Fri, 21 Mar 2003

KPU members get over 25% of 2003 budget

Arya Abhiseka, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The General Elections Commission (KPU) staff will receive Rp 649 billion (US$72.9 million) or more than 25 percent of the commission's 2003 budget of Rp 2.3 trillion.

Anshari Ritonga, director general for budget at the Ministry of Finance, said on Thursday that the budget would be used for expenses incurred by the members of KPU.

"The Rp 649 billion comprises funds to pay for members' housings, cars, and travel to foreign countries," Ritonga was quoted by Antara as saying on Thursday.

Ritonga's revelation came amid reports that KPU experienced a budget shortfall of Rp 40 billion for voter registration data processing.

The government had told KPU to find its own funding to cover the shortfall.

Safder Yusaac, KPU secretary, told The Jakarta Post earlier that the commission would reallocate funding from other posts.

However, he did not explain if the reallocation would come from the Rp 649 billion budget for member's housings, cars and travel.

Ritonga however said that the Finance Ministry still had not disbursed the funds to pay for those needs.

KPU members could not be reached as the commission held a late meeting.

Previously, KPU announced it had increased the total budget for KPU from Rp 3.02 trillion to more than Rp 4 trillion, in which the Ministry of Finance had agreed to disburse Rp 2.3 trillion this year.

Ritonga also mentioned that the ministry had thus far disbursed Rp 526.5 billion for training of the election staff and voter registration process.

He also said KPU had requested a budget increase of Rp 840 billion for the party verification process which would be approved after the House of Representatives agreed to include it in the 2004 state budget.

The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights along with KPU had planned to complete the party verification process by December 2003, as KPU agreed to exempt the six largest parties that met the 2 percent electoral threshold during the 1999 election.