Mixed Responses on Minister’s Plan to Raise the Pay of Aviation Officials
Jakarta. Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan’s calls for raising the pay of aviation officials, in particular plane inspectors, has met with mixed responses from industry insiders and observers.
Yayat Supriatna, a public transportation analyst from Trisakti University, said Jonan’s proposal was similar to moves by other ministries, such as the Finance Ministry, to raise pay standards in line with officials’ importance and to lessen the motivation for them to take bribes.
“At the [Finance Ministry’s] tax office, the salary and remuneration is higher because they have to deal with higher pressures and bigger burdens,” Yayat said.
“It should work the same at the Transportation Ministry for officials with jobs that deal with public safety.”
He also called on the government to minimize the pay gap between officials working on the ground and those with desk jobs, given that the latter tend to receive higher remuneration despite not dealing directly with public safety.
Tulus Abadi, the chairman of the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI), said he expected Jonan to make such a call, having enacted a similar policy while president director of state-owned railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia.
But Tulus said he understood the minister would likely face criticism, whereas during his time at the helm of KAI, he had the sole authority and autonomy to dictate employees’ salaries.
Raising the salaries of Transportation Ministry officials, who are civil servants, will require a change in regulation that will have to be signed off by the president, Tulus pointed out.
The current government regulation stipulates a pilot inspector qualifies for a monthly salary of Rp 4 million ($306).
Pilot training and education is regarded as on par with a three-year diploma degree.
A pilot inspector doing the same role with the same qualification can earn up to Rp 80 million with a private airline.
“A pilot inspector flies with the airline they supervise. They also have to maintain flying hours” Jonan said on Wednesday, when he also spoke about a “hole” in the prevailing supervision mechanism for aviation safety in Indonesia.
Uchok Sky Khadafi, director of the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra), said he understood that remuneration is important for civil servants with high-pressure jobs, but warned there was also a need for strong supervision to ensure civil servants did not abuse their power.
“Supervision is as important [as the remuneration],” Uchok said.
Jonan is racing against time to improve the country’s air transportation safety, with the European Aviation Safety Agency scheduled to inspect Indonesian airlines in May.
GlobeAsia & Suara Pembaruan
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Source: The Jakarta Globe