Jakarta – The Jakarta administration's 2020 budget draft has caused a stir among the public after it was revealed that it had allocated Rp 82.8 billion (US$5.9 million) to purchase multipurpose glue supposedly for schoolchildren.
The news went viral on social media after William Aditya Sarana, a member of the Jakarta Council (DPRD) from the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) shared a screenshot of the draft budget on his Instagram and Twitter accounts @willsarana on Tuesday.
"Students in Jakarta will be given two cans of multipurpose glue each month. Until now, the general public does not have access to [Jakarta's] draft 2020 budget on apbd.jakarta.go.id, while in fact, budget deliberations have started in the DPRD," William wrote on his Instagram post.
"We found oddities in the draft budget, namely the allocation of Rp 82.8 billion for the [Jakarta] Education Agency to purchase multipurpose glue [...] for 37,500 students in Jakarta. That means each student will be given two cans of glue each month. What for? Please explain."
William posted a similar statement on Twitter, which quickly went viral and has gained more than 23,000 retweets as of 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Twitter users responded to William's post by also slamming the allocation for multipurpose glue, while some chose to react with jokes instead.
"It's obvious they're buying such a massive amount of glue to repair the strained friendships between students caused by the Jakarta gubernatorial election," wrote Twitter user @salmankant.
He was referring to the 2017 race that pitted now-Governor Anies Baswedan against losing candidate Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in what was seen by many as the capital's the most sectarian and divisive election.
Another Twitter user, @Widyarenee, said in her post: "Apparently the glue contains 16,000-carat diamonds."
When asked about the allocation, Jakarta Education Agency secretary Susi Nurhati said she would recheck the draft budget as a mistake had apparently been made.
"It appears that someone made a typo. We are currently checking [...] the draft to make corrections," Susi said as quoted by Antara news agency.
She conceded that the West Jakarta Education Agency had asked for office stationery but not for glue.
"We did ask for stationery, but we only asked for paper and ink," she said, adding that the agency would investigate the error. "We will check all public elementary schools in West Jakarta. We revised the budget draft on Friday, but we will check it again thoroughly."
Meanwhile, William has asked the city administration to make the city's latest draft budget accessible to the public. "I requested for apbd.jakarta.go.id to be open to the public. If there is new data, please share it with the public immediately."
The Jakarta administration is required to upload the draft 2020 budget onto apbd.jakarta.go.id, but after the recent criticism over multipurpose glue, it is currently unavailable. (nal)