Thu, 26 Oct 2000

BPKPN asks for high pay, luxury cars

JAKARTA (JP): No less controversial than its composition, the 25-member State Officials Wealth Audit Agency (BPKPN) has proposed for high salaries and luxury cars for its members, a state official said on Tuesday.

State Minister for Administrative Reform Ryaas Rasyid said the agency had proposed to the government a monthly salary of Rp 50 million (US$5.910) per month and a luxury official car per member.

"I cannot imagine that the newly-established BPKPN, whose composition remains controversial, has sought a Rp 50 million salary per member per month and Toyota Crown cars amidst the economic crisis.

"The state secretariat is expected to turn it (the proposal) down," he told newsmen here.

He said such high salaries was not a guarantee that the new agency would work effectively and its members not be involved in corrupt and collusive practices.

The minister said the salary of members of the new agency should be around Rp 12 million per month each, which is still higher than the salary of a Cabinet minister.

"I am paid only Rp 10 million per month," Ryaas said.

He also suggested the government provide modest cars, like Toyota Kijang minivans or others of the same class to avoid envy among other government agencies or committees.

Commenting on a proposal by the House of Representatives (DPR) that the agency membership be expanded, Ryaas said the House should maintain flexibility in evaluating the agency's performance.

"The government should maintain the current size. But, if it is considered inadequate to handle its tasks, the agency should be expanded," he said.

The House has called on the government to increase the new agency's members from the present 25 to 45 to make it more effective in carrying out its mission.

Ryaas also expressed his concern over the salaries of more than 4.5 million civil servants, including teaching staffers of state-run schools and universities.

"I agree with the idea of hiking civil servants' salaries, which is aimed at reducing corruption in the bureaucracy.

"But, it is impossible to hike them now because our state budget still depends much on foreign loans," he said. (rms)