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Jokowi's misuse of social aid during election can be categorised as corruption

Kompas.com - February 27, 2024

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – It is believed that the misuse of social aid (bansos) from the government during the 2024 elections can be categorised as corruption.

Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) Chairperson Julius Ibrani conveyed this during a discussion titled "A Fair and Democratic Indonesia Movement" with the theme "An Election Right of Inquiry: A Release of 30 Names of DPR Members Being Encouraged to Submit a Right of Inquiry" in Jakarta on Tuesday February 27.

"Including bansos. It must be included in the category of corruption. Why? Because it benefits certain parties, either personally or as corporate institutions and others", said Ibrani in his presentation.

He is of the view that the government's social aid program was a tool to raise the votes for a certain presidential and vice presidential candidate ticket.

As is known, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka ran as a vice presidential candidate in the 2024 presidential election under ticket number 2 as presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto's running mate.

Ibrani said that the distribution of social aid ahead of voting day in the presidential election also influenced survey results and the electability of the Prabowo-Gibran ticket.

"This was systemic, indeed the system that was seen was wherever there was a lack of votes for the beloved child he would pour water there", said Ibrani.

"Until it then affected the results of electoral surveys, surveys, exit polls, why? People didn't want to answer if they don't choose Gibran, [they were] afraid of not getting social aid. That's systemic", he added.

Not only that, he also believes there are suspicions of the use of the state apparatus in the process to ensure a victory for presidential candidate pair number 2.

Moreover, he also considers that this year's election process was systematically rotten.

"Also the use of state officials, just to mention a few, the TNI [Indonesian military], the Polri [Indonesian police], village officials, ministries and all kinds of facilities within this which should be categorised as corruption. Because it was used for the benefit of one or two particular parties", he said.

The disbursement of social aid during the election campaign period this year has been in the public spotlight and was seen to be politically charged.

But despite being in the spotlight, the government still boosted the distribution of social aid and even promised it would continue to distribute social aid until June 2024.

In the realisation of the social aid program, President Widodo even "came from the mountain" to check the distribution of social aid in the Central Java city of Salatiga on Monday January 22.

Widodo said the government would try to continue the distribution of rice social assistance until June 2024 and that he hoped that the state budget (APBN) would remain strong so that social aid could continue.

Aside from Widodo, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto also went into the field to distribute social aid directly and distributed assistance from government rice reserves in Indramayu, West Java, on Wednesday January 24.

Airlangga said that food assistance was intended to accelerate the elimination of extreme poverty in Indonesia. He also gave assurances that the government would continue the El Nino Direct Cash Assistance Program (BLT) which is now still in the disbursement stage.

"Direct cash assistance [to compensate] for El Nino amounting to 200,000 rupiah per month is now in process and it is hoped that at the end of the month or at the beginning of next month it can be launched", he said.

However Presidential Special Staff Coordinator Ari Dwipayana said that the social aid distributed by the government was not related to the general election process.

Dwipayana asserted that the social aid was assistance for small communities that had already been mutually agreed upon by the government and the House of Representatives (DPR).

"It must be remembered that social aid is an affirmation program from the government for the ordinary people and poor families, the funding for which is sourced from the APBN", said Dwipayana in a written statement given to journalists on Thursday January 4.

"And it was already agreed to jointly between the government and DPR. So, it has nothing to do with the election process", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Penyalahgunaan Bansos Saat Pemilu Dinilai Bisa Masuk Kategori Korupsi".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2024/02/27/17091111/penyalahgunaan-bansos-saat-pemilu-dinilai-bisa-masuk-kategori-korups