Wed, 15 Jan 2003

`They don't care about the poor'

Governor Sutiyoso was due to present the 2003 City Budget, amounting to Rp 11 trillion, on Tuesday night. However, the allocation of the funds has sparked controversy. Among them is the allocation of Rp 135 billion for City Public Order officers, while the governor is to get Rp 90 million for morning coffee for a year. The Jakarta Post interviewed some people on the street about the issue:

Mulyono, a mobile vendor who has been selling fresh fruit salad in Salemba, Central Jakarta for 10 years. He lives in Matraman, East Jakarta. His wife and son live in Central Java.

I think the budget allocation is normal because the city administration and the governor can do what they want.

He should have known that the budget comes from the people, including the poor. But I'm sure those in lucrative positions like him will easily forget the people who used to support him.

If he once promised to help the poor city residents, it would be better to forget it. The leaders now are just liars who always talk and make promises. They don't care about the poor.

I will not blame Governor Sutiyoso for his deeds because he does not know what it is like to live in poverty like us.

But the Rp 90 million budget for his morning coffee this year is beyond belief. It doesn't make any sense at all. For the poor Rp 250,000 a day just for morning coffee is simply fantastic because we usually get between Rp 30,000 and Rp 50,000 a day, through unbearable hardship sometimes.

However, the budget would be quite understandable for the well-off because they are part of the society who always spend their money lavishly.

Personally, I could not understand the idea of the city government budget proposal this year.

Parti, 52, a vendor selling traditional herbal drinks in the House of Representative's building in Central Jakarta. She has been faithful to this profession for more that 30 years and lives in Bekasi with her husband and five children:

Frankly I don't know anything related to the city administration here. I'm just an uneducated person who never went to school.

But if it is true, then I don't think I will agree with that because it will just hurt the hearts of the poor people if they find out about it.

But, I'm afraid to say that whatever I'm saying it would be useless. We all know that the government never listens to the people's voices. It will result in nothing.

So, I guess it would be better to think of our own life, of how to survive. Otherwise, we won't live longer because we cannot eat. Worse, the government will never help us get by, right?

We have to think that the poor people are always ignored and left miserable. So why should we care about the government who never cares about us?

The most important thing for me is how to support my children's education because I never had an education.

Ramo, 33, a newspaper boy in Kampung Melayu bus station, East Jakarta. He lives on Jl. Basuki Rachmat, East Jakarta with his wife:

What coffee! I cannot imagine what kind of coffee the governor will drink with that much money.

I normally drink three glasses of coffee a day which costs me only Rp 3,000 a day. So, I will only spend around Rp 1 million for my coffee per year. Worse still, my annual budget is only equal to Sutiyoso's morning coffee allowance for four or five consecutive days.

I don't dare imagine that amount of money. I never touched that much money. It would be better for him to allocate the budget to the poor like me. The millions could be used for developing businesses for the poor. Or, that can be used for the street vendor relocation so as not to taint the city order.

I'm afraid that the public order officer will be harsher in evicting us later this year with their budget. They will have more spirit to beat us, I guess.

Amsi, 60, a sidewalk vendor selling key holders in Jatinegara market in East Jakarta. He lives nearby with his wife and three children:

I'm afraid the public order officers will be more active in raiding us.

Thanks for the information. At least the allocation of the city budget proposal gives us warning of a serious eviction.

So, I have to be more watchful to see them coming here.

Personally I disagree with the kind of allocation. It means that the City Public Order officers are financially supported to raid us more severely.

Worse, it means that the poor people are not allowed to make a living in the city.

They are freaks, I think.

-- Leo Wahyudi S