Jakarta Journo: Football, Taxmen, and Mobs in the Headlines

By webadmin on 11:42 am Mar 05, 2012
Category Archive

Armando Siahaan

It’s no longer a secret that enraging, depressing and frightening news is what makes us open and read a newspaper every day. There are three particular news items that have been bothering me lately.


I can’t help but talk about the national football team’s embarrassing 10-0 defeat to Bahrain. From a football perspective, we can argue the red card in the fourth minute, which left us  playing with just 10 men for the remainder of the match, was the main reason for the defeat. 

We can also excuse ourselves by saying that the game meant nothing because Indonesia was no longer competing for a spot in the Asian qualification round of the 2014 World Cup. We lost that chance a long time ago, and with it any motivation to win.

But it is a bitter reflection on the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and its inability to serve its football interests before its political ones. With the whole competing leagues situation, the PSSI decided that only players from the teams playing in the Indonesian Premier League were eligible for the national side, and not those from the Indonesian Super League. This is the much-expected consequence of  political rivalry.

The PSSI needs to use the embarrassing defeat to reflect on whether it should stick with this policy. 

Which, of course, it shouldn’t.

But those expecting good things to come shouldn’t hold their breath. As long as Indonesian football is dictated to by the struggle between the two powers, this disappointment will continue to happen over and over again.


More disturbing news comes from the recent unraveling of Dhana Widyatmika, the low-ranking tax official accused of having Rp 60 billion — an amount that definitely does not match the salary of someone in his position.

This is pretty much Gayus Tambunan Chapter II, with the first one still ongoing.  

This shows a huge failure by the Finance Ministry, where both men were employed. What has the ministry done so far? Has it not created a better monitoring system that can prevent these kind of schemes? While we’re at it, this scheme, where clients pay taxmen to avoid paying their full tax obligation, involves two parties: the recipient and the sender. 

Whether it’s the Gayus case or the Dhana case, our law enforcers need to make sure that the tax-evading clients are also hunted down.


The last topic is the wave of violence in Jakarta. One recent incident was, of course, the deadly attack at the RSPAD Gatot Subroto Army Hospital, when dozens of gang members ambushed a funeral, killing two and leaving four injured.

The attack was carried out when the victims were at the hospital paying their respects to a mourning family.

Such modus operandi is barbaric, to say the least. The hospital, a place to treat the sick, should be free from any form of violence, let alone a murderous gang attack. 

And attacking a mourning family? That’s just inhumane.

Furthermore, the police then seized a Colt gun, an air rifle, machetes, swords and arrows at the house of one of the suspects. 

What a scary thought. Jakarta must not be turned into a war zone for gangs. The police have to do all they can to clean the streets of gangsters and weapons.

I can’t wait to see what else Indonesia has to offer in the days to come.