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Saturday, 23 June, 2012 | 16:36 WIB
When Parties Share State Projects
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The political scandal revealed by Wa Ode Nurhayati has made legislators look more like project brokers or state-budget thieves than representatives of the people. Despite being nicely packaged in the form of Regional Infrastructure Adjustments Funds (DPID), budget manipulation by the House of Representatives (DPR) has finally been revealed. The Rp7.7-trillion project was nothing but a way for legislators to get their hands on state funds.
Some DPR member may argue that the information revealed by Wa Ode was an isolated incident. Wa Ode, a politician from the National Mandate Party (PAN), has been accused of receiving bribes worth Rp6 billion in regard to the project. However, there are strong indications that funds from the regions that were included in the project also trickled down to other politicians. It appears that the legislators were sharing projects. Wa Ode, for instance, had allegedly received a cut from projects in Aceh worth tens of billions of rupiah. We can only imagine how much money was circulating among politicians from the project worth trillions of rupiah.
Findings by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) team indicate the projects had been schemed by the DPR Budget Council. Parties received shares of projects with a value comparable to the number of seat those parties have in the DPR. Such ‘rationing’ substantiate allegations that political parties have been sending their members to ‘work’ at the DPR and collect money through graft practices. Logically, the projects would not have been plotted if some proceeds or bribes were not involved.
The regional infrastructure project that started in 2011 is a new trick. The program was the realization of a proposal for aspiration funds worth Rp15 billion for each DPR member—the proposal was strongly criticized by the public. However, there are differences in the amount of budget allocated for the two programs: the pork barrel funds would have cost Rp8.4 trillion for 560 DPR members, while the regional infrastructure funds only cost slightly lower.
Maneuvers made by politicians in their effort to get their hands on the state budget only show they do not care about the people. The public questions the benefit of the project for the public as parties have been plotting for a share of the cake since the beginning. It is expected that a large amount of money has evaporated because government officials and politicians at the regional level must have already enjoyed a percentage of the project budget.
Such misconduct has betrayed budget preparation functions, which is part of the DPR’s duties. Indonesia’s capital expenditures of Rp168 trillion or 10 percent of the total state budget were subject to sharing. On the other hand, the DPR seems to be undeterred by the fact that energy subsidies, which have reached Rp255 trillion—mostly enjoyed by the haves—burden the state budget. Employee expenditures, including the salary of DPR and Regional Representatives Council (DPRD) members, have also reached over Rp200 trillion. The unbalanced budgeting has stalled infrastructural development. The state is unable to provide affordable education and take care of tens of millions of its citizens living in poverty. Political parties should know how it feels to be poor and living in remote areas while a small piece of budget allocation for them is cut.