Fri, 24 Jan 2003

`I'm really pessimistic and expecting nothing'

The city council is continuing its meeting to discuss the 2003 city budget, totaling Rp 11.05 trillion. If the budget proposal is approved, each councillor will get a monthly income of about Rp 90 million. In response, The Jakarta Post talked with some city residents on the budget meeting being held at City Hall.

Gloria, 26, lives with her family in Rawamangun, East Jakarta. She works for a private company in Central Jakarta:

I'm not interested in making any comments on the city councillors or the governor. They are all dishonest, as far as I'm concerned.

They act like little emperors and enjoy living off the money meant for the poor. Their comfortable lives have made them forget their supporters, including low income city residents who have contributed a lot to their finances through taxes.

I don't think they represent the people. I wonder who or what they actually represent. They're greedy for people's money, I guess.

The 2003 budget meeting they are currently holding will be meaningless as long as it is not being publicly monitored for transparency. The meeting will result in nothing being done for the poor. It is just another way to make themselves richer. No wonder so many people fight for a chance to become a councillor: They want to enjoy endless wealth without siding with the public.

I'm tired of thinking about the councillors. I'm really pessimistic and am expecting nothing to come out of this meeting that will prioritize the less fortunate in the city.

Dwi Wahyu P., 26, is an employee at a publishing company in Ciracas, East Jakarta. He lives in Pondok Gede, Bekasi, West Java:

I don't agree with the 2003 budget meeting held by the city councillors as it will be to no avail.

The budget lacks proper allocations for public facilities, such as traditional markets, garbage dumps or city parks. The city budget will certainly fall short of addressing the poverty issue.

The budget allocation does not make any sense as each councillor will receive an outrageous sum of money each month. I wonder why they cannot be responsible enough to help those who earn a low income.

I'm pessimistic that they will side with the public because they are insensitive and not responsive to people's urgent needs.

I still hope that the executives and the legislators will tighten their belts in a sign of support with the less fortunate.

Eki, 28, lives with his only son and wife in Srengseng, West Jakarta. He works for a nearby firm:

The allocation of the 2003 city budget only favors the city councillors and the governor. I think that it is unrealistic.

The budget fund has been wasted on councillors. How can one city councillor get Rp 90 million every month? Not to mention the governor's monthly salary and his fantastic allowances.

It is impossible to compare the salaries of those who earn a low income, like me, with the salaries of representatives. I have to work for more than eight years to get the same amount as what a city councillor earns in one month.

A councillor, who should be representing the public's interests, can buy a fancy car during his term. Unfortunately, they just think of themselves instead of the people's interests.

I don't see any reason why the councillors should hold a budget meeting. What is it for? I have no hope that anything positive will come out of the meeting, because as usual, it's the poor who are always the ones to suffer economic hardships.

-- Leo Wahyudi