One of hottest topics in the Indonesian news media today is the controversy over the costly official trips made by members of the House of Representatives to foreign countries for comparative studies on the implementation of various laws.
Please find below an article about this that I have quoted from The Jakarta Globe.
Considering that Indonesia still needs a lot of money for improving education, health and eradicating poverty, I wonder whether such study is necessary at this time. Especially nowadays one can connect with each other fast, easy and less costly through various telecommunication networks .
Legislators Leave for British Trip Despite Outcry
Jakarta. Despite mounting criticism, the House of Representatives’ Commission III is sticking with its decision to send legislators to Britain and Canada for a comparative study on an immigration bill.
Commission chairman Benny K Harman said on Monday that the study was important to ensure the quality of the bill.
However, the Democratic Party legislator left it to the press and the media to evaluate the output from the trip. “Whether they do their jobs there, that’s [the media’s] job to determine,” he said, urging the public to scrutinize what the legislators did after the trip.
Benny said delegation leaders would later submit a report to Commission III, which oversees legal affairs. “This will be open for the public to review,” he said, adding the commission was ready to disclose any request for information relating to the trips.
“We will invite the media to learn more about the trip once they return,” he said. “Even though we approved the visit, we ask the public to critique the legislators involved.”
The commission will send two delegations, each including 10 legislators and three staffers, to Britain and Canada.
The group heading to London will be led by commission deputy chairman Azis Syamsuddin from Golkar. It leaves today.
The other group, led by fellow deputy chairman Tjatur Sapto Edy, from the National Mandate Party (PAN), is scheduled to depart on Oct. 1.
“The commission believes that Britain and Canada have modern immigration systems,” Benny said.
Legislators will study the two countries’ handling of citizens’ mobility, especially for foreigners married to Indonesians, the granting of permanent residency and handling of foreign workers.
A document obtained from the commission’s secretariat shows the legislators arrive in London on Wednesday morning local time and spend the day meeting embassy officials and Indonesians living in London.
On Thursday, the legislators are scheduled to visit the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, while on Friday they will visit the United Kingdom Border Agency. The trip ends on Saturday at noon.
The Kompas.com Web site said the delegation would be staying at the Marriott Hotel. Benny did not specify how much the trips would cost but said that did not matter because “if you want a good-quality legislature, it’s expensive.”
The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra) released a report on Sunday that showed Rp 19.5 trillion ($2.16 billion) had been allocated for official domestic and overseas trips this year.
The amount is shared between the president, the House of Representatives, ministries and other state institutions.
Fitra said Rp 170.3 billion had been allocated to the House for overseas trips, while the president got Rp 179 billion for official visits abroad.
Two House commissions recently sent delegations to five different countries at a total cost of Rp 3.7 billion.
House Commission X, overseeing education, sent its working committee on the Scouts bill to Japan, South Korea and South Africa.
Meanwhile, House Commission IV, overseeing agriculture, sent a delegation working on the horticulture bill to the Netherlands and Norway.