Jakarta – Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo says his ministry never issued a policy restricting any government offices from holding conferences and meetings at hotels, but he advised they be held in daytime.
Previously, Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani protested against the minister instructing provincial administrations to not organize meetings at hotels during the association's anniversary gala dinner earlier this week. Hariyadi said such a policy would hurt the hotel industry across the country.
"I never issued any regulation restricting meetings at hotels," the minister said on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara. He added that most meetings organized by his ministry were in fact held at hotels.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo responded to the complaint by immediately calling on Tjahjo to retract his statement. "The minister told me the issue had been settled. [The instruction] won't materialize," Jokowi said.
Tjahjo said he had told his subordinates to issue internal standard procedures for organizing meetings with regional administration officials to discuss regional budgets.
The instruction was issued in the wake of an alleged assault against two Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators at the Borobudur Hotel in Jakarta, where officials from the Papua provincial administration, including Governor Lukas Enembe, were holding a meeting with Papua Legislative Council (DPRD) members to discuss the province's draft 2019 budget.
At the time, an administration staff member noticed that one of the two KPK investigators in the hotel was taking photographs of the officials. The Papua administration rejected the KPK's version of events. The incident is currently under investigation by the Jakarta Police.
"The case broke because the KPK accepted a report on a budget meeting that night in a hotel. Therefore, a budget meeting should not be held at a hotel at night, as it might be perceived differently by other parties," Tjahjo said.
He suggested that such meetings be held in broad daylight in a ministry office. After the consultation meeting, regional administration officers would be allowed to spend the night at a hotel.
In late 2014, then administrative and bureaucratic reform minister Yuddy Chrisnandi issued a circular ordering all government bodies to use their own meeting rooms and banned them from renting meeting halls or other venues, except for meetings that required a large number of participants.
The circular was made at the request of President Jokowi, who aimed to slash the 2015 budget for the meetings and the travel expenses of government officials by Rp 16 trillion (US$1.1 billion) to Rp 25 trillion. The plan was met with opposition from the MICE industry. (kuk)