Thu, 04 May 2000

Private parking operators threaten to sue government

JAKARTA (JP): Operators of privately owned shopping centers warned on Wednesday that they would sue the city administration if it went ahead with its plan to close down the city's private parking lots for their failure to adjust their parking fees in tandem with official fees by June 1.

"We'll file a lawsuit with the Jakarta State Administrative Court against the city administration if it insists on closing down the parking lots," said Stefanus Ridwan, chairman of the Jakarta Chapter of the Indonesian Association of Shopping Complex Management (APPBI).

The city administration announced on Tuesday a plan to close the private parking lots, if the operators failed to adjust their fees set by the administration as regulated in the City Bylaw No. 5/1999 on Parking.

Stefanus said the administration did not have the authority to enforce the bylaw, calling the bylaw unlawful.

"The bylaw allows the city administration to regulate private parking lots. However, it is against Government Regulation No. 20/1997 on Provincial/Mayoralty Retribution," he told The Jakarta Post at his office.

He said the government regulation prohibited the administration to "interfere" with management of private parking lots.

"Article 3 of the government regulation rules that the administration manages parking lots which are owned and operated by the administration, but not ones run by private parking operators," he said.

Stefanus said the administration should let the parking lot management be controlled by the market.

"It is not healthy if the government intervenes in the market, since it will lead to high costs, including illegal levies," he said.

He said people would grab the advantages if the administration let the market mechanism prevail in the parking business.

"Indeed, some operators may set higher fees for parking, but automatically they will add additional facilities for the consumers' conveniences to win the competition among operators," he said, adding that it might include the placement of CCTVs (Close Circuit Televisions) or air conditioners in the parking lots.

He accused the city administration of being inconsistent.

"We met city administration officials on Tuesday night, and they agreed to discuss the fees on Friday.

"But, city administration officials made a statement in the media against the initial agreement," he said, while referring to the administration's threat to close the parking lots of disobedient private parking operators as of June 1.

Assistant to City Secretary on Administrative Affairs, Ma'mun Amin, said on Tuesday the administration postponed the deadline for the private parking operators so they could adjust their parking tariff with the tariff set by the bylaw.

The deadline was extended from May 1 to June 1.

The ruling was issued in response to a statement by Deputy Governor for Economic and Finance Affairs Fauzi Alvi Yasin on April 24, that the administration wanted the parking operators in private places to set parking rates at Rp 1,000 for the first hour and Rp 1,000 for each following hour as of May 1.

In obedience to the ruling, the Pasaraya shopping center in South Jakarta's Blok M area has lowered its parking tariff since May 1.

Previously, the shopping center set the parking tariff at Rp 2,000 for the first hour and Rp 1,000 for each following hour.

"We decided to follow the administration's ruling on April 24 and adjust the tariff," Maya Rahmayanti, Public Relations Manager of the company, said. (asa)