The central executive board of the ruling Democratic Party is asking its faction at the House of Representatives to toe the party line and support the construction of a new headquarters for the antigraft agency, a party executive said on Wednesday.
“The central executive board wants a budget allotment for the construction of the new KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] building,” party spokesperson Andi Nurpati said at the KPK office on Wednesday, the same day party chairman Anas Urbaningrum appeared for a second round of questioning in relation to the Hambalang graft case.
“The Democrat faction [at the legislature] should be at the forefront of fighting for this until the budget is passed,” she added, but did not say whether any measures would be taken if its lawmakers refused to follow.
The statement comes two days after the House announced that all nine political factions have formally rejected the Rp 166 billion ($17.7 million) budget needed and instead asked the antigraft body to make do with an existing unused government facility.
Andi also added that other factions at the House should follow the Democrat’s example and support the construction of the new building, which has gained widespread public support.
The KPK has been arguing that its existing office in Kuningan, South Jakarta, can no longer house its 700 employees. The KPK also plans to expand its own detention facilities and recruit more staff to handle the many corruption cases it currently handles.
Azis Syamsuddin, deputy chairman of House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, said on Monday that several legislators had expressed their support for the KPK’s plan but added that the parties’ official stances suggested otherwise.
“According to [House] mechanism, each party’s views must be expressed in writing. So as far as the House commission leaders are concerned, the written stances serve as the basis [for the next step],” he said.
The House has been stalling deliberation for the KPK’s budget request since 2008, which activists and analysts believe is an attempt to undermine the KPK’s success in probing corruption cases that involve current and former legislators.
The protracted deliberation process at the House has prompted massive outrage not only from antigraft activists but also from ordinary citizens, who have started collecting money for the KPK project.
On Monday, a woman by the name of Rosalia Indah, from Solo, Central Java, donated iron bars for the KPK. The bars arrived at the KPK office in a truck.
Illian Deta Artasari, an activist with Indonesia Corruption Watch, which is coordinating the drive to support the KPK, said the donor wanted the bars to be used to build jail cells for the new KPK building.
“This is the first of its kind,” Illian said.
The movement has generated Rp 132.5 million in donations as of Monday afternoon, the ICW activist said on her twitter account, @illiandeta.
Although still Rp 165.9 billion short, the drive has become a national movement, with students and activists from across the nation collecting donations and busking on the streets. In Makassar, students even collected bricks for the KPK’s project.
Bambang Widjojanto, a KPK deputy chairman, said his office had not yet decided whether to accept the money.
“The KPK is grateful for the public’s participation,” he said recently. “But [we] have to analyze, and consider government and expert opinions on how to manage public donations.”