Sat, 05 Mar 2005

'It's better to give the money to the poor'

The Jakarta administration's decision to give councillors a hefty monthly housing allowance of over Rp 15 million has been difficult for ordinary people to accept, particularly those who are against the recent fuel price hike. The Jakarta Post asked residents for their opinions on the administration's decision.

Murni, 36, is a housewife. She lives with husband and three children in Petamburan subdistrict, Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta:

Rp 15 million is a large amount of money -- 10 years worth of rent for us. My husband can only earn around Rp 50,000 per day as a public transport driver.

I've been married for seven years, but we could never afford a bigger house.

Do the councillors have their own houses? If they have, it is really unfair for many Jakartans. What is the money for? Why should they move to other houses?

I think, the money would be better spent on helping the poor. There are still many people poorer than me.

Many of our neighbors find it difficult just to put a decent meal on the table every day -- and the fuel price hike has only made it harder.

Do the councillors still remember their election promises?

Narto, 40, is a civil servant. He works in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta but lives with his wife and two children in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta:

Well, the councillors never cease to amaze me. Their demand for a housing allowance indicates that they are not sensitive to the conditions in their neighborhoods, where they are still many poor people.

They don't deserve such a whopping great housing allowance because I am under the impression that most of them are home owners.

They should be ashamed to ask for that amount -- Rp 15 million, indeed! And in a city with so many poor people, it's a disgrace.

I wonder whether any of the councillors refuse to take the money. Better that they look to the People's Consultative Assembly for examples of thrifty leaders.

-- The Jakarta Post





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