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'Is this a trick? What's going on?': Anies fumes over Rp 1.6 trillion budget for stationary items

Jakarta Post - October 31, 2019

Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta – Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan was apparently shocked to learn of the numbers in the capital's draft 2020 budget, which recently invited a chorus of public scrutiny for its massive budget allocation for stationary items.

The Jakarta administration's office published on Tuesday on its official YouTube account a video showing Anies reprimanding his staff over the draft budget.

The footage was published almost immediately after a viral discussion on social media revealed that the administration had allocated Rp 82.8 billion (US$5.9 million) in the draft to purchase multipurpose glue.

Lasting more than an hour, the video showed Anies giving instructions to officials of the provincial administration and five municipalities in Jakarta in a closed-meeting regarding the composition of the budget draft. The description box below the video said it was recorded on Oct. 23.

Anies scrutinized the 2020 planned budget allocation for stationary items, which was set at Rp 1.6 trillion – a huge increase from the Rp 349 billion allocated for the same purposes in this year's budget.

"Is this a trick? How can we explain this ladies and gentleman?" Anies fumed, "Who gets what, when, where [and] how much. Try to explain this to me."

"This is called self-humiliation. If our children ask to us at home, 'Why did the newspaper say [Jakarta needs] 1.6 trillion [for stationary'. Could you answer that question?" Anies said as quoted in the video.

He went on to rant about the allocation of Rp 213 billion for paper and Rp 3 billion for highlighters. "What's going on?"

The governor also looked puzzled when he questioned the significant budget increase for several agencies.

Among those highlighted was the East Jakarta Education Agency, which had its stationary budget increased from Rp 35 billion to Rp 337 billion. In the draft budget, the North Jakarta Education Agency was allocated Rp 39 billion for the procurement of paper.

"This is massive, ladies and gentlemen. Look, Rp 31 billion [allocated] for erasers. And for calculators; didn't we already get calculators this year? [Why should] we allocate Rp 31 billion to buy calculators?" Anies went on.

He further urged his staff to immediately review and fix the draft budget by Oct. 25, warning the officials to not repeat the mistake.

"If you repeat this, you're out," he told participants of the meeting, "Because we can't even explain [the budget allocation] to ourselves, to the public and to God."

News about oddities in the administration's draft 2020 budget went viral after William Aditya Sarana, a member of the Jakarta Council from the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), shared on Tuesday a screenshot of a Rp 82.8 billion budget to purchase multipurpose glue, supposedly for schoolchildren.

The revelation caused a stir among the public and social media users. Jakarta Education Agency secretary Susi Nurhati said a mistake had apparently been made during the drafting.

After the recent criticism, the Jakarta administration's draft 2020 budget draft is no longer accessible at apbd.jakarta.go.id.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/10/31/is-this-a-trick-whats-going-on-anies-fumes-over-rp-1-6-trillion-budget-for-stationary-items.html