Mon, 09 Oct 2000

Officials' poor quality blamed for poor service

JAKARTA (JP): Deputy Governor of Administrative Affairs Abdul Kahfi is shifting the blame for the city administration's failure to address the problem of street people to the poor quality and limited number of city officials.

"Most of our officials are ill-equipped or not well-trained to deal with street vendors, prostitutes, homeless people or social disturbances.

"We do not have enough public order officials either," Kahfi said on Friday.

He said Jakarta was a complex city with many social problems that constantly change.

"So it's impossible for city officials to handle them all," he said.

Kahfi said the city administration officials could not cover the whole of Jakarta to raid street vendors, prostitutes and street children, nor to anticipate public disorder in the capital.

"The capital is so dynamic. How can we detect or control things? It's impossible. We have tried everything to reduce the problems, but it's not easy," he said.

Reducing instances of public disorder is a priority which Governor Sutiyoso stipulated in his revised accountability speech on Aug. 22.

Following councillors' rejection of his initial accountability speech on July 20, Sutiyoso ordered routine raids on street vendors, prostitutes, the homeless and others who make a living on the capital's streets.

The official raids will be completed by the end of this month.

But the streets of Jakarta do not seem to have fewer street people, despite the administration's claim to have raided more than 40,000 people.

Currently, the capital only has 783 public order officials with overall operational funds of Rp 2 billion (US$222,220), allocated from the city budget.

The administration has been told by the councillors to hire more officials at the city Public Order Office, as the city should have a minimum of 2,775 public order officials and a Rp 10 billion budget.

"We would like to appeal to all mayors, district and subdistrict officials to be more helpful and be more responsible for social disturbances in their respective areas, rather than waiting for instructions from the central government," Kahfi said.

He said that Jakartans should also help the city reduce instances of public disorder.

The chairman of City Council Commission E for social welfare, Edy Suchro Abdul Djalal, underlined that the city administration should be more serious, even though the raids would end this month.

"The city has to address the real societal problems and have clear programs for those netted in raids.

"How the city can help them improve their quality of life is more important that just arresting these people," Edy said. (dja)