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 Ahok, Tourism Chief Slam Jakarta Nightlife Curfew Plan

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BerichtOnderwerp: Ahok, Tourism Chief Slam Jakarta Nightlife Curfew Plan   di 6 okt 2015 - 21:05

The Jakarta Globe, Wed. Oct 6 2015

Jakarta. A plan proposed by Jakarta city councilors to have all entertainment establishment close their doors by midnight has come in for some fierce criticism, with the capital's governor and the tourism chief arguing that the proposed regulation would have nothing but negative effects.

The City Council's Legislation Agency (Balegda) recently announced it drafted a bylaw on tourism to regulate the general operating hours of entertainment venues in Jakarta, including nightclubs, karaoke clubs, saunas, massage parlors, and live music lounges.

Should any establishment be in violation of the bylaw, proprietors will be served up to three warning letters, according to the draft. Thereafter, those in violation will risk facing possible sanctions including a temporary suspension, administrative fine, or a revocation of the operating permit.

Should the bylaw receive Jakarta City Council's approval later this week, the city administration, the Jakarta Police, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), and the city’s fire brigade will need to coordinate their efforts to enforce the new regulations.

But Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is better known as Ahok, and the head of Jakarta's tourism and culture agency, Purba Hutapea, say the draft bylaw would hamper efforts by President Joko Widodo to get Indonesia's economy back on track, and do nothing to tackle drug abuse -- its stated aim.

Bad for the economy

Indonesia is currently suffering from poor economic conditions, and while the government is trying to spur growth, foreign investment and tourism, the bylaw has the potential to destabilize Jakarta’s tourism industry, Purba said.

While the intended purpose of the bylaw is to curb drug trafficking, it is also seen as contradictory to the pro-business messages presented by Joko's administration while campaigning for office last year.

"Jakarta is a metropolitan city, [with] a lot of foreigners [...] President Jokowi [is working to boost] foreign exchange income [through] the tourism sector,” added Purba, as quoted by

"The central government has allowed for visa-free visits [by people from] 75 countries. Its purpose is that the tourism sector [will grow], and [after] another five years [will] become number one, beating the oil and gas [sector]," Purba added.

The tourism chief also argued that there was no correlation between the operating hours of entertainment establishments and drug trafficking activities.

"We have to do an analysis. [The circulation of drugs] has nothing to do with restrictions on operating hours of discotheques. If people want to use drugs, [they will do so]. It's not about [whether it is midnight or 2 a.m.]," said Purba, according to

According to Purba, the most effective way to minimize the circulation of drugs in Jakarta is to maximize the role of relevant agencies, such as the National Police and BNN. He further argued that the circulation of drugs can be minimized by applying sanctions on establishments who fail to meet standards set by the relevant authorities.

Ahok: Onus on venues

Basuki echoed Purba's claims that restricting the operating hours of entertainment establishments would not eradicate drug abuse.

Basuki explained that the wording of the draft bylaw was too narrow and if the bylaw seeks to regulate the abuse of drugs generally, then the onus should be on establishments to ban illegal substances, he said.

The governor added that the prevention of drug trafficking activities would be more effective if sanctions are imposed on the establishment if drug trafficking activities are proven to take place there.

"If drugs [are found at the establishment], then [the establishment can be] closed forever and [the establishment] should not open a similar business. That should be clear," Basuki told

Basuki also pointed out that limiting the operational hours of the entertainment establishments would not help much to prevent drug abuse, as this can take place anywhere, including at cafes, hotels, and people's homes.

M. Taufik, the head of the legislation agency, says the bylaw is set to be ratified on Friday.

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