Right hand, left hand
Reading in the Jakarta Post
that "foreigners would be the targets
" of a series of raids is not designed to reduce the stress levels of expats in Jakarta.
That this particular story
is related to the residents of Taman Rasuna, a complex of apartments quite close to the Australian Embassy where the most recent bomb outrage occurred, is an additional worry. "We were shocked because they came to our apartments in the evening without prior information. They told us to just fill out the forms. They said they wanted to reregister all expatriates in the city
," one of the foreign tenants said on Monday. However, it may be, according to the article, that the 'raids' took place in July. (So why report them today?)
There is no suggestion in the story that these raids are connected with the hunt for terrorists. Rather, it's "the policy of the Jakarta Population and Civil Registration Agency
" which is implementing the recently "enacted Bylaw No. 4/2004 on Population and Civil Registration, which stipulates a number of new obligations for foreigners.
" These "obligations" include an additional I.D. card which would be issued upon receipt of a letter (From who? For how much?)
We expats, quite rightly, have little say in the framing of the rules and regulations which govern our lives. What would be nice, however, is to know what these restrictions and permits are. I've already commented
on the reluctance of government officials to enlighten us.
If we have a work permit, sponsored by our employers, we will also have a KITAS (Temporary Stay Permit), a Surat Jalan
(travel permit) book, a police registration book and possibly others. These involve annual visits to the Immigration Department (which has finally recognized that my fingerprints haven't changed between visits). I generally only hang on to my passport, which is hidden in a secure place, and a laminated scanned copy of my KITAS which I keep in my wallet.
The Immigration Department and the Ministry of Manpower have our details in that they have agreed to allow our positions to be filled by expats. There are, no doubt, other ministries involved.
Both semi-permanent residents and short stay visitors are also required to report to their local Rukun Tertangga
(neighbourhood association); our details are then passed up the line to the Mayor's office, of which there are five in Jakarta - North, South, East, West and Central.
So, what is the real purpose of "re-registering" we expats. Surely it's not the reason given, that "thousands of foreigners in the city
" .... have "violated their stay permits
" or "that many foreigners used tourist visas to work in various sectors
" ... such as "at karaoke clubs, discotheques or even as prostitutes.
Jakartass is not worried about any of this; I hate karaoke. Besides, I've rented the same house for over 16 years so I'm well-known locally. Also, in common with the vast majority of expats, I use agents to deal with the complexities of life here.
However, none of my colleagues nor I will be sanguine about this. Cynics and realists among us can only think of brown envelopes.