Political party flags displayed at site of Jakarta fire

Detik.com – September 1, 2006
Political parties setup coordination posts to 'assist' victims of fire (Simvas Blog)
Political parties setup coordination posts to 'assist' victims of fire (Simvas Blog)

Gagah Wijoseno, Jakarta – A variety of political party flags adorn the site of the fire in the Penjaringan area of North Jakarta. According to Detik’s observations on Friday September 1, at least five parties have put flags up including the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Democrat Party (PD) and the Patriot Party (PP).

Of the five parties only the PKS, PDI-P and PKB have setup coordination posts while the other have only put up party flags and symbols.

Local residents have reacted differently to the issue. Halimah (30) whose food stall was burnt down has no objections to the party flags and coordination posts. “I’m like just going along with it. It’s called being the little people,” he said. Despite having no objections, Halimah still hopes to receive assistance in the form of food, clothing and cooking utensils.

A different view was expressed by Hari (30). He objects to the distribution of party symbols and flags. “I strongly object, it is as if they are campaigning at a time people are experiencing difficulties. There is no benefit. The impression is a campaign”, he said. Hari added however that he has no objections to the coordination posts as long as their aim is humanitarian and not political.

Suhendro (25) who staffs a PKB coordination post denied that the coordination post was being used as a means to promote the political party. “It is humanitarian. We are helping. There is no relationship to the gubernatorial elections [next year], we are serving [people’s] needs. I’m not concerned if it is from another party”, he said.

The fire at Penjaringan occurred last Tuesday. At least 310 homes housing some 1,500 people were burnt down. The victims of the fire are still cleaning out the remains of their houses while others are tearing down remains of their homes. Residents have been living in tents since the fire. (nrl)

[Translated by James Balowski.]