Jakarta – Defense Minister and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto has rebuffed statements from his own party aides, who previously said he would not take his salary and would not use the official car he is entitled to as a minister.
"I don't know where [the statements] came from [...] we will take the salary and use it well, Prabowo said after a Cabinet meeting at the State Palace on Thursday.
He also said he would use the official car, and even though he still preferred to return to his home in Hambalang, Bogor in West Java, he would stay at his official residence from time to time.
Prabowo's statement contradicted that of his aides, who said on Wednesday that the former general would not take the salary he is entitled to while serving in his ministerial position in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's Indonesia Onward Cabinet.
Dahnil Anzar, the spokesperson of Prabowo as Gerindra patron, informed the public about the former military general's decision through his Twitter account @Dahnilanzar on Wednesday.
"I want to confirm to everyone, especially the press, that the rumors that Pak @prabowo will not take his salary as a minister at @Kemhan_RI are TRUE. Since the first time he entered politics, [he] has been committed to dedicating [himself] for the sake of the nation," Dahnil wrote.
It is not clear, however, whether Prabowo will only refrain from taking his main salary, or whether he will also refuse the ministerial allowances he is entitled to.
Article 2 of Government Regulation No. 60/2000 stipulates that a minister has the right to receive a salary of Rp 5.04 million (US$361.02) per month.
Besides their salary, ministers are also entitled to allowances, according to Presidential Decree No. 68/2001 on Special State Official Allowance.
According to the decree, ministers are entitled to allowances of Rp 13.6 million per month. Ministers are also entitled to operational allowances strictly for ministerial activities, an official residence and an official car.
The house and the car should be returned to the state after the end of the minister's term.
Gerindra deputy secretary Andre Rosiade echoed Dahnil's statement, saying that Prabowo would not take the salary and would not use the official car.
Andre said he also did not know whether Prabowo would also refuse to take the ministerial allowances or whether the salary he was entitled to would be donated to charity.
"I don't know about the details, but what I know is that he is committed to serving the country," Andre said.
Gerindra Party executive Desmond J. Mahesa said Prabowo might feel he had received enough with his earnings as a businessman.
Although relatively unknown, Prabowo and his younger brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo control the Nusantara Group business empire, which has a total of 27 companies engaged in the plantation, forestry, mining and energy sectors.
"Maybe [Prabowo] thinks it's already enough. His personal net worth is more than 1 trillion, why should he take the very small salary?" Desmond said. (gis)