Spatial planning education campaign launched

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Jakarta | Fri, July 27 2012, 8:38 AM
A- A A+

Paper Edition | Page: 9

Why do sidewalks in Kemang, South Jakarta, only have a width of 1 meter? Why is there a four-story house in my neighborhood that blocks the sunlight to my own house? Why is there a 24-hour minimarket next to my house? These are some of the questions related to city spatial planning that Jakartans may have in mind.

To inform ordinary citizens about spatial planning in Jakarta, on Wednesday the Rujak Center for Urban Studies (RCUS) launched booklets and a video which are aimed at doing just that.

The 68-page booklet, entitled Tata Ruang Untuk Kita (City Spatial Planning For Us), contains relevant information, such as the definition of city spatial planning and things that residents can do to improve it.

“We want the city’s residents to know more about city spatial planning … spatial planning can only work properly when all the stakeholders have enough information,” Elisa Sutanudjaja, program director of the urban study group, said at the Goethe Institute, Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday.

The booklet is written in plain Indonesian language, and includes colorful illustrations and photos to make learning about city spatial planning less daunting for ordinary citizens. It also contains laws on city spatial planning so that readers can educate themselves about their rights to participate in city spatial planning and become more aware whenever violations occur.

RCUS has initially printed 2,000 copies of the book, which are available for free. “We will distribute the books to other NGOs and academic institutions,” Elisa said.

In order to reach a wider audience, RCUS also produced a 10-minute-long video, showing basic information regarding city spatial planning.

The video, also entitled City Planning For Us, can be viewed on YouTube and the RCUS website starting next week.

“After the Ramadhan fasting month ends in August, we will work together with P2B and the National Development Planning Board [Bappenas] to conduct courses on city spatial planning for the heads of subdistricts throughout the city.” (han)

Ongkos haji Rp33 juta

Oleh Monitor Depok| 18 jam 54 menit lalu

JAKARTA, MONDE: Pemerintah melalui Kementerian Agama telah menetapkan besaran Biaya Penyelenggaraan Haji (BPIH) untuk tahun 2012. Biaya Penyelenggaraan Haji sudah ditetapkan lewat Peraturan Presiden No 67 tahun 2012.

Sekretaris Jenderal Kementerian Agama, Bahrul Hayat menjelaskan, rata BPIH tahun 2012 ini sebesar US$3.617 atau sekitar Rp33.276.400. Ada kenaikan sekitar US$84 dari tahun lalu. “Tahun 2011 BPIH sebesar US$3.533 atau Rp32.503.600,” kata Bahrul saat jumpa pers di Gedung Kemenag, Jakarta, kemarin.

BPIH 2012 sebesar US$3.617 yang dibebankan kepada setiap jamaah haji, lanjut Bahrul, terdiri dari tiga komponen biaya. Yakni, biaya penerbangan sebesar US$2.204 dan biaya akomodasi Mekkah dan Madinah sebesar US$1.008.  “Komponen terakhir adalah pengembalian biaya kepada jamaah haji sejumlah US$405,” katanya.

Adapun untuk tahun ini, Kemenag juga menyiapkan 12 embarkasi, yaitu Aceh, Medan, Batam, Padang, Palembang, Jakarta, Solo, Surabaya, Banjarmasin, Balikpapan, Makassar, dan Lombok.

Untuk pembayaran, mulai dilakukan dari tanggal 26 Juli 2012 sampai 16 Agustus 2012. Pembayaran diperpanjang mulai 27-31 Agustus pada Bank Penerima Setoran BPIH. “Jika kuota belum terpenuhi, maka pelunasan pembayaran akan diperpanjang dari 3-7 September 2012,” katanya.

Sama seperti tahun-tahun sebelumnya, kuota yang disiapkan sebanyak 194.000 untuk jamaah haji reguler, dan 17 ribu kuota yang disiapkan untuk jamaah haji khusus. “Jadi tiap tahun kita memberangkatkan 211.000 jamaah yang terbagi dua, jamaah reguler dan jamaah khusus,” ujar Bahrul.

Sementara jamaah yang masih masuk dalam waiting list berjumlah 1,9 juta orang dengan total uang setoran awal sebanyak Rp44 triliun. “Jumlah itu termasuk yang berangkat tahun ini, dengan setoran awal tiap jamaah ada yang masih Rp20 juta ada yang sudah Rp25 juta,” katanya.(vn)

Religious Affairs Ministry and the start of Ramadhan

Khairil Azhar, Jakarta | Opinion | Sat, July 21 2012, 11:59 AM
A- A A+

Paper Edition | Page: 6

“What is your conclusion? Do you agree with the edict that Ramadhan begins on Saturday, July 21, 2012?” asked Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, every time a leader of an Islamic organization was about to conclude his remarks on Thursday (July 19) night’s “Sidang Isbat” orchestra.

And we could see that some religious leaders, after coming up with fine explanations, suddenly became startled and looked as though thy had no choice other than to agree with “the already cooked meal.” So, what was the forum actually for?

How can we say it was democratic when personal freedom in religious affairs was interfered with by the state, favoring certain groups and disfavoring others? Why does the state not merely act as an impartial referee, since its intervention only sparks unnecessary destructive conflicts?

In this way, we can see that the Religious Affairs Ministry is no different to the colonial era’s KantoorvoorInlandschezaken, the office established for local (primarily Muslim) affairs in 1918. Beneath its appearance as an umbrella for different religious beliefs, the office is actually a political institution with hidden (and now flaunted) repressive agendas.

In the colonial period, based on advice by Snouck Hurgronje that Muslims could be controlled by having their religious affairs “administered”, the office drew up policies that were decided by the Governor General, the most-senior ranking political official.

The dissenting ulemas and their organizations were spied on and suppressed. Muslims who wanted to perform the haj pilgrimage were screened and their activities in Mecca and other places in Saudi Arabia were systematically restricted.

The main mission was simple: The existence of colonialism must be preserved at all costs. What does today’s Religious Affairs Ministry actually serve? To answer that, we need to look at the big picture.

During the transition toward democracy, the pie had to be shared to ensure a coalition. So, the ministries, where money and policies are mostly managed, became the “prey”. Every allying party received its “jatah” or share, based on their proportion after the general election.

Suryadharma, being the head of the Islamic United Development Party (PPP), was given the top post at the Religious Affairs Ministry. As long as he supports the dominant party and the president, his position will be secure, even he transforms the ministry into a “kingdom” inside a kingdom.

Publicly, therefore, he must maintain support for both his chairmanship of the PPP and his chief ministerial role at the ministry. Realizing that his party’s electability depends primarily on the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) masses and other organizations which make up the majority, he will certainly be supportive of them. His own personal religious beliefs are of no consequence, as we understand him as a politician.

Engineering the “public’s conscience” — being one of the best ways for every politician to mobilize support — is what we see every year at the Sidang Isbat, the general meeting to decide the beginning of Ramadhan and other religious rituals.

The public is forced to internalize what is right and wrong instead of allowing them to make decisions based on their own methods or ways. The “truth” is said to be only “one” and it is what everyone must acquire. To arrive at a different “truth” means to be prepared to be alienated, socially or politically.

In fact, we are talking about the teaching of a religion, which for dozens of centuries has been debated. It is also not related to the subsistence of millions of poor Indonesian Muslims who are living below accepted standards.

Why does the ministry not occupy itself, for example, with drafting and implementing regulations for religious affairs that are fair for all religious groups? Why is it not busy with eradicating its intermittent corruption practices?

Why do the officials and the religious leaders keep speaking about a version of truth when we clearly see that they are untruthful? Why is the public repeatedly tricked with a hallucinatory medicine that only relieves the pain temporarily, while the underlying disease is never solved?

At this time, we should also note that the use of the words demi persatuan (for unity) is very dangerous for democracy in Indonesia. The term “unity” gave us a tyrannical regime in the past. It was this notion — which nowadays is still used in the context of Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia (NKRI) — that caused tens of thousands, or possibly even millions, of lives to be sacrificed because of perceived difference or dissent.

The use of the word “unity” potentially annihilates the powerless “others” since it is here connotatively understood as (the necessity of) “uniformity” rather than a potentially altered social contract. It directly confronts, therefore, the very idea of democracy or liberty.

To Indonesian Muslims, this idea of “uniformity” was one of the main reasons why the Ahmadis lost their rights in the public sphere. They have been coerced into accepting what the majority believes and to relinquish their own teachings.

This time, after all, we should thank the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and other like-minded organizations for their courage in being different. Without having to negatively question their intentions, we should be glad that democracy is still alive despite the wounds inflicted by our “crafty” leaders.

The writer is a researcher at the Paramadina Foundation and the Ciputat School for a Democratic Islam.