Jakartans in general don't need to be told that rush hour on the KRL Commuterline is chaotic to say the least, but citizens of the capital have recently felt the need to inform one lawmaker about their daily commuting struggles in response to her tone deaf comment.
ICYMI, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI-P) Evita Nursanty, who sits on Commision VI of the House of Representatives (DPR) overseeing matters related to industries and investment, recently went viral for her impassioned but ill-informed speech rejecting importing new KRL Commuterline trains from Japan.
In recent weeks, protectionist politicians have been pressing for the KRL Commuterline to acquire trains from state-owned train manufacturer INKA instead of accepting used trains from Japan. Critics of the proposal argue that importing Japanese trains is far cheaper and would address KRL Commuterline's immediate need for more trains, as opposed to waiting longer for the production of the costlier INKA trains.
"Would we be in a state of chaos if we don't import [the trains]? Things are usually chaotic in the new year, or leading up to the Lebaran (Eid) holiday. We have now passed all states of chaos, so is there urgency to import trains?" Evita said during a Commision VI meeting on Monday, using the word chaos to refer to crowded trains.
It was likely that the politician mixed up the KRL Commuterline with inter-city trains, which are often more crowded during holidays.
Evita was widely panned for her statement, with many saying it's apparent that the lawmaker, who has self-reported a net worth of IDR71 billion (US$4.7 million) and the luxurious MPV Toyota Alphard among her assets, has never been on the KRL Commuterline during rush hour.
Since then, Jakarta netizens have been posting photos proving that "chaos" on the KRL Commuterline is not a seasonal phenomenon.
Evita has since blamed others for taking her statement out of context. She clarified that she wasn't exclusively talking about the KRL Commuterline, but inter-city trains as well, which, come to think of it, is itself beyond the context of Monday's meeting.
KRL Commuterline service provider PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) recently said that it plans to retire 10 of its aging trains this year and 19 more next year. Their replacement from INKA won't arrive until 2025 at the earliest.