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Jakarta Post

Do people still need RT/ RW heads?

  • Agnes Anya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 2, 2016   /  06:16 am
Do people still need RT/ RW heads? The Jakarta administration applies smart city concept which allows residents to report and find information on any public facilities in the capital. Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama regulates city officials up to local neighborhood chiefs to follow up complaints from residents through mobile application called Qlue. (Photo taken from smartcity.jakarta.go.id/-)

For Tisha Dewi Langgani, 37, a resident of Pluit, North Jakarta, it is such relieving news to know that people can now renew their identity cards without recommendation from community unit (RW) and neighborhood unit (RT) heads.

She had this opinion because her RT head seemed to be the busiest man in the neighborhood, she told The Jakarta Post.

“It is very difficult to see my RT head just to ask for a recommendation letter. He always says he is busy,” Tisha said. “The last time [I had to ask him for a recommendation], I had to leave the application form at his house, where I received the letter two weeks later.”

Tisha further questions the function of her RT head in her neighborhood as he rarely engages with residents.

“I don’t think he knows how many family members I have without seeing my ID card,” Tisha added. “He only comes to my house to collect Independence Day or Idul Fitri celebration contributions.”

Hence, she doubts that her RT head will be able to play an assisting role in her neighborhood as argued by Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama recently.

RT and RW heads, in Ahok’s opinion, have to focus on supervising their neighborhoods, instead of merely assisting with administrative matters.

“RT and RW should know when children are not in school or when mothers are expecting babies, as well as if the elderly are not getting their health regularly checked. Hence, they should be able to help residents make decisions,” Ahok said.

In consideration of this, Ahok has implemented a policy obliging RT and RW heads to report daily three times on their neighborhood through a government monitoring application, Qlue.

Every report by a RT head will be paid Rp 10,000 (US$73 cents), while a RW head will receive Rp 12,500 per report.

Aside from the fee, according to the 2016 Gubernatorial Decree on guidance of RT and RW heads’ duty and function in Jakarta, communitylevel heads also receive a Rp 900,000 honorarium and a Rp 75,000 operational fund, while a Rp 1,125,000 honorarium and an operational fund of Rp 75,000 is also granted to neighborhood-level heads.

The policy to report, however, aroused objections from many RT and RW heads in the capital, who consider the regulation burdening for a job that is not their main occupation. They also found the fee for each report insulting given the low amount.

While protests occurred regarding the fee’s amount, Gunadi Wijayanto, 28, was more concerned about RT and RW heads being incapable of using current communication technologies, like his RT head in Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta.

“My RT head is already 60 years old and he has been in his position for more than 10 years. No one is willing to substitute him because of their own busy lives,” Gunadi said. “He is rarely on standby by his phone, which can only text and call, as technology is such a burden for him.”

The administration, hence, should figure out solutions for elderly RT and RW heads not able to operate the current technologies, added Gunadi, who felt workshops familiarizing them with the Qlue app could be a solution.

“We [residents] are thankful for having a RT head like him as no one else is willing to be in his position. It’s a waste to burden him with such reporting tasks,” Gunadi added.      

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