit against Gurning for defamation.

Gurning said that the residents had raised around Rp 3 million (US$1,376) to finance the park renovation. It was halted, however, due to the plan of Bhara Raharja Foundation, to build Bhara Trikora Technical High School on the park location.

According to a resident, who asked not to be identified, the Bhara Raharja foundation is now building zinc fences surrounding the park location.

The residents asked the chief of the Jelambar subdistrict and the chief of the West Jakarta city planning office to revoke the licenses of Bhara Trikora school building in November 1992 but no reply was given.

Masagoes Uzwar Fatommy Asaari, the vice chairman of the City Council's Commission A who received the protesters, said that based on information from an official of the West Jakarta city planning office, the 3,000 square meter plot in Jelambar will be used to build education facilities and school buildings.

Masagoes added that the ministry of education and culture has given a recommendation to the city stating that the area still needs more schools.

Chairman of Commission A, Mohammad Aman, pledged that the commission would study the case thoroughly and would also use the original city plans as a basis for further conversation with other parties.(bsr/09)