Councilors from Jember regency, East Java, have demanded an explanation on the alleged use of regional budget funds for the wedding of celebrity couple Anang Hermansyah and Ashanty Siddik.
The Jember administration disbursed Rp 10 billion (US$1.06 million) for the 2012 Jember Visit Month (BBJ), for which one of the events was the Ngunduh Mantu (wedding ceremony held by the groom’s family) of famed singer-songwriter Anang and his wife Ashanty.
The ceremony was held in the pendopo (traditional Javanese house) of the Jember regent on Friday.
“Why did the Ngunduh Mantu have to be conducted at the pendopo, a place that represents the Jember regency, despite the fact that Anang has no relationship to the [Jember] regent? It means that all residents can hold family events there,” said one of the councilors, Ayub Junaidi, on Friday, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
Junaidi was also certain that the event used money from Jember’s regional budget.
“The event unquestionably used the regional budget to pay for cakes, electricity and water at the pendopo,” said the National Awakening Party (PKB) politician.
Another councilor, M Jufriyadi, said he was afraid that such a privilege would make other residents envious.
“If I make a proposal to hold a khitanan [circumcision ceremony] at the pendopo, would that be allowed?” he questioned satirically.
Jember Regent MZA Djalal reasoned that the celebrity’s wedding ceremony was an effective way to promote Jember on a national, or even, international stage. Therefore, he allowed the event to be held at the pendopo.
One of Anang’s relatives, Arum Sabil, denied that the event used funds from the regional budget.
“Right from the start, we didn’t want to use the regional budget. Anang and Ashanty’s intention to come to Jember was to help, not to burden. From the first day they arrived here, all their expenses were covered by Anang’s family,” he said Thursday as quoted by kapanlagi.com.
Anang’s presence was aimed to boost tourism in his hometown, Sabil added. (yps/iwa)