Wed, 29 Nov 2000

Government seeking solution for civilian militia

JAKARTA (JP): Acting Minister of Defense Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday that the government would help to solve the problems faced by the 36,000 members of the People's Security (Kamra) civilian militia upon the termination of their services on Dec. 31.

"The government will not close its eyes to the sensitive problem being faced by the civilian militia's members as their services will no longer be extended. We're coordinating with provincial administrations and numerous major companies to employ them," he said after consultation with the House of Representatives Commissions I and II for defense, security and legal and home affairs.

The meeting, presided over by Deputy House Speaker Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno, was held as a follow-up to the civilian militia's recent demand for an extension of their service.

Representatives of the civilian militia met with Yogyakarta's Sultan Hamengkubuwono X recently, demanding that the government extend their service.

Susilo said that according to law, the civilian militia, established in 1998 to help reinforce the National Police, were recruited for one-year service, but must be terminated after a one-year extension.

He said the central government was coordinating with 19 provinces where the civilian militia were deployed to look for a better solution to their problem.

"Some of them will be employed by provincial and regency administrations while others will be employed as security guards at major private companies, including automaker PT Astra Motor," he said, adding that some would likely be recruited by the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI).

National Police chief Gen. S. Bimantoro, who along with TNI chief Adm. Widodo A.S. and Minister of Home Affairs and Regional Autonomy Surjadi Soedirdja accompanied Susilo in the meeting, said the police with the military's help would be able to tackle duties entrusted to the civilian militia.

"Police have decided to extend the pension age from 45 years to 55 years for low-ranking personnel and to deploy more police officers from its headquarters to take over the civilian militia's tasks," he said.

He said the law also allows the National Police to seek help from the military in handling any emergency situations in the field.

He conceded that the civilian militia was established to help police handle riots which were widespread following former president Soeharto's resignation in 1998.

"With the police's new policy and the military's help, the police can be expected to maintain security and order following the termination of the civilian militia's service next month," he said. (rms)