Fri, 09 Aug 2002

'Annual Session is waste of time'

Amendments to the Constitution being debated at the Annual Session continue to bore the average person who say it has no consequence to their daily lives.

Damer, 50, is a street tailor in Jatinegara, East Jakarta. He lives in Depok, West Java with his three children and wife. He comes from Padang, West Sumatra:

I don't care about the Annual Session because it does not help the poor.

The existing Constitution works, so why do legislators bother themselves with it? Amendments to the Constitution are not important because they won't help low-income people. If anything, it should be the legislators that need to be amended.

Personally, I'd rather care about the country's education, because it is a far more important issue.

I just wonder when they will stop squabbling and start thinking about the public.

They should at least consider most people's concern about the alarming rise in street crime. Do they have any idea how the poor are feeling?

Nyai, 60, is a vendor selling drinks in Penjernihan, Central Jakarta. She has been in the city for more than 20 years and now lives in Peron, Central Jakarta with a daughter and husband:

The Annual Session is a waste of time! The government and political leaders commit crime all the time. They are just big liars. They don't care about me, so I don't care about them in return.

Who has given them the right to sit in the People's Consultative Assembly? It is because the public have supported them. Without people like us they would never have got their current positions.

Where is the Pancasila and its principles of public justice and prosperity? It is nowhere to be found, because the government is just too selfish to think about anything else other than their own political agenda.

Pepi, 36, has been a street sweeper with the City Sanitary Agency for two years. He is from Padang and now resides in Petamburan, Central Jakarta with his mother:

Constitutional amendment will do nothing for the country's poor.

If I were a legislator, I would propose a way to pay off the state debt, which has caused so much misery to many people. But, I know they won't bother to do anything useful, so I don't care about them and their Annual Session.

The country's leaders are just idiots because they can't even manage a rich country like our own.

But I also think most demonstrators are stupid because they usually stage rallies with no particular purpose in mind. Demonstrations on their own are not powerful enough to change legislators' attitudes.

Timin, 29, is handicapped and begs under Karet flyover in Central Jakarta. He comes from Pandeglang, Banten. He lives in Dukuh Pinggir, Central Jakarta, with his two children, wife and brother:

Do they really think constitutional amendment is more important than public welfare?

The Rp 20 billion Annual Session is meaningless. Why shouldn't such a large amount of money be distributed to the poor like me? Just think, I would never have to beg on the street again. I would have a job just like anybody else.

We have given up hope that the government will ever make any effort to improve the welfare of the poor. The government punishes people who have been working hard but lets criminals who have robbed billions of rupiah from the state go free.

Is that what you call justice?

-- Leo Wahyudi S.