The E-KTP Mess

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko Widodo must act quickly to overcome the mounting problems related to the electronic ID card (e-KTP) project. Allowing the chaotic state of affairs to continue will only add to the losses incurred by the state, some Rp5.9 trillion from the cost of the project. Public service on demographic matters, which should be a priority, has become a casualty.

    This huge project has turned into a mess. After the shortages of blank cards - the main component of ID cards - spread across the nation, a corruption scandal came to light and is now being investigated by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). This was immediately followed by another problem involving the security of the demographic data recorded by Biomorf Lone Indonesia. This company, based in the United States, has refused to continue producing e-KTPs because they have not been compensated for their work. Biomorf is a subcontractor of a consortium led by state-owned printer Percetakan Negara RI. It is now owed Rp48 billion by the consortium, and is also demanding the state pay Rp 540 billion to cover the costs of a change in specification and for system maintenance from 2014 to 2015. None of this overdue invoice has been paid.

    As of the beginning of the year, this debt problem remains unresolved. Biomorf finally stopped integrating the biometric data stored in its system. As a result, the identity data of hundreds of millions of people could not be integrated with the system.

    The effects were felt immediately. In several regions, there was unease when people wanted to apply for their e-KTPs. Officials were unable to help them, and said they had run out of blank ID cards. They were forced to use this excuse because the integrated recording systems at the sub-district offices could not be used.

    Biomorf claims that it has recorded the data of 167.7 million Indonesians, who are each to be given a prime demographic number (NIK). If the money problems are not resolved, this whole system is threatened with falling into neglect because the source code, they key to the data program in the integrated system, is still in the hands of Biomorf.

    Without the source code, the sophisticated data recording system would be of no use. The Home Affairs Ministry has since said that it has the data and the source code. Whoever has it, the lack of clarity is worrying. Who can guarantee that the identity data of hundreds of millions of Indonesians will not be misused?

    The results of the program to provide every citizen with an NIK are long-awaited. This is a strategic project because with an NIK, we will have a unique identity for almost every administrative need. With an e-KTP based on an NIK, people will no longer be able to hold multiple ID cards. There will be fewer opportunities for misuse, and people will benefit from it. Filing taxes, applying for drivers licenses and passports, for example, will be much easier because the data will be integrated.

    Given the importance of the e-KTP project, the President should step in. This chaos must be dealt with immediately. Allowing the e-KTP project to grind to a halt would mean ignoring Law No. 23/2006 on Demographic Administration. This law requires the government to immediately reform the administration of demographic affairs. The money owed to Biomorf must be paid so the data already collected can be utilized and the project can continue.

    The e-KTP project must be saved without affecting the current legal proceedings at the KPK. The government must fully support this investigation. The President must instruct prosecutors and the police to keep track of developments to prevent further corruption. (*)

    Read the full story in this week's edition of Tempo English Edition