Administration denies squatters’ request for IDs
I have ID: Residents of Kampung Pulo in East Jakarta show off their new ID cards. The city government has launched a mobile service from which residents can apply for ID cards and other citizenship documents. Hundreds of people in Plumpang, North Jakarta, have been barred from applying for ID cards because they are considered illegal squatters. JP/Wendra AjistyatamaA request by residents of the Tanah Merah neighborhood in Plumpang, North Jakarta, to register them as legal citizens has been denied by the city government.
Tanah Merah residents staged a rally on Monday, the latest of many protests that have been staged, in front of the City Hall and the Council building in Central Jakarta to reiterate their demands for equal treatment with other city residents.
“We have lived in Tanah Merah for decades and there are now 27,000 people living in the area, but the city government continues to deny our rights,” rally spokesman Mohammad Huda said.
Huda said that as the city denied their request for identification, many residents of Tanah Merah were not able to apply for birth certificates, family registration cards and ID cards — documents important for access to public services.
“We have written to the governor, the Jakarta Council, the North Jakarta mayor, district head, and subdistrict head but we got no answer,” he said.
Huda said that the city government could first recognize their existence by officiating the local neighborhood unit (RT) and community unit (RW), and later issuing ID cards and birth certificates.
To apply for ID cards and other documents, residents first need a reference from community leaders. In Jakarta, the community units first need to be approved by the municipality governments.
Separately, North Jakarta Mayor Bambang Sugiyono said that the government had to deny an application from Tanah Merah residents because they were squatting on plots of land owned by state-oil company PT Pertamina.
“They occupy the land illegally. We can’t recognize community units, RT or RW if they are formed on illegal land,” Sugiyono said.
He said that the land occupied by Tanah Merah residents was a buffer zone for the Plumpang fuel depot set up by Pertamina.
Pertamina has insisted on keeping the buffer zone intact after a fire broke out in January 2009 at Pertamina’s storage tank number 24, containing 2,500 kiloliters of premium gasoline — equal to 500 tankers. Plumpang depot supplies fuel to the Greater Jakarta regions.
Tanah Merah residents currently occupy 83 hectares of land from a total of 162 hectares owned by Pertamina.
Sugiyono dismissed the claim from Tanah Merah residents that they could not apply for ID cards because of the absence of community units.
“Most of them have acquired ID cards from East and West Jakarta municipalities, some even have Tangerang IDs,” he said.
Sugiyono also said that Tanah Merah residents could in fact have access to public services. They could receive medical services from three community health centers in Rawa Badak Selatan, Tugu Selatan Koja and Kelapa Gading Barat, he said.
“They have access to health services, mortuaries, childbirth and education. It is true they can’t access Jakarta’s free healthcare scheme, but they can access healthcare from the central government. They are, after all, Indonesian citizens,” he said.
There are more 7,400 households with around 27,000 people living in Tanah Merah, data from the city’s Central Statistics Agency said.