Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – The parliamentary watchdog Forum of Concerned Citizens for Indonesia's Parliament (Formappi) has criticised a working visit (kunker) by the Capital City Draft Law (RUU IKN) special committee to Kazakhstan accompanied by members of the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas).
Formappi researcher Lucius Karus is of the view that a working visit in the mist of the spread of the Omicron variant reflects the House of Representatives (DPR) failure to set a good example for the public in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
"Even though they have failed, for example in providing an example or model in fighting corruption, that doesn't mean they don't' need to try and set an example any more. They could easily have cancelled the kunker in the midst of the pandemic as a good example to show the ordinary people the need to prevent the spread of Covid-19", Karus told journalists on Monday January 3.
Karus said that during the closing session of the DPR last sitting in December, the DPR expressed its appreciation of the government's plans to implement restrictions to prevent the spread of new Covid-19 variants.
According to Karus, this means that the DPR also wanted to implement restrictions which could potentially trigger the spread.
"It is therefore difficult to understand why the DPR has instead ignored the appeal to implement restrictions on overseas travel in order to prevent the entry of new Covid-19 variants which are already spreading overseas", said Karus.
Aside from this, Karus also questioned the urgency of conducting a comparative study by visiting Kazakhstan in person when all kinds of [information] technology can be used for comparative studies without having to visit the location.
"When the DPR is still holding hybrid meetings why can't the kunker be shifted to using [information] technology. With technological assistance the goals of a comparative study can still be achieved without having to face the risk of being infected by the virus", said Karus.
Karus also reminded the DPR to allow space for public participation to listen to and consider the public's wishes in the draft law.
"The deliberations on the RUU IKN were out of the blue and already they're going all over the place even studying overseas yet public socialisation on the law and its articles at home haven't yet been adequately carried out" he said.
It has been reported that five members of the RUU IKN special committee went on a working visit [on January 2-5] to Kazakhstan together with Bappenas.
"In this matter the DPR accompanied Bappenas and departed for a study to the Kazakhstan region which has also once moved its capital city", said DPR Deputy Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad at the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Monday.
Following the detection of the first case of the Omicron variant in Indonesia on December 16, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo appealed to the public and state officials to refrain from traveling abroad. "I ask all citizens and state officials to refrain from traveling abroad", Widodo said on Thursday December 16, adding that any state activities abroad were postponed at least until the situation improves.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kunker ke Kazakhstan bareng Bappenas, DPR Dinilai Tak Jadi Teladan Publik".]