The Jakarta Post
Despite increasing protests, the city administration will continue clearing all public places of illegal vendors because their presence has been deemed to have disturbed public order and deteriorated the environment.
Head of the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), Kukuh Hadi Santosa, said the series of raids would continue until all public places were cleared of illegal vendors, their booths and shanties.
'Jakarta is already [too] crowded. Wherever they [vendors] go, they trash the public place and make it dirty. It is also illegal for them to be there [on the streets and public parks] in the first place, according to the city bylaws,' Kukuh said.
With the deployment of thousands of personnel, the Satpol PP has demolished thousands of illegal kiosks and shanties on sidewalks, in public parks and on land belonging to state-owned PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI) while many owners were away celebrating Idul Fitri with families.
Kukuh said that the Satpol PP had evicted 3,500 street vendors from public places such as National Monument (Monas) park and Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta, Old Town in West Jakarta, the Pasar Minggu and Kebayoran Lama markets in South Jakarta, and the Jatinegara, Klender and Gembrong markets in East Jakarta.
The series of raids drew sharp criticism from the Indonesian Street Vendor Association (APKLI) and activists, who said the raid was an ineffective, short-term tactic divorced from a long-term strategy. Without the articulation of a long-term strategy, they added, street vendors would have nowhere to turn for employment.
Munir, a seller of glasses, wallets, hand bags and trinkets, said the confiscation of his products had severely impacted his livelihood.
'After they took my table I only make 15,000 rupiah a day. I used to earn 100,000,' said Munir, who now displays his wares atop a plastic tarp on the side of a dirty street.
Ahon, a strongman leader of an informal security group at Melayu market, claimed that the raids were part of a personal vendetta.
'It is customary for people [vendors] to give gifts before Idul Fitri [to the Satpol PP]. The Saptol PP evicted those vendors because I refused to give them gifts,' he said.
'If Jokowi had actually been the one behind this, he would have found an alternative place for the vendors to sell,' he added.
Udin Bodong, a vendor of mice and small rodents at Pasar Kumining in Jatinegara, East Jakarta, said that the raids occurred around two to three times a day, and that it had been going on for over a month now, with increased frequency during and after Idul Fitri.
'The [Saptol PP] commanders are usually quite polite when they ask us to move, but sometimes they can get quite rough and violent,' said Udin. He added that every time an eviction took place, the Satpol PP offered no information as to where the vendors would be relocated.
Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama said the city was actually in need of street vendors, but their presence had to be regulated to prevent damage to the environment and public space.
'The presence of street vendors who sell affordable food and beverages are needed by low-income workers, but their operations must be regulated to prevent them from creating slum areas and deteriorating public parks in the city,' Ahok said.
Ahok said the raid would continue until all public space and land belonging to PT KAI was cleared of shanties and illegal street vendors.
'Illegal street vendors without Jakarta ID cards will be sent back to their hometowns, while those holding Jakarta ID cards will be educated, given a special card and relocated to a designated place where they will be given low-cost apartments,' he said.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said it was wrong to expect the city to provide jobs to Jakarta newcomers.
'That is why the city administration has boosted cooperation with a number of regional administrations in West, Central and East Java: to discourage their residents from migrating to Jakarta and, instead, to speed up development programs to generate more jobs for them,' he said. (fss)
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