Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Lawmakers will have to wait a little longer for cash incentives to buy new cars for personal use following a statement from the House of Representatives secretary-general that the plan has been postponed.
According to a circular dated April 6 that was leaked to the public on Wednesday, each of 560 lawmakers was to receive Rp 116.6 million (US$7,207) on Tuesday for down payments on new cars.
The plan has triggered public anger as the country faces the COVID-19 pandemic. Activists have slammed lawmakers for having no empathy at this crucial time affecting many aspects of people's lives.
Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) chairwoman Asfinawati lambasted the plan, saying lawmakers should not get benefits during this difficult situation.
"This is a matter of appropriateness, an ethical issue. Workers have been laid off everywhere and they have no income," she said on Thursday.
The House said the plan had been postponed on the grounds of newly enacted Presidential Regulation No. 54/2020 on the 2020 state budget revision.
"The plan has been postponed. We don't know until when," House secretary-general Indra Iskandar told reporters on Thursday.
He said he did not have the official document on the delay or announcement letter. "I should check on that."
According to the regulation, the House budget was cut by more than Rp 220 billion to be reallocated to focus on the government's coronavirus handling.
However, some lawmakers said the postponement had yet to be announced by the House.
Lawmaker Benny K Harman of the Democratic Party said he had not yet received any letter about the delay, nor the money. "I don't know yet," he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Saleh Daulay of the National Mandate Party (PAN) stated the same thing, saying he would be grateful if the program was postponed. "If possible, just allocate the funds for the COVID-19 handling so that House members can do more for the people," he said.
The House had previously received public criticism following its plan to conduct COVID-19 tests on lawmakers, which they also postponed following an outpour of public outrage.