Fri, 28 Mar 2003

Govt mulls another tax for pets

JAKARTA: The government is considering imposing a tax on individuals keeping protected animals as their pets, a senior official said Thursday.

Director for biodiversity at the Forestry Ministry Adi Susmianto said the tax option was being discussed during a three- day seminar on Indonesian wildlife that began on Thursday.

"Imposing a tax on protected animal owners could serve as a deterrent for people intending to keep protected animals as pets," Adi said.

Up until 1990, individuals here were allowed to have protected, often rare, animals as pets, provided they secured a license from related government offices.

Adi said thousands of Indonesian individuals across the country still had rare, protected animals.

He said the government could impose the tax after it took an inventory of the protected pets. He did not give any specific target date. --JP

;JP;KHS; ANPA..r.. Scene-lawsuit-Akbar-RakyatMerdeka 'Rakyat Merdeka' suit continues JP/4/scen28

'Rakyat Merdeka' suit continues

JAKARTA: The South Jakarta district court decided that there was enough grounds to proceed with the lawsuit filed by Golkar chairman Akbar Tandjung against Rakyat Merdeka daily's chief editor Karim Paputungan for defamation.

Akbar, who was recently found guilty and given three years for corruption by the Central Jakarta district court, sued Karim for publishing a caricature featuring a shirtless Akbar with a glaring heading: "Akbar is doomed, Golkar cries" early last year.

Presiding judge Asnawati said on Thursday that a preliminary trial had rejected Karim's defense that the caricature did not mean to insult Akbar, who is also the House Speaker.

Bachtiar Sitanggang, Karim's lawyer, denied the defamation charge, saying that there was no statement or sentence in the caricature that could be taken as defamation.

The trial was adjourned until next month to hear to the testimonies of Akbar and other witnesses.

Defamation carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and four months. --JP

;JP;ANTARA;EVI; ANPAa..r.. Scene-education-bill MUI supports controversial bill JP/4/scene

MUI supports controversial bill

JAKARTA: A delegation from the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) and leaders of a few Muslim organizations went to the House of Representatives on Thursday to express their support for the controversial education bill.

"We hope the House will listen to our aspirations to avert large-scale demonstrations," MUI secretary general Din Syamsuddin stated shortly before a meeting with a group of House members.

Din is also vice chairman of Muhammadiyah, the country's second largest Muslim organization.

The House is currently deliberating on the bill on national education that requires all schools, including those run by religious groups, to provide religious teachers for students from other religions.

The stipulation has drawn strong opposition from experts who argued that the ruling was a form of government intervention in religious life.

The bill, if passed into law, is likely to affect Christian schools most, where almost half of the students are Muslims or adherents of other religions. --JP