National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said on Tuesday (07/08) that nearly 300 suspects have been arrested since the series of terrorist attacks in East Java during May. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Mass Organizations Are Not Law Enforcers: Nat'l Police Chief


DECEMBER 21, 2016

Jakarta. National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said mass organizations are not permitted to conduct sweeping raids because they are not law enforcers.

"The mass organizations are not law enforcers and they may not conduct forceful acts [such as raids]," Tito said in Jakarta on Tuesday (20/12).

Indonesian law currently only authorizes law enforcement agencies such as the police, Attorney General's Office and Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to conduct such actions.

"Mass organizations may not do this as a pretext to enforce edicts. They may spread awareness, in coordination with the government, but they may not take the matter into their own hands," Tito said.

He said officers are authorized to enter premises to conduct searches or seize evidence, but that it constitutes robbery when done by civilians. A sweeping raid would therefore not be called a search, but unlawful entry of a premises.

The police chief said the edict issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which prohibits Muslims – including shopkeepers – from wearing Christmas attire, was based on requests from several mass organizations.

"The fatwa [or edict] is not binding on all Indonesians; only on those requesting it. The enforcement should be done by the government, among others the police and regional administrations, by creating awareness," he said.

Tito on Monday banned mass Islamic organizations, including the hardline Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), from raiding shopping malls or company premises to enforce the MUI's edict.

His statement followed public outcry on social media after the FPI raided several shopping malls in Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday.

The FPI has meanwhile denied this and said they were only promoting the MUI's edict.

Tito has also reprimanded police chiefs in Bekasi, West Java, and in Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, who had issued warnings to heads of companies and department stores to refrain from ordering Muslim employees to wear Christmas attire.