Mon, 18 Sep 2000

Official globe-trotting

Thank heavens the media was able to publicize and prevent, at least temporarily, the planned overseas junket of ninety members of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) for the ostensible purpose of presenting their programs to approximately two million Indonesians residing overseas.

The MPR members are the ones whose attendance at scheduled sessions for official business was so low; whose chairs were often empty even during the televised sessions of the Annual Session in August. Have the members not heard of newspapers and newsletters or the Internet or interactive e-meetings as economical ways of communicating across distances? Have they thought of using our Embassies and consulates to disseminate information to overseas citizens?

This plan (to travel around the world) is unnecessary and patently unjustifiable in this time of economic crisis. Is their real purpose to hide funds in overseas accounts ahead of their required declaration of assets, or simply to have a nice holiday?

The President has set an unfortunate precedent for excessive travel at government expense as an alternative to dealing with domestic problems. He and the MPR members who are all too happy to follow his lead need to have their wings clipped until they succeed in their domestic mission.


Medan, North Sumatra