Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo and the head of the Jakarta Fire Agency Paimin Napitupulu must resign over the recent fires in the capital, according to a group linked to a political rival to the governor.
“We are urging them to step down in honor because they failed to carry out the mandate in the Constitution to take care of, protect and provide security for the people of Jakarta,” said Simson Simanjuntak, the head of political division for of Volunteers for Democracy (Repdem), an affiliate of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Repdem said it was concerned about the fires that continue to rage throughout the capital because it will make Jakarta an unpleasant place to live.
Simson pointed out that the fires took place ahead of a runoff ballot in the gubernatorial race — in which Fauzi’s rival, Joko Widodo, is backed by the PDI-P — prompting speculation they were related to the tense political situation.
“Regardless of whether that is true, we still need accountability from Jakarta’s leaders,” Simson said. “They are responsible for the security, comfort, prosperity and protection of Jakarta’s people.”
He called on the political rivals to not seek to capitalize on the fire tragedies by trying to gain support from the victims.
Repdem urged the police to investigate the incidents thoroughly, transparently and professionally and to announce their findings to the public.
“The police must re-establish the neighborhood security system to prevent parties with bad intentions from creating chaos or from intentionally setting fires,” Simson said.
Repdem insisted that the governor be held accountable for the incidents because he failed to provide security and peace for Jakarta residents.
Meanwhile, the Jakarta Fire Agency and Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency say they are planning to recruit more than 1,000 fire fighters.
Paimin said that the agency currently has 3,200 firefighters, short of the 6,000 it needs.
“We need at least 1,000 additional firefighters to work long hours and a heavy workload,” he said, adding that the agency is planning to gradually recruit and train the organization’s new employees over the next year.
He also said that the agency has deployed motorbikes with water pumps in fire-prone areas that can be operated immediately by residents as a first line of defense.