Rock star offers help to families of son's victims

The prominent rock star father of an underage driver, who caused the deaths of six people in an accident on Sunday, has offered to compensate those victims with young children by paying for their education amid mounting public outrage over the incident.

Mr Ahmad Dhani is also considering sending his son, Abdul Qodir Jaelani, 13, who has fractured ribs, hips and legs, to Singapore for further treatment. Abdul Qodir is in intensive care after a 10-hour operation on Monday.

The crash - which occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning while Abdul Qodir was driving his girlfriend home in his black Mitsubishi Lancer EX - has ignited a debate about underage drivers and lax policing, as well as anger directed at the wealthy for acting with impunity.

Mr Ahmad, 41, a divorcee with custody of his three sons, gave them expensive cars like a Hummer H2 and Mazda RX8. The Mitsubishi Lancer that crashed was a birthday present to his youngest son, given less than a month ago.

The Indonesian Commission on Child Protection has demanded that the father be charged with negligent parenting.

"The parent should be culpable (and) charged with a five-year prison term with a 100 million rupiah (S$11,000) fine," said its spokesman Mr Muhammad Ichsan.

Social media was also rife with criticism of the father. "Letting a 13 YO kid (drive) your car at 1am. You have a serious parenting problem Ahmad Dhani," wrote Twitter user Tiara Nida Yurida.

But the rock star expressed regret over the incident, acknowledging that he had a "moral responsibility" to offer to compensate the victims.

 

"Please don't think that I am doing this to dodge legal suits. Please don't misunderstand. This is a moral responsibility," he told reporters outside the Melia hospital in Cibubur, east Jakarta, yesterday after visiting his son. "If the family wants to pursue legal action, I will face it," he added.

Much of the public outrage has also been directed at the police for failing to enforce laws. Police statistics show there were 104 accidents involving underage drivers in Jakarta last year, up from 40 in 2011.

In the first six months of this year alone, 8,000 underage drivers have been fined in Jakarta.

Police spokesman Rikwanto, said Abdul Qodir's age meant the maximum jail sentence he could face was three years for negligent driving, or half that for an adult charged with the same offence.

Another senior police officer said Sunday's crash was an eye-opener.

Adjutant Senior Commissioner Sambodo said: "Most importantly, this case can serve as a valuable lesson for us. Parents and schools should at least step up monitoring."

zubaidah@sph.com.sg


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