Jakarta Police to recruit ‘Pak Ogah’ to help fight traffic and sidewalk misuse

On top of the usual concerns about increasingly unbearable traffic in Jakarta, the violation of pedestrian rights by motorcycles and other obstacles on sidewalks has become a hot topic of discussion lately. The understaffed Jakarta Police have been ordered to crack down on sidewalk scofflaws and it looks like they’re going to be calling upon Pak Ogah to help them.

Pak Ogah, also known as ‘polisi cepek’, are the guys (they’re almost always guys, though you do see the rare Mbak Ogah every once in awhile) who stand at intersections and U-turns in order to help drivers make turns in exchange for small tips. They can be seen at nearly every busy intersection in Jakarta and now the police want to make them official so they can help regulate traffic and keep sidewalks clear.

“We will call them ‘Supertas’ (an abbreviated form of sukarelawan pengatur lalu lintas meaning traffic regulator volunteer). So they will work with us as part of a program that we are discussing and will eventually present. Later they will be given official uniforms,” Jakarta Traffic Police Director Halim Pagarra said today as quoted by Merdeka.

Halim said the program would first be tested in Kuningan and Mampang and spread to other areas later.

When asked whether the deputized Pak Ogah will actually get paid, Halim said that was still being discussed but he said the police were examining the possibility of companies paying them as part of their corporate social responsibility programs.

Halim said that besides guiding traffic, the ‘Supertas’ two main tasks would be keeping sidewalks clear for pedestrians and preventing drivers from going against the current. He also said they would be teamed up with police who could then issue tickets to violators.

Police had previously suggested a program to have Pak Ogah help keep busway lanes clear earlier this year, but it seems like that never materialized. Hopefully it will this time, because Jakartans are clearly crying out for a lot more law and order on their streets and sidewalks.

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