Remember a few weeks ago when we were worried by a few Jakarta City Council members who were pushing to close down all of the city’s bars and nightclubs (aka diskoteks) at midnight in order to “curb drug use”?
It was a non-sensical plan (drug users can only get their fix in nightclubs after midnight?) that was sure to decimate the city’s nightlife industry – because of course nobody goes out to the clubs here until after midnight when the traffic actually dies down.
Fortunately Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and others argued against their proposed changes to the city’s tourism bylaws and now looks like the City Councilors who were originally pushing for the curfew, such as Deputy Speaker Muhammad Taufik, have given up on shutting down nightlife at midnight.
Tomorrow the City Council will hold a plenary session to discuss the ratification of a new draft of the city’s tourism bylaws. The new draft would make nightlife entertainment spots close at 2am, up from the current closing time of 3am (which is widely ignored by many of the city’s clubs anyways).
“On Friday, we will vote [on the new draft]. Tell the governor that this bill is designed to regulate nightclubs, not shut them altogether,” Taufik said today, as quoted by Kompas.
But Taufik said the new bylaws would tighten the regulations and sanctions on nightclubs in other ways. One of the new regulations, he said, would be that all nightclubs would have to be combined with hotels with a minimum of four stars.
Uhm… that also seems like a completely nonsensical law, given that only a handful of Jakarta’s clubs are currently attached to high-class hotels, and it would be impossible for most others to add a 4-star hotel to their premises.
Taufik also said that the draft included penalties that would force a nightclub to be closed immediately if any drug activity was found to be taking place there. That would be even stricter than the rules set out by Governor Ahok, who said that any club found to have drug activities taking place inside them twice would be shut down.
It seems quite unlikely to us that even this current draft will be enacted without being furthered watered down by sensibility, but we’ll find out tomorrow.