Editorial: Budgeting terrorism
This is “good news” for terrorists and violent radicals throughout the country: You will be much freer to torment the nation following the government’s decision to axe the budgets of several state bodies, including the National Counterterrosism Agency (BNPT), due to the rising cost of fuel subsidies.
BNPT chairman Insp. Gen. (ret.) Ansyaad Mbai has warned lawmakers on House Commission III overseeing security not to blame his office for being unable to meet its target of winning the antiterrorism war this year following a decision to cut its annual budget by 27 percent to Rp 92 billion (US$ 9.7 million).
Ansyaad clearly and dramatically made his case, knowing very well he would be competing with several other ministries and government agencies whose annual budgets were similarly reduced.
The failure of the government and the House to raise fuel prices will continue to affect other sectors, as the energy subsidy has so far cost the goverment over Rp 130 trillion. The oil subsidy itself has become a dreadful terror for the nation.
There are at least two issues stemming from the government’s budget constraints.
First, its decision to continue subsidizing fuel prices will eventually damage the nation as no one knows when it will stop or how much more the government will have to allocate. The impact of the budget cuts will be so severe that we will have to endure their consequences in the areas of healthcare, social welfare, public order and even national security in the years ahead.
Second, money is just one key requirement in eradicating terrorism. We should not oversimplify the problem. While no one can deny the progress that the nation and the BNPT have made in fighting terrorists since 2009, it is naive to say that our progress is in great danger solely because of “financial constraints”. The issue is much more complicated than money.
Indonesia will remain a fertile ground for criminals and terrorists as long as its law enforcers remain flawed. The corrupt mentality of our law enforcers, civil servants and politicians has become an effective fertilizer for growing terorism in Indonesia.
As long as injustice and inequality are rampant in society, terrorism and other gross violations of human rights will continue to rise.
The Jakarta Post regularly publishes accounts of the violence committed by a number of small groups against anything or any person they dislike. The groups can easily find a pretext to justify their evil acts, which are essentially acts of terrorism. The government has done little to punish these law breakers.
Several surveys also show that Indonesians have become more conservative and intolerant, while the government, including the National Police, has been criticized for its inability to uphold the law against massive criminal acts.
The question is: Is it because the government is too scared
to face the troublemakers? Or is it because many people in the government share the views of the radicals and the violent organizations?
We do sympathize with the BNPT’s complaints over
the budget issue. However, we need to remember:
Terrorism will continue to haunt the nation as long as
its roots remain.