Jakarta – Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian has blasted a district head in the province of Riau for making verbal threats against the central government over dissatisfaction with the amount of oil revenue sharing and state funding.
Meranti District Head Muhammad Adil was angry with the funding earmarked for the oil-rich district for 2023, saying it was too small and disproportionate to the district's natural resources.
During a hearing with a Finance Ministry official last week, Adil claimed the central government's allocation for the district budget increased by a mere Rp 700 million while Meranti's oil production surged to nearly 8,000 barrels per day and the global oil price topped $100 per barrel.
"Do we need to take up arms? That won't be possible," Adil said.
He called Finance Ministry officials "Satan" for refusing to accommodate his demand for a significant rise in central government funding and suggested that the district be handed to the "neighboring country", interpreted by local media as Malaysia.
"As a district head, he must speak in an ethical and responsible language in dealing with any issue and show the character of a statesman," Tito said of the district head in a media statement on Monday night.
Home Affairs Ministry Secretary-General Suhajar Diantoro confirmed that the district head has been reprimanded.
"We deplore Adil's inappropriate stance and statement that shouldn't have been shown by someone who holds a public office," Suhajar said.
Yustinus Prastowo, an advisor to the Finance Ministry, said Meranti district will receive Rp 207.7 billion in central government funding in 2023, an increase of nearly 5 percent from the allocation this year.
However, the funding component related to oil revenue sharing was down by 3.5 percent to Rp 115 billion because national oil output also dropped from 2.5 million barrels per day to 1.97 million bpd, Yustinus tweeted.