Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform criticized the government's plan to modernize the primary weapons defense system or Alutsista with a budget of more than Rp1,700 trillion through a debt scheme. The budget was considered excessive and inappropriate at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The coalition thus urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to order Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to stop the agenda. "People are experiencing difficulties and economic crisis due to the pandemic," as quoted from the coalition's statement in Jakarta, Thursday, June 3.
A total of 12 organizations joining the coalition are Imparsial, PBHI, ELSAM, HRWG, the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers), Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), SETARA Institute, Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), ICJR, KontraS, Centra Initiative, and the Public Virtue Research Institute.
The plan of weaponry modernization was noted in the circulating draft of the Presidential Regulation (Perpres) on the defense and security equipment of the Defense Ministry and the Indonesian Military (TNI) for 2020-2023. The budget reached US$124 billion.
The coalition acknowledged the importance of the modernization effort. However, such improvement needs to be carried out in stages, or in the short, medium, and long term.
The surge in the defense equipment budget that was not in accordance with the government's MEF (Minimum Essential Force) program set in 2009 was unreasonable. The coalition also deemed it suspicious as it was inseparable from the political interests of the presidential contest in 2024.
Therefore, the civil coalition urged the government of Jokowi to audit all procurements of defense equipment through the MEF scheme and dismiss the role of third parties because of the high potential for corrupt practices.