Subject: KY: E Timor bureaucracy drive stalls at 1st attemp

Japan Economic Newswire

February 22, 2000, Tuesday

E. Timor bureaucracy drive stalls at 1st attemp

DILI, East Timor, Feb. 22 Kyodo


East Timor's first step in setting up a bureaucracy suffered a setback Tuesday when the seven-member public service commission that will lay down details on the hiring of civil servants failed to convene its inaugural meeting.

The commission -- which has five East Timorese members and two from the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) -- was scheduled to meet at UNTAET headquarters in Dili but only three of the seven members turned up, UNTAET officials said.

It was not clear why the other members failed to make it to the meeting but at least one of those absent is reportedly hospitalized, UNTAET spokesman Manoel de Almeida said.

The commission will decide on the details of setting up a civil service, including permanent salary scales for civil servants, terms and conditions of employment and recruitment procedures, de Almeida said.

'Without these decisions being taken by the commission, we will not be able to start the national recruitment that we hope to get moving in the month of March,' he told a media briefing earlier Tuesday.

He added that some 7,000 Timorese will be recruited this year as the first members of the new East Timorese civil service.

U.N. officials earlier said civil servants under the previous Indonesian administration will not automatically be hired for the new civil service. All applicants will have to go through a selection process, including passing exams.

There is currently no functioning bureaucracy in East Timor, which has recently gained independence from Indonesia. Jakarta invaded East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, in 1975 and annexed it as a province in 1976.

East Timor suffered heavy damage during the campaign of burning, killing and intimidation by pro-Indonesian militia last September. The rampage followed the Aug. 30 referendum in which the vast majority of East Timorese voted for independence from Jakarta.

The country is now in the process of rebuilding its devastated economy under the administration of the United Nations.

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