City slammed for in­flat­ing funds for po­lit­i­cal par­ties

The Jakarta Post - - CITY - Ivany Atina Arbi

The Home Min­istry has rep­ri­manded the Jakarta ad­min­is­tra­tion for its plan to vastly hike fund­ing for po­lit­i­cal par­ties next year with­out a solid le­gal ba­sis.

In the 2018 city bud­get, which has been handed to the min­istry for ap­proval, the Jakarta ad­min­is­tra­tion al­lo­cates Rp 17.7 bil­lion (US$1.3 mil­lion) to par­ties, al­most 10 times last year’s Rp 1.8 bil­lion.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion said it had in­creased the fund­ing for each po­lit­i­cal party in Jakarta from Rp 410 per vote won in the last leg­isla­tive elec­tion to Rp 4,000 per vote, on the ba­sis that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment had in­creased fund­ing for po­lit­i­cal par­ties at the na­tional level from Rp 108 to Rp 1,000 in the 2018 state bud­get.

Su­mar­sono, the min­istry’s di­rec­tor general of re­gional au­ton­omy, called the al­lo­ca­tion ir­ra­tional and il­le­gal on Thurs­day, not­ing that the in­crease at the na­tional level was based on Fi­nance Min­is­ter Let­ter No. 277/ MK. 02/2017.

“The [Fi­nance Min­istry] reg­u­la­tion ap­plies to the na­tional level only. The ques­tion is, what is the le­gal ba­sis for Jakarta to in­crease the fund­ing?” the for­mer act­ing Jakarta gov­er­nor asked, call­ing the in­crease to Rp 4,000 per vote per year ex­ces­sive.

To make it ap­pli­ca­ble at the re­gional level, in­clud­ing in Jakarta, Su­mar­sono said, there should be a re­vi­sion of Gov­ern­ment Reg­u­la­tion (PP) No. 5/2009 on fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

The fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made in the com­ing days, af­ter the min­istry fin­ishes re­view­ing the city bud­get.

“We have yet to de­cide whether we will scrap or de­crease the al­lo­ca­tion for party funds. Maybe next week [we will an­nounce our de­ci­sion],” said Su­mar­sono.

Jakarta Gov­er­nor Anies Baswedan and Deputy Gov­er­nor San­di­aga Uno have faced crit­i­cism over the 2018 city bud­get, the first bud­get they crafted af­ter their in­au­gu­ra­tion, as many al­lo­ca­tions stand in stark con­trast to the pre­vi­ous city bud­get.

Al­lo­ca­tions spark­ing pub­lic de­bate in­clude lav­ish spend­ing for mem­bers of the Jakarta Coun­cil.

In the draft bud­get, the ad­min­is­tra­tion ear­marked Rp 346.5 bil­lion for its leg­isla­tive part­ner in 2018, al­most twice the pre­vi­ous year’s al­lo­ca­tion, as the work­ing trip fund for coun­cil­lors quadru­pled to Rp 107.7 bil­lion.

The higher al­lo­ca­tion also in­cludes Rp 620 mil­lion to re­vamp a foun­tain at the coun­cil build­ing in Cen­tral Jakarta and Rp 346.7 mil­lion for procur­ing au­to­matic air fresh­ener dis­pensers.

Anies, who was only sup­ported by a mi­nor­ity coali­tion of the Gerindra Party and the Pros­per­ous Jus­tice Party (PKS), was crit­i­cized for pan­der­ing to coun­cil­lors in an ap­proach that seems a far cry from his pre­de­ces­sor Ba­suki “Ahok” Tja­haja Pur­nama, who had been fru­gal with city funds for the Jakarta Coun­cil, a body no­to­ri­ous for in­flat­ing bud­gets.

De­spite his hos­til­ity to­ward city coun­cil­lors, how­ever, Ahok set po­lit­i­cal party fund­ing at Rp 410 per vote when it was only Rp 108 at the na­tional level.

Un­der the Ahok ad­min­is­tra­tion, the In­done­sian Demo­cratic Party of Strug­gle (PDI-P), which re­ceived most votes in the 2014 elec­tion, got Rp 505 mil­lion per year, while the party with the low­est num­ber of votes, the Na­tional Man­date Party (PAN), re­ceived Rp 70.8 mil­lion.

In the 2018 city bud­get, the PDI-P is set to get around Rp 4.9 bil­lion and PAN will get about Rp 691 mil­lion.

Jakarta Na­tional and Po­lit­i­cal Unity Agency sec­re­tary Ntis Sutisna ad­mit­ted that the city ad­min­is­tra­tion and the city coun­cil had agreed on the in­crease of party fund­ing to an­tic­i­pate the up­com­ing re­vi­sion of PP No. 5/2009, which was ex­pected to reg­u­late the is­sue.

“The Home Min­istry has in­formed us pre­vi­ously that it is cur­rently work­ing on re­vis­ing the reg­u­la­tion, and it says that Jakarta can pro­vide party funds ex­ceed­ing the Rp 1,000 per vote, be­cause the city has a huge fi­nan­cial ca­pa­bil­ity,” Ntis said. How­ever, if the min­istry decides to re­jected the pro­posal, the al­lo­cated bud­get funds would be­come un­used 2018 funds (silpa), Ntis added.

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