Tue, 31 Oct 2000

Purchase of Hyundai cars shelved

JAKARTA (JP): Despite strong evidence that the city administration has purchased cars for 55 City councillors, Governor Sutiyoso maintained that he had postponed the plan.

Sutiyoso said on Sunday evening that he had shifted the Rp 5.5 billion (US$957,826) fund marked for the purchase of the official cars to other projects that still need government funding.

"We, both the city administration and councillors, have agreed to postpone the purchase of the official cars because we have to listen to the public's demands.

"I really hope that people do not make a fuss over it," he said.

"I have shifted the fund to other projects that will be more useful for the public," he added.

"We have responded to public demand, so people should not argue about it anymore."

Separately, Project Officer for the vehicle purchase Apri Rachmad admitted that the contract for the purchase of 55 Hyundai Accent sedans had been signed.

"The contract has already been signed. We have contacted the cars' sole agent here. We did not open a bid for the purchase because we have direct contact with the sole agent," Apri said.

He, however, declined to name the party which will receive the cars.

"I cannot say whether the cars are for the councillors or not as the contract only mentions that they are for official cars," Apri said.

Despite widespread public disapproval, 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.

Although Sutiyoso had repeatedly said in public that he disagreed with their demands, the process to facilitate the purchase continues, the final move being the issue of a City Bylaw on the project.

Out of a total of 85 councillors, 30 of them have already received official cars. The first councillors to receive cars consisted of the city council speaker, chairmen of the council's faction and senior members of the five council commissions.

Data obtained from www.oto.co.id stipulates that each Hyundai Accent car has a street value of between Rp 105 million and Rp 115 million. (dja)