KPUD office set ablaze by disappointed civil servant
The Padang Sidempuan Police in North Sumatra on Thursday detained a civil servant for allegedly setting fire to the Regional General Elections Commission (KPUD) office, after he was denied the chance to run in the mayoral election.
Police identified the suspect as Ali Anas Hasibuan, who is still listed as a civil servant at the North Sumatra Plantation Office.
Padang Sidempuan Police chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Andi S Taufik, said police caught the suspect moments after he set fire to the Padang Sidempuan KPUD office. Andi added that Ali had been named the sole suspect in the arson attack.
“The suspect carried out the arson attack on the Padang Sidempuan KPUD office alone. He brought gasoline and started the fire, which burned two rooms and several important election documents,” Andi told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Andi said the suspect set the fire at around 2 p.m. local time on Wednesday. Just beforehand, he was attending a meeting on the second floor. He suddenly yelled at everyone and told them to leave, threatening to burn the room.
Andi added that there were no casualties during the incident, as office workers were quick to douse the flames in the two rooms, one of which was the KPUD head’s office.
“The amount of damage from the fire is estimated at around Rp 40 million (US$4,500),” he said.
Asked what had caused the suspect to set fire to the KPUD office, Andi said that based on preliminary investigations, the suspect felt frustrated because he had failed in his attempt to become an independent candidate to contest the mayoral election.
“He said he was disappointed with failing to become a mayoral candidate, so he burned the KPUD office,” said Andi, adding that the action was purely criminal. He also said police had charged Ali with violating Article 187 of the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum 12-year prison sentence.
When asked for confirmation, Padang Sidempuan KPUD head Arbannur Rasyid said activities at the KPUD office were currently suspended due to the fire.
Rasyid said his office would find another place which KPUD members could use temporarily to prepare for the election process. He added that his office would keep the Padang Sidempuan mayoral election on schedule. “The mayoral election will still be held on Oct. 18. There will be no changes despite the fire,” said Rasyid.
He said he was shocked when he watched Ali set fire to the KPUD building because he knew him very well. Rasyid confirmed that Ali had registered as an independent candidate for the election. However, he added that Ali had failed to meet the administrative requirements so his candidacy was later nullified.
“He failed to meet the requirement to collect at least 14,798 identity cards for support. And then, he only sent one copy of the candidacy documents rather than the three copies as required,” said Rasyid.
Rasyid said six pairs of independent candidates had registered with the KPUD, but two of them had been removed from the race as they failed to meet administrative conditions, one of them being Ali Anas Hasibuan.