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Jakarta Post

`Becak' drivers challenge authorities over right to work

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 6 2009   /  01:54 pm

Writer Christopher J. Koch, in his book about 1965 Jakarta on the brink of political tumult, The Year of Living Dangerously, depicted the three-wheeled pedicabs, or becak, as one of the city's icons. The story's protagonist was depicted in the book once pedaling the tricycle-rickshaw around the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to the hotel on Jl. Thamrin. Today, it would be unimaginable to see becak circling the city's landmark. The city administration banned the iconic vehicle from the streets of Jakarta in the 1970s, deeming them a menace to public order. A continuous systematic attempt to eliminate the environmentally friendly vehicle has been carried out since the late 1990s, when then Jakarta governor Sutiyoso, in a move that only he could have conceived of, dumped hundreds of becak into the Jakarta bay. In 2007, the Jakarta administration reinforced the ban under a byl...