Tue, 14 May 2002

Senen traders protest market management

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Some 100 traders from the Senen market in Central Jakarta protested on Monday against PT Pembangunan Jaya, the market operator, which unilaterally revised the contract terms which they reached with the previous management of the market in 1966.

The traders' representatives met several members of the city council on Monday and expressed their opposition to the revision on grounds that the new terms were unfavorable and that they had no say in the revision.

Jaelani, a senior adviser of the Association of the Senen Market Businessmen (P3S), said that the traders -- many of whom had established their shops there before 1966 -- disapproved of the revision calling it "unfair".

"We reject the revision of the agreement we made in 1966. We should unite so that the market operator will not treat us unfairly," Jaelani told the traders during the meeting with the councillors.

Amril, one of the shop owners, said that based on the agreement made in 1966, the traders were allowed to rent the market space for periods of 10 years and automatically extend the term thereafter if they agreed on any new rates.

The agreement in 1966 was made between the traders and the city-owned PT Pembangunan Ibukota Jakarta Raya, which managed the market.

But, he said that the private company PT Pembangunan Jaya, who later took over the management of the market, revised the agreement in 1999. The main point of contention included the terms of rental for tenants from 10 years to only five years, and that the tenants now needed to negotiate and get approval from PT Pembangunan Jaya if they wanted to extend their rental period.

Jaelani, 70, stressed that traders in Senen, particularly in Blok I and II, were different from traders in new malls in the city as they had worked as traders there since the market was still a traditional one.

The traders lodged their complaints after PT Pembangunan Jaya barred up one of the shops because the owner, Indra Darmawan, refused to sign the revised agreement. But later the city council ordered it to be reopened.

Haim Mahaddin, a member of the City Council's Commission B for economic affairs, advised the traders to unite so that they could fight for their interests.

He said that the council ordered the private company to reopen Indra's shop late last month as there was no strong reason from the management to close it, and the traders had not agreed with the revision of the accord.

"It is unfair as only one of the shops was barred up, while the others in the same situation had not been. Therefore, we order the management to it to be reopened," Haim added.

PT Pembangunan Jaya could not be reached for comment on Monday.