Sat, 04 Nov 2000

Sutiyoso slams subordinates over illegal billboard

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Sutiyoso slammed his subordinates on Friday for allowing the erection of a billboard in a restricted area of the capital and ordered the officials who had allegedly issued the permit to return the billboard owner's money.

Speaking to several high-ranking city officials, under the watchful eyes of journalists, in his office, Sutiyoso expressed his concern that some of the officials had intentionally violated the regulation on billboard permits.

"I really do not understand these people. Why are you so desperate? You all know that the erection of billboards is prohibited in that area.

"Now, I'll have to be responsible for all this mess," Sutiyoso said.

A huge billboard advertising a well-known toothpaste brand on Jl. Sisingamangaraja in South Jakarta has generated a polemic in many local newspapers over the past few days as Gubernatorial Decree No. 702/1992 clearly stipulates that this street is one of the six streets in the capital prohibited for billboards.

The billboard, measuring 10 meters by 20 meters, was erected last month. It is reported that the company had paid its 2000/2001 fee, amounting to Rp 109,500,000 (US$11,526), to the city administration.

"We have to return the fee that was paid and take the billboard down as soon as possible," Sutiyoso said heatedly.

The Suara Pembaruan afternoon daily has reported that Kemal, the President Director of PT. Cinggar Indo Galba, the advertising company that paid for the advertisement, said that the company had given the money to the Jakarta Soccer Association (Persija).

He, however, declined to disclose the amount of money he had paid to Persija officials.


Kemal said that he had received the recommendation from the City Planning Agency chief Ahmadin Ahmad, who is also a Persija official, after handing over the money.

He said that he had also paid the city government's fee for the erection of the advertisement.

"I had been informed that Jl. Sisingamangaraja was a restricted area for billboards.

"However, the City Planning Agency guaranteed that we were allowed to place the billboard there as long as we paid a certain amount of money," he said.

"It is a fact that the billboard is there right now and if the city administration is planning to take it down, I will sue them," Kemal said.

Ahmadin could not be contacted on Friday as he was on vacation in the United States.

It is widely known that the City Planning Agency has long been "used" to provide funds for Persija because many of the city officials are executives of the soccer organization.

Sutiyoso and Deputy Governor for Administrative Affairs Abdul Kahfi are members of the Persija board of patrons. (dja)