SBY Speaks Out Against Pork Barrel Scheme as Jokowi Stays Silent
Jakarta. A bid by Indonesian politicians to channel Rp 20 billion ($1.5 million) in pork-barrel funds to every national legislator has met its most powerful detractor yet in former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, even as his successor remains silent on the hugely controversial issue.
In a series of Twitter messages on Monday, Yudhoyono laid out his arguments against such a scheme and reminded the public that he had opposed a similar attempt by the House of Representatives during his own presidency.
He acknowledged that while the intention of the so-called “aspiration fund” was to boost regional development, the proposed mechanism went against the prevailing system for allocating development funds.
“If members of the House have the ‘allocation and authority’ to determine projects and funding on their own, what’s the difference between the executive and legislative [branches of government]?” Yudhoyono asked in a tweet carrying the *SBY* tag that indicates it was written by the former president and not one of his aides.
He also questioned how the House members would be held to account for the money, and how the public could be sure that it was not being held by the legislators.
Another argument against the scheme, Yudhoyono said, was the role of regional councilors with a better understanding than the House members of local issues.
“If every House member is to get aspirational funds, what about provincial, district and municipal councilors who are considered to know more about and be closer to the constituency?” he wrote.
“How complicated is development planning going to be when everyone has their own wants and plans?
“During the administration that I led, I rejected the use of such aspiration funds because of these [questions] that remain unclear,” he added.
Di era pemerintahan yg saya pimpin, saya tidak setuju penggunaan dana aspirasi tsb karena ke 5 hal itu belum jelas & belum klop. *SBY*
— S. B. Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) June 15, 2015
“I urge the House and the government to be diligent and not hasty in reaching a decision. Don’t make a mistake and ruin the system,” he concluded.
“Shouldn’t the focus and priority of the House and the government at this time be on addressing the economic slowdown and its impact on the lives of the people?”
Yudhoyono’s unequivocal opposition to the scheme comes in stark contrast to the lack of response from his successor, President Joko Widodo, on an issue that has garnered widespread public opposition. Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto, a close aide to the president, said Joko would likely comment on it once the House had fleshed out its plan.
Legislators are pushing the government to include Rp 11.2 trillion in pork-barrel funds, which they are calling the “Electoral Region Development Fund” or UP2DP, in next year’s state budget.
The proposed fund is to be distributed among all 560 House members and used for any development project of their choosing in their respective electoral districts. A House team working on the details of the plan says there will be “no special supervision” of the use of the funds.
Critics have rounded on the plan, calling it unconstitutional and prone to misuse.
The National Democrat Party (NasDem), which is part of Joko’s ruling coalition, said its legislators would oppose any bid by the House to push the plan through. However, Joko’s own Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), says such a scheme is necessary to bypass the tangle of bureaucracy that typically holds up the distribution of regional development funds from the central government.
The post SBY Speaks Out Against Pork Barrel Scheme as Jokowi Stays Silent appeared first on The Jakarta Globe.
Source: The Jakarta Globe