Sat, 06 Mar 1999

Hotel Mulia starts paying penalty, says Sutiyoso

JAKARTA (JP): The management of five-star Hotel Mulia has started to pay the Rp 15.37 billion penalty imposed on it, amid controversy, by the city administration for violating building height restrictions, Governor Sutiyoso said on Friday.

Sutiyoso said the hotel was paying the penalty in installments, but he declined to give details on when the payment started and the amount of each installment.

The governor said the Rp 15.37 billion figure was decided on after the original amount was reduced by 25 percent on the request of the hotel, which cited financial difficulties caused by the current crisis.

"We couldn't fulfill their request of a 75 percent reduction," he said.

Last year the hotel management was fined Rp 20.5 billion for violating city regulations on the maximum height of buildings.

The plans approved for the hotel project, jointly signed by then Jakarta governor Surjadi Soedirdja and former state secretary/minister Moerdiono, allowed for construction of a 16- story structure. But the contractor built the 1,008-room hotel in 40 stories.

The US$240 million hotel was opened in September 1997 by former president Soeharto. The facility was used to accommodate athletes competing in the 19th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held in October that year.

The hotel management asked the city administration for a 75 percent reduction to the Rp 20.5 billion penalty in November last year, but the request was rejected by Sutiyoso.

The governor said that one of the administration's considerations in granting the lesser penalty reduction was that the management had rendered service to the country by accommodating the SEA games athletes.

"They told me that actually they were reluctant (to build the hotel for the sake of the games), but certain parties had forced them to. We should listen to their contention," he said.

Sutiyoso also denied on Friday allegations that he has repeatedly delayed the takeover process of two disputed buildings on Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur in Central Jakarta, owned by Soeharto's youngest son, Hutomo Mandala Putra, popularly known as Tommy.

The city administration announced earlier that Tommy's 18- story Humpuss building and seven-story Timor building had violated land-use regulations.

Presidential Decree No. 25/1995 on the development of the Medan Merdeka area forbids private companies from building offices in the area, including along Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur.

The area is designed to be a buffer zone from development for Medan Merdeka Park, where the National Monument (Monas) stands.

"We are waiting for the central government's decision on whether to take over the properties if the company fails to pay its Rp 3 trillion debt to the government, the deadline of which will fall on March 26," he said.

He said the administration would immediately take over the Humpuss and Timor buildings if the government decided it should do so. (ind)