Sat, 25 Jan 2003

`Councillors have money on their minds'

If the 2003 draft budget is approved by the Jakarta City Council, the 85 councillors would each receive about Rp 90 million per month. The Jakarta Post talked to some urban residents about the proposed expenditure.

Alfi, 29, is an unemployed woman who lives in Cakung, East Jakarta, with her husband and only son:

Why should I protest the city budget meeting or the city councillors? It will be to no avail at all.

It's very clear that they will never side with low-income people. Although they hold a discussion meeting, it's just a trading arena for greedy councillors and government officials.

I'm sure what's in the mind of the people's representatives is nothing but money. So, why should we demand they think about poor city residents? It's just nonsense and insane.

They're only concerned about making money and corrupt activities. It's hard for them to think about poor people's lives. I'm sick of them and wonder why I waste my energy thinking about their deeds.

The most important thing now is how to survive; that's much more worthwhile.

But personally, I feel proud of myself as I still have better and more credible morals, despite being poor, compared with those city councillors.

Badriyah, 26, is a vendor of fried catfish at Jl. Raden Saleh, Central Jakarta. She resides in Tambak, Central Jakarta:

What? City councillors will get Rp 90 million every month? It's a really crazy idea. I would not approve the proposal at all. Never!

They should have represented the people's interests. But, in fact they're just concerned about money. How greedy they are!

I don't believe that were they to receive such a high income, they would work harder. I wish I were one of them. Their jobs are just to sit and sleep and then receive large payments.

They should consider low-income people who have to work very hard just to earn Rp 10,000 or Rp 20,000 a day. I get mad just thinking about their thoughtless deeds.

I wonder what is the result of their work for the general public. I mean, what is the actual task of a councillor?

I guess it would be better to donate or allocate the city budget to fishermen or farmers who are stricken by poverty. Or, it would be generous of the city government to give soft loans for the empowerment of poor city residents here. The poor would be more productive.

Riyadi, 30, has no regular job. He lives in Setiabudi, South Jakarta:

I disagree with this irrational proposal. It's ridiculous to pay city councillors such a huge amount amid the current economic slump.

Worse still, it proves how they fall short of decent morality and strong commitment to the public. They are selfish and greedy!

They might deserve better remuneration only after they have performed their best in doing their jobs.

Their jobs involve, among other things, passing draft bills and controlling the executive. Their jobs are not that difficult, so why should they be paid that much!

Their output is not in line with their prestigious salary. It is obvious that their concern to represent people is just empty rhetoric. Their mind is just hollow and blank, apart from money!

Why should they hold a meeting for the city budget? The officials and legislators here are just fighting for money. The meeting is just a voracious party aimed at illegal prosperity, if I may say so.

Maybe I can understand that it's really hard for them to be devious to deceive poor people. My brother is a councillor in my hometown and he admits that his colleagues are greedy and always after money.

I assume that there's a lot of funny business going on between the executive and councillors here to win lucrative city projects.

-- Leo Wahyudi S