Jakarta civil servants test positive for marijuana

As many as 19 employees with the Jakarta Public Works Agency have tested positive for marijuana, recent urine tests reveal.

Deputy Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said Friday that 533 Jakarta Public Works Agency employees had undergone urine tests led by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Jakarta chapter recently.

All employees, without exception, were obliged to undergo urine tests, which were conducted since early September.

Ahok revealed that he had initiated the urine tests after he suspected one of the agency's employees.

"On one occasion when I talked to an employee I suspected the person was using marijuana because the employee looked stoned. I studied here in Jakarta and I had friends who were users, so I recognised the look of someone on drugs. But I couldn't just accuse my subordinate so I asked [the BNN] to conduct urine tests [...] I also took the urine test," he told reporters at his office.

"The results showed that 19 of 533 employees tested positive for marijuana and drugs," he added.

Aside from drugs and marijuana, some employees were also found to be using antidepressants. The city administration will find out whether or not these were prescribed by doctors.

Following the findings, Ahok immediately instructed the Jakarta Employment Agency to impose sanctions on those who tested positive, ranging from removal to demotion.

"I have zero tolerance on this matter. Contract employees will be immediately removed, while officials will lose their posts and be demoted," he said.

Jakarta Employment Agency head I Made Karmayoga acknowledged that his agency had not yet received the identity of the 19 employees.

"We are currently retrieving the information," he told reporters.

19 employees with the Public Works Agency in Jakarta tested positive for marijuana The urine test was conducted as ordered by Ahok, who was suspicious of one particular employee

Separately, Public Works Agency head Manggas Rudy Siahaan declined to comment on the issue.

"We will proceed with the case in accordance with the regulations and we will coordinate with the Employment Agency," he said.

BNN Jakarta chapter's prevention unit head Sapari Partodihardjo said the urine tests were not the first.

The BNN Jakarta chapter had carried out urine tests on civil servants with the city administration last year.

"We checked employees with the Social Affairs Agency, the Transportation Agency, the Tourism Agency and Public Order Officers," he said.

Karmayoga pointed out that last year, two employees with the city administration tested positive for drugs.

"They were identified as Benny Hariwibowo, a staffer at the Bidaracina subdistrict office and Eko Romadoni, a staffer at the Transportation Agency," he said, adding that they had received disciplinary sanctions.

Karmayoga said urine tests had also been included in the open call selection and promotion procedure.

"Even if a candidate scored high in the open call selection, if he or she tested positive for drugs, the candidate would fail the whole test," he said.

Karmayoga cited that agency and unit heads were responsible for their subordinates.

"It is their duty to guide and supervise subordinates, including preventing them from committing illegal actions like drug use," he said.

Ahok acknowledged that urine tests would be carried out in other agencies. He, however, declined to elaborate further.

"We will conduct the urine tests one by one," he said.