Tue, 11 Oct 1994

Suryadi warns officials not to abuse housing subsidies

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Surjadi Soedirdja threatened yesterday to dismiss officials who are found guilty of abusing house rent funds provided by the city administration to residents of Bendungan Hilir in Central Jakarta.

"I will not hesitate to expel such officials as their malfeasance is threatening the city's programs," Surjadi said, urging the people to report any wrongdoing to the City Hall.

The governor made the remarks in response to complaints about misuses of the funds, which are designed to help families whose houses in Bendungan Hilir were ravaged by fire on Sept. 9 to rent homes pending the completion of apartments in the area.

The city administration has agreed to pay Rp 400,000 (US$190), more than the compensation payments of their properties, to each of the families to rent houses.

The city administration has repeatedly warned the residents not to rebuild their houses since the area will be used to develop low-cost apartments for them. However this plan was rejected by the residents.

The governor acknowledged that certain people wanted to hinder the government's fight against poverty by instigating people to oppose the apartment development plan.

"I am sure that such people were happy when their agitation was able to lead to a clash between area residents and the authorities following demolition at the fire site on Friday," Surjadi said, adding that prior to the incident he had instructed his officers to continue the eviction and avoid clashing with residents.

Hundreds of workers and members of the civil defense corps, backed by military and police officers, were involved in a clash with residents of Bendungan Hilir fire site in Central Jakarta when they tried to demolish houses after negotiations over land compensation collapsed.

The area residents reportedly refused compensation which was set at Rp 235,000 per square meter for their homes from the city administration and asked that the amount be increased to Rp 1 million per square meter instead.

Meanwhile, Mora Tua Simamora, the deputy of Central Jakarta Mayor denied the allegations of malfeasance.

"I guarantee that none of my officers has cut the amount of the funds because I myself supervised the distribution of the funds," he told reporters yesterday.

Simamora said that his office has urged residents whose houses were rebuilt after the fire to demolish theirs within three days. Out of the 300 houses rebuilt after the fire incident, 270 were destroyed by law enforcement officials.


The governor underlined that apartment building in the city, including low-cost apartments, will continue because it is important to help create a more prosperous life for its residents.

"The city administration chooses to build apartments because Jakarta is facing land shortages while at the same time people from other provinces continue to pour into the city," he said.

He explained that since people who enter Jakarta come mostly from lower income groups, the city concentrates its program on the low-cost apartments.

"The low-cost apartments will be built mostly in slum areas, including Karet Tengsin, Bendungan hilir, Tanah Tinggi, Petamburan and Kebon Kacang, where land is owned by the government while their land titles are for housing purposes," he said.

Surjadi said that the city administration will continue the public presentation on low-cost apartment in a bid to help prevent similar incidents between residents and city law enforcement officials in the future. (yns)