Tue, 21 Jan 2003

Legislators uninterested in water bill

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Many consider the water resource bill an important bill but that is not apparently the case for legislators who will deliberate upon it at the House of Representatives.

A number of legislators from the House of Representatives' Commission IV on infrastructure, which is tasked to debating the bill, confirmed to The Jakarta Post that the commission would debate the bill soon.

One legislator even disclosed a target that the bill's deliberation should finish by June.

However, many of them could not comment on the content as yet.

A Commission IV legislator from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) was initially very interested in commenting on the bill.

"Oh yes, we will start deliberating on the bill as soon as possible," he said with enthusiasm.

But when asked about the bill's details, he then replied hurriedly: "I am sorry, I have not read it yet."

He then gave two names of his colleagues who might know more details about it.

Nevertheless, the two legislators also refused to comment, admitting that they had not read the bill.

The Post finally met Erwin Pardede from PDI Perjuangan.

"The House will complete the deliberation of the bill by the middle of this year," he said.

Erwin explained that it was aimed at achieving better management of water resources.

When asked if he agreed with the bill's articles allowing for the privatization of water management, Erwin replied: "This is not privatization, it's just giving an opportunity to the private sector to manage the water resources to meet people's demand."

When asked further to comment on a specific article of the bill, he said, "Oh, you have read the bill, I have not." Pardede, however, immediately corrected his statement and said that what he meant was that he had not studied the bill in detail.

The deliberation of at Commission IV itself indicates that the House considers the bill a low priority. Important bills would usually be handled by a special committee formed especially for that particular bill.