Bayu Marhaenjati & Arientha Primanita
Jakarta Police said they will act swiftly against raids conducted by hard-line organizations on nightlife spots or restaurants that remain open during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
People involved in “anarchic acts” may face up to five years prison, warned Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto.
“The sanction will depend on the level of the violation committed,” he said.
“If [they] break property, they can be charged under Article 170 on vandalism that carries a punishment of up to five years in jail.
Torture will be handled through Article 351. We will see what kind of violations are committed.”
But the police said they would not offer any special protection for venues at risk of being raided, and that patrols will continue to run normally.
“The police will maintain normal procedures with normal patrols because those places are protected under the bylaw,” Rikwanto said.
“If everything is done according to the rules, I’m sure there will not be any anarchic acts. But we will act swiftly against any actions that break the law or those people who resort to anarchy,” Rikwanto said.
Salim Umar Al Attas, the chairman of the Jakarta chapter of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), said police should do their job, thereby preventing any reason for his organization to carry out raids.
“If the police ban us from conducting raids, they should deploy members from all levels to work [on enforcement],” Salim said. “The month of Ramadan should not be disrupted by the fact that some places of sin remain open.”
Salim insisted the FPI had no desire to break the law — it only wanted to ensure that law enforcement was doing its job.
He also said that nightlife venues had become more cooperative in recent years, but that other regions were still allowing brothels to remain open during the holy month.
Salim promised to have FPI members stand watch over nightlife venues during Ramadan.
Also weighing in on the issue, National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and Jakarta Police Chief Insp. Gen. Untung S. Rajab recently issued orders for organizations to refrain from conducting raids during Ramadan (though Timur has recently offered mixed messages about “public participation” in policing venues).
Businesses to be affected by Ramadan
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said the Jakarta Tourism Agency issued a statement calling on most nightlife spots and massage parlors to close one day before the start of Ramadan.
In response, the Jakarta administration announced on Wednesday it would “tightly monitor” 1,297 tourism-related businesses whose operations would be affected by Ramadan.
The head of the Jakarta tourism and culture agency, Arie Budhiman, said the ruling was based on a bylaw and a gubernatorial decree on tourism activities issued in 2004.
Arie identified three different categories of tourism-related business: Those which would have to be closed fully, those which must reduce their operating hours and those which would be allowed to operate normally during Ramadan.
There are six types of businesses falling under the “fully closed” category, including nightclubs, discotheques, bars, saunas, massage parlors and some gambling centers.
Karaoke and live music venues’ operating hours will be limited from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. during the fasting month.
The third category includes facilities provided by star-rated hotels, including bars, which are allowed to operate normally, except for one day before and the first day of Ramadan, the 17th night of Ramadan, and four days throughout Idul Fitri.
“All tourism businesses are also banned from [using] pornographic and erotic ads. We hope all entertainment businesses will obey the existing regulations,” Arie said, adding that any violators to the regulation would face sanctions ranging from warnings to the revocation of their business permits.
“They’ll be given sanctions if they open at the beginning of Ramadan, operate during Ramadan, abuse the operating hours, abuse religious and moral norms or possess no Permanent Tourism Business Permit,” Arie added.