Jakarta Nightlife Taxes

May 14th, 2010, in Asides, by

Shock at Jakarta city government’s plans to punitively tax nightlife venues and cinemas.


Tucked away in a tiny corner of the Jakarta Post on 12th May was “City to increase tax on entertainment”.

The city administration is considering increasing tax levied on the city’s entertainment venues. Under the plan, tax in discotheques, karaoke halls and night clubs will be raised to 75% from the current 20%. Tax on cinemas will be also increased 35% to 50%.

We are still discussing it. We will carry out studies before making any decisions

said the city’s legislation body representative, Perdata Tambunan, according to detik.com.

Well, sure, taxes rarely come down, but an increase on that kind of scale is pretty unusual. Having checked the internet for more details, I can’t find any, except for the detik.com site mentioned in the JP. Nor, naturally, can we locate any justification for such a punitive tax-hike. It’s a given, alas, that many of the members of the Jakarta regime are kill-joys. The PKS representatives, undoubtedly, will rejoice in making a fortune from iniquitous fun, and one rarely hears elected spokesmen of other parties stand up for people who enjoy themselves.

Indeed, detik.com reports that the man quoted is in fact one of SBY’s Democrats. (it also, charmingly, describes him as ‘the mustachioed gentleman’. Maybe he thinks that to succeed Fuzzy Bow-Wow/Fauzi Bowo such a lip-adornment is a prerequisite!) So it’s a cross-party thing, to hammer ‘Jakarta After Dark?’

But of course there’s self-indulgence and self-indulgence!

Wasn’t it the Jakarta councillors who awarded themselves luxury laptops – 30 million each, as opposed to the 7 million price normal folks pay in Ratu Plaza – and don’t many of the idle toads get free cars, to save them from the abhorrent prospect of rubbing shoulders with people who actually work for a living and travel on public transport?

So they DO like the good things of life, as long they’re restricted to themselves.

Meanwhile, if these night-spots get hit hard, and lose business when they pass on the hurt to their customers, what about the job losses among the waiters/resses, cleaners, satpams etc.? There must be several thousand such people who depend on night-life for their daily bread/rice and it’s them who will suffer, because folks who like music, beer and dancing can find plenty of places – their houses, for a start – to engage in these heinous activities.

Indeed, after the price of alcohol rose recently, a lot of bules, at least, prefer to party at home, because the cost of an evening’s drinking at a bar is simply prohibitive if you go jalan2 more than once a week.

So as so often, Jakarta’s City Fathers are bemused by their own prejudices, and are ready to stick the knife into a golden goose. Still, they are only contemplating it for now. Maybe they’ll wake up in time.

14 Comments on “Jakarta Nightlife Taxes”

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Ross,

    Wasn’t it the Jakarta councillors who awarded themselves luxury laptops – 30 million each, as opposed to the 7 million price normal folks pay in Ratu Plaza – and don’t many of the idle toads get free cars, to save them from the abhorrent prospect of rubbing shoulders with people who actually work for a living and travel on public transport?

    Well, not according to (my memory and) the article linked in the passage, which says it was national parliamentarians, not Jakartan councillors.

    And I think they eventually decided not to proceed with it due to the public outcry.

  2. Hans says:

    black clubs and increased crime, robbery and drugged customers. is the first thing I think of.

  3. Ross says:

    ‘Laptops may be needed, but not those priced at Rp 35 millions per pieceRp 7 million is enough! Oh yeah, fire fighters need all the funds they can get, all the newest equipment and infrastructure! And train them to do other things as well, and give them funding and infrastructures for that as well, including larger salaries if necessary.’
    That comes from the Jakarta Post ‘Opinion’ 26/12/2008.
    Let me check the freeby cars and I’ll get back to you.

  4. Ross says:

    I am capable of self-doubt and so the first post after my article made me wonder if I’d got it wrong. But not this time.
    According to a report in the JP 14/5/10 . about a Jakarta City Councillor named Ugiek

    ‘Several reporters visited Ugiek’s house on Jl. Jend. Sutoyo in the Cililitan area, East Jakarta earlier on Friday but were unable to meet him.

    His neighbors said Ugiek drove his official car out of the house every morning and returned in the evening. “”He looks healthy,”” a neighbor said. ‘

    Ugiek had an official car. Presumably he wasn’t the only one! Why? Jakarta councillors were not long ago reported to be paid on a level with the Vice-President of the USA and thus should be able to buy their own cars. And during my research I noted that Tangerang councillors have been in the habit of getting ‘;official cars’ and forgetting to return them. And Tangerang is even more kill-joy than Jakarta!

  5. Ross says:

    from an article in Asia Times by Bill Guerin, 2/2/02,about Jakarta
    .’The city administration has already delayed a plan to buy trucks for its sanitary agency and public-order office since the budgeted funds had been grabbed first by councilors to pay for 55 new cars and five buses for their use. The existing 600 garbage trucks cannot cope with the 25,000 cubic meters of garbage a day that doesn’t end up clogging the city’s drainage system and has to be dumped. ‘

    Okay, that was some time back, but what has happerned since. Where did those cars go?

  6. Hans says:

    do you mean that they buy cars that never comes, and the money ends up in offshore accounts. 55 Garbage trucks and 5 buses are of very expensive 12886598 usd or more.

  7. madrotter says:

    it wouldn’t surprise me in the least…

  8. Hans says:

    Anyone who knows anything
    Jakarta. The authorities in Indonesia on Friday stopped a terrorist act in which both government leaders and foreign heads of government were designed to emphasize with.The terrorist’s intention must have been to proclaim Indonesia as an Islamic statewith Sharia laws.

    The target of the attack was the commemoration of 17 August 2010. Inspiration drawn from terrorists, including the Bombay attacks of 26 November 2008. The time occupied including the city’s luxury Oberoi, and at least 195 people, including 26 foreigners, died in the attacks.

  9. Hans says:

    The plan was to attack foreigners, especially Americans, in Jakarta and to attack and occupy hotels in the city. They would imitate the attacks in Mumbai, said Bambang Hendarso in a statement reported several media.

  10. realest says:

    I seriously doubt Jakarta councillors are paid on a level with the Vice-President of the USA. Anyway let’s rally for cheaper corkage fees !!

  11. Ross says:

    I’m quoting re their salaries. They are people that are chronically good to themselves.
    Share Hans’ concern about the terrs, tho can’t see how it ties in with nightlife!

  12. dragonwall says:

    I view this particularly from another angle more on political aspect.

    1. What does that Sharia Law expressly preached.
    (Forbids sex, alcohol and close proximity)
    2. Who are those majority that owns the nightlife businesses.
    (People of Chinese descent)
    3. Who visits those place.
    (People of Chinese descent)
    4. Who works there.
    (Young countryside girl seeking greener pastures trying to make a living where the
    Indonesian Government failed to provide)
    5. When they impose the hike, will the governemnt be the sole beneficiary?
    (No, more bribes involve, more corruption involve)

    So what is the ulterior motive?

    I wonder if people understand how much tax was impose on hotels in Arab countries serving alcohol!

    When Adi Sasono who came from such religious organization and was appointed to oversee the ration department, he uses the name of helping poor to ensure Bulog does a good job to reduce the cost of ration. But he ended up convicted of certain crime.
    Not too much commotion about him came off the air. Similar to his predecessors all the same.

    In this case it will be the same Modus Operandi. Basyir moves and tried to distance himself from terrorist pro Sharia. Deep under he is still actively involve in terrorist activities.

    Aceh start to get aggressive by prohibiting Jeans and sooner or later the country that manufacture large volume of jeans OEM will be out of business less jeans and more JIN.

    take a deeper look into it to understand what Indonesian politician take in making a move. They tend to make it look for the good of the government but the collateral damage they cause is just as detrimental to business owners and workers that works in the night life.

    100% guarantee no increase in tax income but more corruption and bribe. These are tricks played by people with destructive and corrupt mind.

    Well it is all left to be seen. Reality will prove the whole outcome to be for the better or for the worse.

  13. dragonwall says:

    I failed to emphasize one thing. Usually when there is a major revamp of the law, it is usually carried by people on protocol level to weigh the pros and cons.

    Implementing the Sharia was the idea of Yusril Ihza Mahendra who had the grey spot well covered to ensure he gets the majority vote not to veto his objective.

    Agung Laksono never came up with a concrete answer as to who took the bribes in passing the law. Now it became apparent they are set to impose the Sharia and even attempt to turn Indonesia into an Islamic country which SBY hopes by assuring it will not happen. But still he is not strong enough.

    All it takes is for someone powerful up on protocol level or political elite to emphasize the importance of the Islamic religion and the whole country will be like another AyaTelor HowMany.

  14. Ross says:

    I see from the Jp today, no tax hikes as provoked my original post. Drink up, lads! And lasses!

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