No Answers Yet in Worker’s Alleged May Day Suicide
Jakarta. Police are still investigating the motive behind the alleged suicide of a worker who set himself on fire and leapt to his death from the roof of the Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta during a May Day concert on Friday.
“His death is still under investigation,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Budi Widjanarko said over the weekend.
The man has been identified as Sebastian Manufuti, 32, a worker at a bottling company in Bekasi.
Sebastian reportedly climbed up to the roof of the stadium, where a concert was being held to mark International Workers’ Day, doused himself with gasoline that he had in a bottle, set himself on fire, and jumped to the ground 40 meters below.
Family and friends said they were shocked that Sebastian would choose to take his own life.
Several friends who attended the concert with him told the Merdeka.com news portal that Sebastian had been taking selfies with fellow activists and share them on social media during demonstrations earlier in the day.
He last shared a Facebook post around half an hour before the incident, when he wrote: “I will do all I can so that you, we and they will open their eyes, ears and hearts for social justice for the entire people of Indonesia.”
Police found a cellphone, a portable charger, a rucksack, a wallet and an empty bottle, on the edge of the roof from where Sebastian was believed to have jumped.
“We found a bottle which we suspect held gasoline to set himself on fire. It still has some of the contents left. We are verifying the substance just to make sure,” said Adj. Sr. Comr. Harry Sulistiadi, chief of the Tanah Abang subprecinct police.
The concert was immediately called off after the incident and officers rushed to secure the scene.
Sebastian’s wife Samah, also a worker, said he never spoke about problems at work or complained about his salary, which was just above the Bekasi minimum of Rp 2.9 million ($223) per month.
Samah, who was also at the demonstration, said she did not notice anything amiss with her husband that day.
Sebastian’s body was examined at the Soekanto Police Hospital in East Jakarta before being taken to his family’s home in East Jakarta.
He was buried on Saturday, with hundreds of his colleagues and members of the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers’ Unions (FSPMI) present.
Friends described Sebastian as a passionate activist and speculated that he may have killed himself to bring attention to the many problems workers faced at his company, Tirta Alam Segar, a subsidiary of Wings Food that bottles soft drinks.
FSPMI secretary Al Jamaludin claimed there had been many accidents at the bottling plant that had gone unreported and the workers uncompensated.
The accidents “range from severed fingers to mauled limbs [trapped in] the factory’s machinery.”
“Sebastian often advocated for better safety and tried to ensure his colleagues were compensated but [the company] never paid any attention,” Jamaludin said.
“He sacrificed himself to promote change for laborers.”
Dipa, a worker at Tirta Alam Segar, said Sebastian operated a machine at the plant printing labels for the beverages. He had worked there for seven years, the last three as a union official.
Officials from Tirta Alam Segar and its parent company, Wings Food, were not immediately available for comment.
The post No Answers Yet in Worker’s Alleged May Day Suicide appeared first on The Jakarta Globe.
Source: The Jakarta Globe