Fri, 29 Sep 2000

Councillors likely to get land, cars

JAKARTA (JP): Despite widespread public disproval, the city administration has apparently bowed to councillors demands and allocated them Rp 40.43 billion (US$4.5 million) of the 2000 City Budget to buy land and cars.

The funds have been disguised as "welfare" for the city council's "secretariat employees".

Councillor Amarullah Asbah of the Golkar Party admitted that the money had been allocated for the welfare of councillors and not for council secretariat employees.

Most of the money is to subsidize the purchase of land and vehicles for councillors, Amarullah told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday evening.

"Actually, the allocation of the money has violated no rules and we have only asked for as much as we need, no more than that," Amarullah said.

"The fund will be used for the purchase of plots of lands and other 'welfare allowances' for us, the councillors," he said.

According to the (March-December) 2000 City Budget, Rp 380 million from the Rp 40.43 billion will be used for the welfare of secretariat employees, while the rest will go to councillors.

However, another part of the budget also allocates Rp 14 billion for councillor welfare, such as medical expenses, official trip expenses and other allowances.

No councillors wanted to comment on the matter.

Many people have questioned the councillors ethics, who have been at their posts for some seven months, for asking for such facilities.

A few months ago councillors asked to be given a plot of land valued at Rp 200 million (US$23,255) and a car worth Rp 90 million.

Staff at the city administration have disclosed, however, that many of the councillors plan to take the cash instead of the land or cars should their proposal be fulfilled.

City Council speaker Edy Waluyo has claimed that even if they were allowed to receive the land and cars, they would have to pay for them in installments. The payments would be deducted from their monthly salaries.

Aside from a monthly wage of Rp 6 million, city councillors can bring home extra earnings of at least Rp 4 million per month from various bonuses, none of them performance related. (dja)