29 August 2009

Jakarta -- Mass Organizations and the New Underworld...

Something that I picked up from the Jakarta Post. There are more groups than these floating around the streets and alleys of Jakarta, but these are the "biggies". There are a couple of other pieces that the Jakarta Post has run recently that are worthwhile reading for anyone that has an interest in learning about the other side of Jakarta. There is a piece on Jakarta's New Underworld and another piece on the Betawi Big Boys.

In any event, this is an excellent piece by Rendi A Witular and Andra Wisnu on prominent organizations in Jakarta.

I cut and paste it from the Jakarta Post.

Lutfi Hakim

Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR)

Leader: Lutfi Hakim (33)

Members: 300,000 in Greater Jakarta.

Membership requirement: Betawi (native Jakartan) and Muslim. For other ethnicities, must have lived in Jakarta for at least three years.

Funding: Donations from members and businesses.

Activities: Provides "unofficial" security services to companies engaged in entertainment businesses, property, construction projects and business centers. FBR members can also be seen guarding disputed property, providing debt-collection services and clearing out land. Its top brass also run small-scale printing business. The group is often used to provide political support for the Jakarta bureaucracy and certain Islamic parties, as evidenced when it condemned opponents of the controversial pornography bill.

History: Founded on July 29, 2001, the FBR was charged by its recently deceased chief patron Fadhloly El Muhir to create jobs for the Betawi ethnic group. However, it was mired in allegations of receiving backing from the military, the Jakarta administration and opponents of former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid. The groups were used as proxies to deal with Gus Dur's grassroots Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) supporters from East Java, who threatened to flock to the capital to help keep Gus Dur in power. Lutfi denies the allegations, saying the FBR was set up merely to advocate for the revival of the long-marginalized Betawi.

Notes: In March 2003, seven members of the group were jailed for attacking the head of the Urban Poor Consortium (an NGO focusing on urban development issues), Wardah Hafidz, near the office of the National Commission for Human Rights. Lutfi strongly opposes the stigma.

Muhammad Rizieq

Islam Defenders Front (FPI)

Leader: Al-Habib Muhammad Rizieq bin Husein Syihab (71)

Members: Less than 10,000 in Greater Jakarta.

Membership requirement: Muslims who can read the Koran.

Funding: Mostly donations from members, business activities of the group's top brass.

Activities: Mostly an ideological and political movement claiming to uphold Islamic law, implemented in the field through crackdowns on nightclubs, brothels and gambling dens, and leading more often than not to clashes and violence. Their targets include roadside vendors who stay open during the fasting month of Ramadan. Chairman of the Jakarta Association of Tourism, Recreation and Entertainment Adrian Maulete claims the association regularly pays the FPI to not raid its members' clubs while operating.

History: Founded on Aug. 17, 1998, the FPI is a splinter group of the Pamswakarsa civil guard formed by the military to support the Habibie regime. Through promoting violence, the FPI has earned the respect of hard-line Muslims, but often become disdained by society at large.

Notes: The FPI's litany of violence includes a bloody attack on members of the Alliance for the Freedom of Religion and Faith (AKKBB) in the National Monument park, Central Jakarta, on June 1, 2008. Group leader Habib Rizieq was sentenced to 18 months in prison for inciting the violence. He was released this July. FPI secretary-general Sobri Lubis says the FPI remains a force to be reckoned with, despite the recent police crackdown on its leaders, adding it will continue to "wipe out immoral practices" no matter how long it takes. "We have nothing against the food or water these nightclubs offer, but if they start selling women, provide gambling venues or drugs, then we will have to stand against them."

Oding Djunaidi

Laskar Jayakarta (Jayakarta Warriors)

Leader: Adj. Sr. Comr. Susilowadi, aka Bang Ilo (47)

Members: 30,000 in Greater Jakarta.

Membership requirement: All-inclusive, preference to native Jakartans.

Funding: Mostly donations from members' and leaders' businesses.

Activities: Laskar Jayakarta assists Jakarta residents, especially of Betawi ethnicity, get jobs. Nurturing close ties with the police, the group provides unofficial security services primarily to nightclubs, retailers, hotels and boarding houses in the Tamansari district of West Jakarta. The district, which covers the vicinity of Jl. Mangga Besar, Jl. Hayam Wuruk, Jl. Gadjah Mada and the Glodok business center, is Jakarta's largest night entertainment center and accounts for 60 percent of the business. Laskar's top officials are former members of Pemuda Pancasila youth organization, the military's family forum (Forkabi) and the FBR.

History: As a newcomer in the industry, it was not until 2007 that Laskar Jayakarta became widely known, when it supported Comr. Gen. (ret) Adang Daradjatun, the former National Police deputy chief, in his 2007 bid to be Jakarta governor. Laskar split from the Betawi Community Union (PMB) in 2004.

Notes: The group's structure is loosely reminiscent of many of today's Jakarta-based groups. Laskar Jayakarta is a proxy nurtured by the police to help maintain order in Jakarta's night entertainment hub and prevent ethnic clashes. "Bang Ilo himself ordered us to control our members' behavior to keep in line with the law," says Oding, the head of the group's Tamansari branch in Central Jakarta.

Japto Soerjosoemarno

Pancasila Youth

Leader: Japto Soelistyo Soerjosoemarno (59)

Members: Less than 100,000 in Greater Jakarta.

Membership requirement: All ethnicities and religions.

Funding: Mostly donations from members, business activities of the group's top brass.

Activities: Security services and debt collection are the major income earner of the group, as well as land clearing for businesses.

History: Pancasila Youth was established on Oct. 28, 1959, by former legendary military commander Abdul Haris Nasution, with the sole aim of confronting the communist threat. However, after 1978, it evolved with the backing of the Soeharto regime and the Golkar Party, which used it to mobilize youth support during general elections. The Pancasila Youth was allegedly involved in the July 27, 1996, riot and the bloody sectarian violence in Ambon, Maluku, in 2000.

Notes: Along with the Soeharto downfall in 1998, Pancasila Youth lost its political and security clout, which finally led in late 2003 to Yorris Raweyai, its most influential figure and financier, falling out with Japto over the latter's decision to set up the Patriot Party, the political wing of the Pancasila Youth. Yorris remains with Golkar and became legislator for the party, while the Patriot Party failed to get any legislative seat. With funding, notably from Yorris, drying up, most of the group's members now moonlight with other mass organizations, including the FBR, the FPI and Laskar Jayakarta. According to Yorris, Pancasila Youth is now focusing on recruiting university students, intellectuals and the middle class to help keep the group afloat. Japto's youngest son, Jedidiah Shenazar, is being groomed to take over his father's work.

Jhon Kei

Eastern Indonesia factions

Leaders: Herkules (East Timor group), Jhon Kei (Kei Island group in Maluku), Rony Syauta and Umar Kei (Indonesian Mollucans Youth Union, or PMB) and Ongen Sangaji (Ambon group in Maluku).

Members: Each group is believed to have less than 1,000 members in Greater Jakarta, except the PMB, which has around 20,000.

Membership requirement: Exclusive to ethnicity.

Activities: Groups are engaged in intense rivalry with one another. In the case of the Maluku groups, not a single leader has united them. Both the East Timor and Maluku groups are competing to win orders for security services for disputed parties, business centers and properties. They are also the most efficient debt collectors employed by banks, financing companies and individuals, primarily through intimidation. They earn between 15 percent and 50 percent of the debt collected.

Notes: - Herkules has since 2006 lost his lucrative empire in the Tanah Abang business center to Betawi native Haji Lulung. Herkules followers still maitain a loose grip on several small pockets in the Kota area of North Jakarta. Herkules is now engaged in the coal business, and spends time mostly in Kalimantan and Sumatra.
- John Kei, a notorious gang leader, is serving a jail term in Surabaya for cutting the fingers of two of his cousins.
- Ongen Sangaji is now an executive with the Hanura Party, founded by former military commander Gen. (ret) Wiranto.
- Rony Syauta and Umar Kei are emerging as key players in the business. The group controls the largest Maluku group in East Jakarta. The PMB is now trying to unite all Maluku gangs, but to no avail thus far.

Haji Lulung

Haji Lulung group

Leader: Abraham Lunggana, aka Haji Lulung (48)

Members: More than 2,000 in Tanah Abang alone.

Membership requirement: Preference for native Jakartans. Other ethnic groups also welcome.

Funding: Companies under Haji Lulung, donations from outsourced workers.

Activities: Haji Lulung has a vast line of businesses, including security services, parking and waste management. Around 90 percent of such businesses in Tanah Abang, Southeast Asia's largest textile and garment distribution area, is organized by Haji Lulung. Through his newly established law firm, Haji Lulung & Associates, a debt-collection business is now in the pipeline. Haji Lulung's tentacles also take in security services for shopping centers in the vicinity of Hotel Indonesia in Central Jakarta, Senayan in South Jakarta, Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta, the Aldira shopping center in East Jakarta, Tarakan Hospital, Cengkareng Hospital, Fatmawati Hospital and the Bogor Mental Hospital.

History: Assisted primarily by law enforcers and the Jakarta administration, Haji Lulung's luck started to turn in 2000 when he supplied workers for the construction of the Metro bridge in the Tanah Abang shopping compound. His rise is also attributed to the need for opposition against former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid in creating a proxy Betawi-based group to confront the threat of Gus Dur's incoming grass-roots supporters from East Java in 2001. Since then, without spilling much blood, Haji Lulung has gradually expelled the notorious godfather Herkules from Tanah Abang for good in 2006.

Notes: Haji Lulung is now a city councilor for the United Development Party (PPP).

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