Lenny Tristia Tambun
A Jakarta city councilor has called into question the need for the council speaker’s office to occupy an entire floor of the new Rp 500 billion ($53 million) council building that is nearing completion.
Boy Bernardi Sadikin, a son of former Governor Ali Sadikin, revealed on Thursday that the speaker, Ferrial Sofyan, would have the entire 10th floor of the 22-story building to himself.
His four deputies will occupy the ninth floor, while the eight parties represented at the council will each occupy one of the lower floors.
“You have to ask why there’s such a big difference between this new office building and our current building,” said Boy, from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). “Quite honestly, my colleagues and I are shocked by this.”
He said allocating an entire floor for just one person was wasteful and inefficient.
“It’s even more wasteful when you see the interior decor. It’s so different from the offices for the deputies and the parties,” he said, adding it appeared that it was being furnished according to the speaker’s preference, which includes imported carpets.
“We’ve tried to get clarification from the speaker about the high level of luxury for his office, but he doesn’t respond,” Boy said. “We’re not jealous. We just want to know why it’s being done this way.”
Ferrial, from the ruling Democratic Party, did not respond to the Jakarta Globe’s calls for comment.
The building will serve as the office building for the city’s 94 councilors and their staff.
This is just the latest controversy surrounding the council’s spending on itself. Earlier this year, the councilors came under fire for allocating Rp 180 billion to renovate their existing office building.
The renovations included Rp 80 billion to repair the outer walls and install marble surfaces on some interior walls, and Rp 100 billion to build a bridge linking the building to a neighboring one.
At the time, city councilor S. Andyka demanded an investigation into the budget to look for signs of misappropriations.
He urged the provincial inspectorate and the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) to investigate the matter.
He also urged investigations into council-sanctioned projects already completed, including the renovation of the council’s plenary meeting room, which came at a cost of Rp 18.5 billion.
“Previously the budget for this project was Rp 17 billion, which was already unreasonably high, and then it suddenly went up to Rp 18.5 billion,” he said.