Fri, 15 Dec 2000

Kamra members burn uniforms in protest

JAKARTA (JP): Hopes for help appeared to go up in smoke as dozens of People's Security (Kamra) civilian guards burned their uniforms in the lobby of the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Kamra members went to the House to ask legislators what measures they had taken to defuse their anxiety now that the expiration of their service on Dec. 31 is fast approaching.

One of the protesters, representing members of Kamra assigned to Kalideres and Cengkareng police precincts in West Jakarta, said the civilian guards set their uniforms on fire to express their disappointment over the failure of legislators to appear and receive them.

"The House and the government who gave us false promises should meet us today and find a solution to our problem," an emotional Syaiful said.

The House is in recess until January next year. Some legislators were present to attend a consultation meeting with Attorney General Marzuki Darusman.

Syaiful said the Kamra members came to ask the House to urge the government, particularly the ministry of defense and ministry of finance, to take heed of their future, as they will be jobless by the end of this year.

"The government has promised to employ us at the Jakarta administration, whether as public order (Tramtib) officers, security guards or fire department officers. But up to now none of the promises have materialized," he said.

Syaiful, from Cengkareng, said they also came to the House to seek confirmation of their holiday allowances and severance pay.

"The police precincts whom we work with, told us to come today to check whether we would receive our allowances but nobody was there. That's why we are here," he added.

Kamra was formed in 1998 based on Law No. 56 on people's security. The law stipulates that Kamra members serve for one year, with a maximum of one year extension of service.

The government has employed about 36,000 Kamra to assist police in maintaining order.

The protesters gave legislators a Monday deadline to decide on steps to help Kamra members.

"We will return with 12,000 people and we are ready to rock the city if the legislators fail to heed our demands," Syaiful said. (bby)