Thu, 04 Mar 1999

Indonesia not safe: Poll respondents

JAKARTA (JP): Most people in Indonesia say they do not feel safe because of the recent bloody riots rocking various parts of the archipelago, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted in mid-February, asked a total of 1,234 people in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Medan and Ujungpandang about the current standard of public security.

Forty-nine percent rated it "bad" while 28 percent said it was "very bad".

When asked where they feel the safest, 79.2 percent said "at home with the family", 15.4 percent gave "abroad" as their answer, and 10 percent said "out of towns/villages".

The poll was conducted by the Resource Productivity Center for The Jakarta Post and the D&R news magazine. More than two-thirds of the 1,234 respondents were male, and more than 80 percent of them are in the 20-44 age group. Different backgrounds and income levels were represented. The respondents included civil servants, private sector employees, entrepreneurs, students, housewives and retirees.

Nearly half of the respondents defined safety as having the ability to leave home without fear, while 30.7 percent defined it as having the ability to meet their physical needs.

When asked to name the most serious threats to their lives, 61.4 percent said riots with religious overtones, 52.5 percent said widespread crime and 49.6 percent cited ethnic conflicts.

Asked to name factors that would improve their sense of security, "strengthening the neighborhood watch" came first, with 55 percent of the respondents ticking this answer, and "saying prayers" followed, with 32 percent. A greater presence of police or military in the neighborhood was chosen by 19.5 percent of respondents.

Most respondents were pessimistic that security would return to anywhere near normal until after the June 7 general election, assuming that it proceeds in a democratic fashion.

When asked about what it would take to restore their sense of security, 48 percent of those surveyed said the establishment of a legitimate government after the election, and 37.9 percent believed that this would not be possible as long as the economic crisis continued.

The tally of the answers to some of the questions exceeded 100 percent as respondents were allowed to tick more than one answer.