Mon, 08 Aug 1994

Officials asked to be more sensitive to local cultures

JAKARTA (JP): Government officials assigned to work in the regions must be more sensitive to the feelings of the local people, President Soeharto says.

In his speech inaugurating graduates of the STPDN, the public administration school, Soeharto reminded government officials on Saturday that the huge diversity of the nation means that in many cases, they may not be able to apply general solutions to specific problems encountered in the regions.

"The job of accommodating the aspiration and interest of different people is not easy," Soeharto said during the graduation ceremony held at the college's building in Jatinagor, Sumedang, West Java. "But what is even more difficult is the job of encouraging the people's initiative and creativity."

He said their jobs no doubt have political and economic aspects. "But they often are also rooted in the socio-cultural values of the people. And very often they are also linked to the teachings of the religion they follow."

A total of 933 graduates were inducted during the ceremony. The graduates will begin their careers in the government as staff in the lowest level of administration, and therefore will be the ones who will be dealing with the people directly.

Soeharto said the officials must not hesitate in formulating specific policies to deal with problems in their respective fields if and when the need arises.

The government plans to continue with its program to decentralize the administration and give greater autonomy to the regional administrators so that the aspirations and interests of the local people are catered to, he said. (05)