Hangga Brata, Yogyakarta – Hundreds of student activists staged an action where they released 40 mice in front of the Regional Representatives' offices in Yogyakarta on Tuesday to signal their disgust with corruption among provincial legislators.
"The mice were symbols of the corruptors who gnaw away at the people's money. They are like a mouse that eats something that did not belong to them and without respect or conscience" said Shouqi, the coordinator.
In addition to speeches decrying corruption in the representatives' council, also known as the DPR, and the releasing of the mice, some of the students also set a tire on fire.
The students urged the dissolution of the House of Representatives' Budget Committee, also known as Banggar (Badan Anggaran), due to ongoing evidence of corruption among lawmakers.
"Nazaruddin's case and the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration's case were only a part of the many cases of corruption in that respectful body, the House of Representatives.
He was referring to former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, now embroiled in allegations of graft over athletes' accommodations for the Southeast Asian Games in Palembang.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration – led by Muhaiman Iskandar – has been connected to alleged bribes under a special ministry program, the Acceleration of Infrastructure Development in Transmigration Areas (PPID).
Given the budget committee's power to influence allocations of funding and wield influence over lawmakers and the government, it was highly susceptible to corruption, Shouqi said.
The students also urged the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to imprison any members of the so-called "budget mafia" and called for more government transparency in general and an end to any policies deemed harmful to the public at large.
The vice chief of the Yogyakarta branch of the Regional Representatives Council (DPRD), Sukedi, said he respected the students' demonstration, adding that it represented the people's frustration with corruption.
"I said that you came to the right place. This building is for people, like students," Sukedi said. Shouqi said that the students would monitor Sukedi's stated commitment to convey their message to the House in Jakarta.