Fri, 22 Dec 2000

Upset Kamra leave Jakarta, plan response

JAKARTA (JP): Angry with the government, approximately 1,000 People's Security Militia (Kamra) members from Central Java left the capital for their hometowns on Thursday, pledging to do "something" to express their dissatisfaction.

"Let's see what we'll do back home," Putut Edi Sutrisno, a leader of the group, said as he broke into tears after meeting with related government ministers and a senior member of the House of Representatives.

Putut added: "There are more than 5,000 Kamra members in Central Java that will be disappointed by the decision. I will not guarantee their disappointment will not turn ugly."

The members of the group had demanded to be allowed to apply for positions with the police or military, a demand that was rejected. The government instead offered the group 150 vacant overseas jobs, or the chance to register with provincial transmigration offices to take part in the government-sponsored transmigration scheme.

The administration, after a brief meeting with a senior member of the House, decided on Thursday to dissolve Kamra and give each member Rp 1 million (US$105), or about four times their monthly salary. There are 36,000 Kamra personnel nationwide.

Initially, the government planned to disband Kamra on Wednesday.

In the meeting with House Deputy Speaker Sutardjo Soerjoguritno the government was represented by Minister of Defense Mahfud M.D., Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Alhilal Hamdi and National Police deputy chief Insp. Gen. Pandji Atmasudirdja.

Five Kamra representatives, including Putut, also took part in the 90-minute meeting at the House.

After the meeting, Sutardjo explained the details of the government's decision to the five Kamra representatives and journalists.

After the announcement, Putut began to scream and cry, leaving all those in the room, including the two ministers, in stunned silence.

Seconds later, Sutardjo and all of the government officials left the room.

According to Mahfud, the government has decided to dissolve Kamra on Friday. The decision will be put into practice when ceremonies are simultaneously held in every police precinct and subprecinct across the country.

After being officially dismissed, each Kamra member will receive their Rp 1 million compensation.

The Central Java Kamra members, who arrived in Jakarta on Saturday, left for home aboard a Sapujagat train provided by the government.

Kamra was established in 1998 during the tenure of then defense minister and armed forces chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto. The group was formed as part of the plan to bolster security in the country. (byg/02)