Govt weighs in on dramatic funding rise for political partiesFriday, 07 October 2016 10:30:26 | News | (0 view)
The Home Ministry and lawmakers are once again mulling a plan to increase the allocation of state funds for political parties. The proposed increase is 50 times higher than the Rp 108 (less than 1 US cent) of state funding granted to each party per valid vote per year, as laid out in an existing Home Ministry regulation introduced after the 2009 general election.
Under the current scheme, the state has allocated Rp 13.17 billion to finance the 10 political parties that secured positions in the legislative institution in last year’s election.
The existing law says state funds are one of three legitimate financial sources for political parties. However, several politicians remain at the top of a list of corruption perpetrators in the country.
A 2013 survey by Transparency International Indonesia (TII) concluded that political parties had not been transparent about their sources of funding.
Early last year, the public was shocked by a plan proposed by Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo to increase the annual funding for political parties to Rp 1 trillion each, around 75 times higher than the existing scheme.
At the time, he argued that the increased state funding, which aimed to discourage political parties from resorting to graft in seeking funds, should become effective after the 2019 general election.
The proposed increase of funds was later altered to between 10 and 20 percent for each political party. However, Tjahjo later dropped the plan as Jokowi’s administration pushed for extensive countrywide infrastructure development.
National Awakening Party (PKB) politician Muhammad Lukman Edy, a member of House Of Representatives Commission II overseeing home affairs, applauded the government’s plan to revise the political party funding regulation, saying it was lauded by several institutions, such as the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), as a tool to root out corrupt practices in the political sphere.
Lukman was upbeat that political parties could handle the increased funds, adding that there would be a “complete character turnaround” among them as they would be audited by the BPK.
Democratic Party lawmaker Didik Mukrianto and Yandri Susanto of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said their faction within the
House would not indicate a stance over increased political party funding before conducting a thorough study of the plan.
“We have to conduct an examination of the plan to increase political parties’ funding, whether it is viable given the current domestic economic slowdown,” Yandri said.
Election activist Veri Junaidi of Constitution and Democracy (CoDe) said a funding increase was essential, but could only be granted if the government set a clear mechanism for political parties to provide transparent and accountable periodic reports of their bookkeeping.
“Having such an accountability mechanism would help to promote parties’ internal democratization,” he added. “While the absence of such a mechanism could allow irregularities to occur instead.”
Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, however, said “the amount must be reasonable and not against the logic of the public”.
“If it is 50 times higher, then it is too much,” said Pramono, who earlier admitted that the issue had put the government between a rock and a hard place as it realized political parties were facing high costs.