The Golkar Party's office in Cikini, Central Jakarta, was in an uproar on May 27. Priya Ramadhani, the party's regional chairman, had gathered together all the members of Golkar's faction in the Jakarta legislative council (DPRD). "He was floored that Golkar was supporting interpellation of the Governor," Faction secretary Zainuddin said, referring to the parliamentary process of demanding an official explain certain action.
After everyone was accounted for, Priya opened the meeting by asking the representatives to explain why they wanted to query Joko Widodo whose popularity has continued to soar over the planned withdrawal of 16 hospitals from the Jakarta Health Card program. Golkar supports the program, Priya said. "The decision of the meeting was to withdraw members' support for interpellation," Zainuddin told Tempo.
Rudin Akbar Lubis, a member of Golkar's DPRD faction and one of the original drivers of interpellation plan, agreed with the party's decision and withdrew his signature in support of the motion. Just a few days earlier, though, the Golkar faction had been adamant about challenging the program.
"If the Provincial Health Service doesn't quickly sort out this mess, we will use interpellation," Golkar faction chairman Ashraf said at the time.
At the time the DPRD Welfare Commission was meeting with Provincial Health Service chief Dien Emmawati. The day before, the interpellation proposal had been widely talked about in the DPRD. The issue was that 16 private hospitals had reportedly withdrawn from the program over a lack of clarity on reimbursement for their costs. By then 32 of the 94 DPRD members had signed off on the interpellation motion.
Apart from Golkar, backing had come from the Hanura-Peace and Prosperous faction (HDS), the Democrats, the United Development Party (PPP) and the National Mandate Party (PAN)-National Awakening Party (PKB) faction. The Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) had refused to support the motion. The Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) had abstained, as its faction head was away on a pilgrimage.
Initially, interpellation had only been discussed by several members of the Democrats, the party that supported Fauzi Bowo against Joko in last year's gubernatorial election. They brought it up because the Jakarta government had appointed Asuransi Kesehatan insurance company for the program, which required Rp17.8 billion in funding. The Democrats said the partnership required the DPRD approval. "Initially, we were ready to establish a special committee," said Taufiqurahman, a Democrat.
They formulated a strategy. Taufiqurahman and the other initiators consulted with the DPRD's Legal Office to prepare the interpellation, making sure all the procedures would be followed. They held a pre-meeting a day before the meeting with the head of the Health Service in the Democrat faction's rooms. Of the 32 Democrat faction members, 20 agreed with Taufiqurahman's idea.
The form was sent around to the seven other factions. However, after the proposal was discussed several times at the initiator level, it did not go any further as meetings at the Welfare Commission failed to reach consensus. Suddenly the Golkar and PPP factions withdrew their support, followed by the HDS faction. "Once it became politicized, I withdrew our support," HDS faction head Fahmi Zulfikar said.
The Welfare Commission's meeting with the Health Service and the 16 private hospitals the following day apparently also failed to yield a clear outcome. The Health Service asked to be given until mid-June to sort out the Jakarta Health Card program mess; by then discussions with the Ministry of Health on new treatment fees should be finalized.
Jakarta DPRD secretary Mangara Pardede said the road to interpellation was a long one. In order to become policy, such a proposal must first be approved by a plenary session attended by at least 50 percent of the House plus one, or 48 members. Of that number, half must agree to the interpellation. But even before that, the proposal could stall if it was first rejected by the Consultative Body, namely a combined meeting of the heads of the DPRD, party factions and commissions.
Taufiqurrahman said he was not bothered by the outcome. If the interpellation card fails, he is ready to move forward with a similar proposal on the Jakarta Education Card, provincial government education assistance program for poor families.
ARYANI KRISTANTI, SYAILENDRA PERSADA