Tara Marchelin, Jakarta – The Indonesian Ombudsman said complaints about the government's social aid programs dominated hundreds of inquiries to its new Covid-19 online complaint center.
"As of May 12, we've received 387 complaints, 72 percent of which, or 278, were complaints about the social aid," Ombudsman Chairman Amzulian Rifai said in an online press conference on Wednesday.
Indonesians have been complaining that the social aid's distribution has been uneven and that there's still no clarity on which residents are entitled to the relief packages, or even how to apply for them.
"There are people in dire situations who can't get the benefits because they're not registered. Others have been registered but still can't get the aid. And then there are migrant workers who can't get the aid because they're not registered locally," he said.
Amzulian said the main problem besetting the program is the lack of accurate data from the government, ministries and state agencies.
"Long before the pandemic, we often reminded them that data are crucial. They've dug a hole for themselves with the inaccurate data this time," he said.
Ombudsman member Ahmad Saragih said the problem could be avoided if the central government and regional governments could reach an agreement on who provides the social aid for local residents and who provides it for migrant workers.
"The central government and regional governments should get together soon to work out a solution," he said.
Ahmad said the government's failure to direct the social aid to those who need it cannot be considered as a criminal act.
Nevertheless, Ahmad said the government should simplify it.
"They've got too many different types of aid – food aid, pre-employment card, direct cash aid (BLT), cash transfer program (PKH). They should combine them into one," Ahmad said.
The Ombudsman also received 89 complaints about financial services, eight complaints on health and transportation services and four complaints on security.
Twelve percent of the complaints were submitted by residents of Greater Jakarta, which includes Bogor, Depok and Bekasi – a total of 47 complaints. West Sumatra followed with 44 complaints, then Banten with 34, South Sulawesi with 26, West Java with 24, Yogyakarta with 23, East Java with 22 and Central Java with 21.
"We've already found solutions for 9 percent of the complaints and followed up on 77 percent of them. Ten percent of the complaints are still being verified and 4 percent were rejected," Amzulian said.
Following up the complaints have been difficult since many regional governments, ministries and state agencies have no staff to handle them, according to Amzulian.
He said many of them have always been less than responsive when dealing with complaints.
"All government institutions should have a PIC [person in charge] to follow up on public complaints. They have to be more responsive," Amzulian said.