Sat, 11 Nov 2000

Governor hesitant about nightspots

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Sutiyoso on Friday admitted that he was hesitant about his decision to allow nightspots in the capital to stay open during the fasting month.

"Many people seem against my decision. Some councillors demanded a whole-month's closure while certain groups threatened to raid the nightspots during the fasting month," Sutiyoso said during a dialog with ulemas in South Jakarta.

"I am trying to accommodate the interests of everybody because some people do make a living from nightspots, but on the other hand and I have restricted their operating hours to respect the holy month of Ramadhan," he added.

A 1999 city bylaw stipulates that during the fasting month of Ramadhan, amusement centers can open only after the evening prayers, at about 7 p.m., and must close before the predawn meal, which begins at about 3 a.m.

One of the Ulema's Ali Bin Zen Al'kaf said that most of the ulemas understand the reason for the governor's decision because some people have to make a living and closing the nightspots will have a negative economic impact.

"I think, the governor should hold a dialog to find the most suitable solution that can accommodate the needs of everyone. With the dialog we can make people understand the reason for your decision," Ali said.

He further said that Islam never condones anarchic actions and if some groups conduct raids, wreck or burn the nightspots then they cannot be referred to as representatives of Muslims. (dja)