That is what Jakartass and assorted scribes may have after our get-together tomorrow evening. If you haven't been given notification of the where and when it's because you haven't sent me an emal. However, if you can find me/us in Jalan Jaksa tomorrow evening after 6pm, can correctly identify me with the words "Hello, my blog is ........ and you must be Jakartass
", I'll buy your first drink.
And I won't be posting tomorrow.
Today is different and my title remains apposite.
You may recall that a few days ago I raised the issue of the now liquorless supermarkets
. I said that the Jakarta Post knew nothing about it ~ another scoop for Jakartass.
Well, they have done the legwork necessary and on today's front page they give the following information
, which raises further important issues.Jakarta inches toward new 'prohibition era'The City Industry and Trade Agency (of the Jakarta administration) has decided to issue a circular recently, which forbids the sale of "type B" (e.g. wine, champagne) and "type C" (e.g. spirits) alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and hypermarkets throughout Jakarta.
The agency dug up and invoked a 1997 Presidential Decree on the monitoring and control of alcoholic drinks, as well as the now-defunct Ministry of Industry and Trade's Decree No. 359/MPP/Kep/10/1997 on monitoring and control of production, importation, distribution and sale of alcoholic drinks.
Firstly, I wholeheartedly agree that the sale of alcohol should be strictly controlled. So should the sale of tobacco products which are estimated to kill 600,000 Indonesians a year. (Google tobacco-related deaths*Indonesia
for a mass of information on the role of multi-national corporations in pushing tobacco consumption here.)
My main concern over the creeping onset of 'prohibition' is twofold.
Firstly, any prohibition leads to mafia-type activities and, perhaps among poorer communities, the illicit manufacture of 'moonshine' with no quality control and potentially fatal consequences.
My main concern, however, is about the reasoning behind the re-emergence of these decrees.
In 1997, the Suharto clan were in power. Ari Sigit, a grandson, was notorious for his attempt to levy Rp.500 on each bottle of beer sold in Bali. The opposition to his greed was such that it led to possibly the first overt refusal to kowtow to the Cendana clan, and encouraged others to such a pitch that a year later Suharto was forced to 'abdicate'. .In February 1996
, Bali's governor Ida Bagus Oka revoked a license allowing PT Arbamass Multi Invesco owned by Ari Sigit Suharto, to collect beer taxes. Indonesian brewers and hoteliers had united to stop beer supplies to the tourist destination, refusing to pay a company-imposed surcharge of 17 cents on every bottle of beer sold on Bali.
Class B (containing 5-20%) and class C (containing 20-55% alcohol) alcoholic beverages will be available in duty-free shops. That's fine by Jakartass, but then their remains the question of who owns these shops. It's certainly not the state; word on the street is that they are owned by military figures who have been known, or should I say 'rumoured', to have had their own turf wars.
The military, of course, were the principle backers of Suharto, at least until they realised that he had, thanks to his family, lost all credibilty to lead the nation.
So who exactly is behind this 'new' policy? That there doesn't seem to have been debate among the elected Jakarta councillors and that there certainly hasn't been any 'socialisation' of the new policy is an indication that the notoriously corrupt city bureaucrats are 'rent seekíng'. Again.
Jakartass doesn't see a creeping Islamisation here, although, no doubt, there will be many zealots applauding. No. it's the creeps, the Suhartoists, who are to blame.
I'd be happy to be proved wrong.
And I'll still be buying my Xmas duty free at Changi airport on my next visa run.Friday extra
Now that the Jakarta Post has picked up on this story, it does look as we've set the ball rolling for a little campaign. Especially as they, not I, remembered that access to duty free shops is, according to the ministerial decree, limited to members of the diplomatic corps, foreign experts working at international institutions, those travelling abroad, and those who have just returned from abroad.
Members of the Jakarta-based dipsomatic corps will have to look elsewhere.