Tue, 24 Jun 2003

Preachers demand arrest of mayor

BATAM, Riau: A group of Muslim preachers demanded on Monday that the local police bring Mayor Nyat Kadir and Deputy Mayor Asman Abnur to justice for their alleged involvement in the opening of a casino in the Tering Bay resort here.

Iskandar Zulkarnaen, representing the Batam Association of Muslim Preachers, said the police were unfair for declaring the head of the municipal tourism agency, Buralimar, the sole suspect in the case.

"How come a municipality agency head dared to sign a contract with a company without the knowledge of the mayor, who is his or her boss?" Iskandar said.

He was referring to a memorandum of understanding signed by Buralimar and PT Dewa Menara Wisata on the operation of an integrated tourist resort in the Tering Bay area, which would include a casino.

Gambling is banned under Indonesian law.

Batam Police chief Sr. Comr. Suhartono refused to accede to the demand, saying the investigation of the case had been taken over by the provincial police.

Separately, Asman also declined to comment on reports that he owned shares in the resort management company. -- JP