Sat, 01 Oct 1994

Purchase of `Kiblat' building is `lawful'

JAKARTA (JP): The former owner of the building housing the offices of Kiblat magazine said that PT Technodev Inti Utama legally purchased the building following the failure of the magazine to execute their working agreement.

"Technodev is the real owner of that building," Bakrie Soedja, an executive of the Haj Pilgrimage Foundation (PHI), announced at a press conference here on Thursday.

He was referring to the 514-square-meter property on Jl. H. Agus Salim, popularly known as Jl. Sabang, Central Jakarta.

Earlier reports said that the foundation, the former owner of the structure, had sold its property in July although it was legally bound to an 18-year build-operate-and-transfer contract, which was signed six years ago with the management of Kiblat.

Dozens employees of the Kiblat biweekly magazine, who said they felt they had been stabbed in the back by the foundation's move, refused to vacate the building and even challenged the validity of the land title.

Amid the dispute, dozens of thugs, who claimed to work for Technodev, raided the building and harassed the magazine's employees.

The thugs stormed the two-story building, demolished walls, smashed down doors and shattered windows.

They said that Technodev was representing the state-owned Bank Dagang Negara (BDN), which initially proposed acquiring all of the disputed 3,500-square-meter plot of land on Jl. Sabang.

BDN headquarters is located on Jl. Kebon Sirih next to the Kiblat Center building.


Bakrie, however, said that the Haj Pilgrimage Foundation (PHI) and the Ya Bunayya Foundation, which jointly published Kiblat with the Kiblat Publishing Foundation, had agreed to cancel their agreement on Nov. 8, 1989.

He said that the pilgrimage foundation had carried no obligation toward Ya Bunayya following the failure of that foundation to fulfill all of its responsibilities to develop the building and to pay the rent.

Accompanying Bakrie at the press conference was Maj. Gen. (ret) M. Muchlas Rowi, currently the chief editor of Kiblat, who reiterated that both the pilgrimage foundation and Ya Bunayya had agreed to break their working contract.

Rowi said that Ya Bunayya had failed to publish the bi-weekly over the last two years, adding that five of the eight founding members of Kiblat had also agreed to look for another partner to publish the Islamic journal.

Kiblat employees earlier reported the problem to the House of Representatives and the Jakarta administration, as well as the National Commission on Human Rights.

They said that one of the thugs had even beaten a reporter of Kiblat, Muhammad Abduh, while he was taking pictures of the ruined building on Monday morning.

"The police didn't do anything during the attack. We have an impression that the police even let the hoodlums demolish the building," Muljo Kurniawan, one of the witnesses to the incident, said.

The Kiblat biweekly magazine was established in 1966. Its circulation manager, Hari Utomo, said that its circulation is currently 20,000. (09)