The Jakarta Police said on Monday that they would forbid mass organizations from conducting raids on the city’s nightlife and entertainment venues during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, as the organizations have no right to do so.
“Only the police have the right to raid nightclubs that remain open during Ramadhan. No mass organization has such rights,” police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told reporters.
The city’s culture and tourism agency said earlier this month that it would ban nightlife and entertainment venues from operating during Ramadhan, starting from the eve of the fasting month until one day after Idul Fitri. Such banned spots include nightclubs, spas, saunas, massage parlors, arcade game centers and bars (either stand-alone bars or those located within other establishments).
In recent years, Greater Jakarta has seen numerous instances of mass organizations holding raids on nightlife venues throughout the area.
On Sunday, the Depok branch of hard-liner group the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) held a cavalcade around the city, demanding the Depok Police close down all nightlife venues in the city throughout Ramadhan. “If [the Depok administration] does not issue a decision to close down nightlife venues within three days from the start of the fasting month, then we will take it upon ourselves to act,” Depok FPI chairman Habib Idrus Al Gadhri said, as quoted by the Antara news agency.
Rikwanto said that police would manage any nightlife venues that remained open during Ramadhan and there would be no need for the mass organizations to “join in”. “If the organizations insist on conducting raids and disturbing the peace, we will not hesitate to act firmly against them,” Rikwanto said.
The fasting month is expected to start on July 19 or 20 this year, with the Idul Fitri holiday falling on Aug. 19 and 20.
Rikwanto said that several forms of entertainment venues would be permitted to remain open, although with some restrictions in place during Ramadhan. Karaoke and live music lounges, for example, would only be allowed to operate from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. every day during the month. Pool halls located within other establishments face the same restrictions, while stand-alone pool halls can operate from 10 a.m. until midnight.
However, all entertainment venues will have to close for the entire day for the day before and on the start of Ramadhan, on the 17th day of Ramadhan or Nuzulul Qur’an, on the eve of Idul Fitri, on the two days of Idul Fitri and the day after Idul Fitri.
Business owners deemed to be in violation of the regulation could face up to three months in prison or a maximum fine of Rp 5 million (US$530). The establishments can also be sealed off or have their permits revoked due to the violation.
Regulations for nightlife spots during Ramadhan
Must be closed all month long
• Spas, saunas and massage parlors
• Arcade game centers
• Bars (either stand-alone bars or those located within other establishments)
May be open, with some restrictions
• Karaoke and live music lounges, 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. daily
• Located within other spots: adhering to the respective spots’ restrictions
• Stand-alone pool halls: 10 a.m. until midnight