Friday, November 28, 2008

The Notorious Preman

For so many years, people in various cities of Indonesia have been victimized by other people who collect money illegally. These people are popularly known as Preman, and would do anything, like extortion, burglary, drug trafficking and even murder, to get what they want.

The word Preman itself is a contraction of the words: Free (pronounced as Pre) and Man. The number of these "Free Man" grew very rapidly during economic crisis which has boosts the number of unemployment. As an example I have 2 friends who have been forced to deal with Preman. The first one is Indra who paid Rp 100.000,- to a gang of Preman for every trucks that carry construction material for the house he is building in Bekasi. The second is Joni who has to pay Rp 1.000.000,- to local Preman every month for safety money so that they would not disturb his restaurant in Tangerang. Actually both friends already paid official security fee to the local Village Authority, however they paid money to the Preman for security reassurance. These are only two examples of the unofficial role that the Preman played in our day to day life.
Considering this fact, efforts have been made by the government to eliminate Preman.
During the Soeharto era, the state security agency launched an undercover operation to eliminate Preman by hunting & killing them mysteriously. Due to strong protests from foreign countries and human right organizations, the Operation was stopped.
And recently, the new Chief of National Police: General Bambang Danuri on 2 November 2008 instructed the Police in Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, Yogjakarta and North Sumatera to carry out an operation to eliminate those Preman, so that Peace and Order could be established in those provinces. Lately, this operation has also been conducted in other provinces.
According to General Danuri, as quoted by Waspada, the objective of this operation is not only to arrest the Preman but also to guide them to normal life when they returned to society. And this program is successful, those Preman would become productive persons therefore they would not be a social problem anymore.

As a short term objective, the Anti Preman Operation can be accepted for eliminating Preman. However, for a long term objective, the government should make efforts to avoid the 'creation' of Preman, e.g by providing job opportunities & eliminating corruption among civil servants For which purpose a conducive business condition should be established.


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