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Jakarta deputy governor Uno defends money for paramilitary, right-wing vigilante groups
Tempo - November 22, 2017
Based on the apbd.jakarta.go.id website, the organisations that will receive these grants include the Greater Jakarta Student Regiment Command (Menwa), which will receive 1 billion rupiah, and the Jakarta Red-and-White Militia (LMP), which will receive 500 million rupiah.
Meanwhile the Betawi Consultative Forum (Bamus Betawi) will receive 5 trillion rupiah and the remainder will be given to Islamic study groups (majelis taklim).
Uno said that it is appropriate for a portion of the budget to be given to the LMP in 2018 because the group in involved in defending the state. He did not explain however what kind of defending the state has been carried out by the Jakarta LMP.
Uno also pledged to supervise the activities of the social and mass organisations (ormas) or institutions that will receive the grants. "We will look at their activities, I will go [and see]. We will ensure unity", he said at the Jakarta City Hall on Wednesday November 22.
The LMP has been seen at protest actions in Jakarta on several occasions including, among others, in front of the Malaysian Embassy in August this year. The organisation also took part in demonstrations at the Corruption Eradication Commission offices in September demanding a resolution to alleged corruption at the state-owned enterprise PT BUMN PT Krakatau Steel.
Uno said that they had combed through the allocation of grants for a number of ormas. He gave the example of the Menwa which will develop a sense of state defense, unity and patriotism among students.
"The NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] is non-negotiable", said Uno.
1. The Bamus Betawi is one of a number of so-called Betawi (Jakarta's original inhabitants) organisations that operate in Jakarta, claiming to protect the Betawi local culture but in reality protecting their territories from non-native gangs. They frequently make headlines for their involvement in violent street brawls. Former governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama suspend grants for Bamus alleging that the group had been playing politics by asking people not to vote for him on election day.
2. The LMP, a paramilitary organisation advocating an ultra-right wing nationalist ideology, was at the forefront of the violent demonstrations against a meeting of survivors of the 1965 anti-communist purge at the Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) in September, which they alleged was aiming to resurrect the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
3. Student university regiments, colloquially known as Menwa, had their heyday during the Suharto dictatorship. University students, mostly male, who joined the clubs, were given a set of militaristic paraphernalia and army-like uniforms. Since the reform era the influence of Menwa on campus has declined with some Menwa members being attacked by students who associate them with Suharto's New Order and militarism. Despite their widespread unpopularity, over the last year the military has been attempting to revive the regiments.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Alasan Sandiaga Uno Beri Ormas Ini Bagian Hibah Rp 1,7 Triliun.]
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