Wed, 17 May 2000

Police ask for more fund from city administration

JAKARTA (JP): Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Nurfaizi asked the city administration on Tuesday to increase the allocated budget for city police because the annual budget was too small to finance police operations and activities.

"We contribute some Rp 6 billion (US$705,882) a day to the city administration via driver's licenses, vehicle taxes and other revenues. So why do we receive only Rp 900 million, a small percentage of our contribution, a year?" Nurfaizi told a hearing on city security programs at City Council building.

He did not mention how much the city police should get, but said that the budget would not be enough to finance the 18,000 police officers in Jakarta.

Deputy Governor for Administration Affairs Abdul Kahfi said the city administration had allocated some Rp 16 billion for the public order sector in the 2000 city budget.

"But it's not only for police, it's also for City Military Command and other public order forces," he said in the meeting, also attended by several top city police officers.

The hearing started with a presentation of police agendas and programs by the Jakarta Police chief of Operational Control, Col. Soenarko.

Soenarko said tensions would intensify during the period between May and August as there were several dates that may lead to student protests or demonstrations.

"For example, on May 21 we predict that there will be another protest for the date commemorates former president Soeharto's resignation from the presidency," he said.

The councillors also asked for police explanations regarding several issues like gambling, illegal levies and the recent Glodok riot.

Nurfaizi said he would bear the responsibility if it is discovered that the police violated procedures in handling the Glodok incident.

"But regarding the lack of police coordination to handle the unrest, you should ask the National Police," he said.

The police chief, however, did not elaborate on the ongoing investigation into the riot.

"It's still under investigation. Just wait and see," he said.

Councillors were dissatisfied with the presentation and asked the police to be more transparent in doing their jobs.

"I expected that the officers would give such standard answers to our questions. They can easily shift the responsibility," councillor Posman Siahaan of the Justice and Unity Party (PKP) faction told reporters.

"They can say, for instance, it was up to the court to sentence crooks and not the police," he said.

Posman also said police still sing the same old song, blaming everything on lack of funds and personnel.

"But they never told us how they manage their resources with so little money," he said.

"The most important thing is that we all are willing to learn and improve, including the city councillors," he added.

Similar comments were made by councillor Bimo Hastoro of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction.

"City police cannot simply say that they lack money because of the city's limited budget. What would they do with it if they did have more money? Have they used what they have effectively?" he asked.

He said it was important for the police to improve their bad image.

"They have tried to change their image, such as having detectives dress in civilian clothes instead of uniforms. But residents demand more from them," he said.

"I think it will be a long time before the police can improve its sullied image," he added.

Bimo was confident that residents would gladly help the police if there were signs of improvement in their ranks, however.

During the meeting, Nurfaizi said the Greater Jakarta area has witnessed 62 cases of street justice with 73 victims, including 40 fatalities, in the first five months of this year alone.

Two of the cases took place in North Jakarta, eight in West Jakarta, six in South Jakarta, 16 in East Jakarta, 12 in Tangerang, 14 in Bekasi and two in Depok.

"Such cases of street justice show that people's law obedience is on the decline," he told the councillors. (09/nvn)