Lawmakers on a boat tour in Copenhagen
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A group of lawmakers on an official trip to Denmark were photographed having a boat tour along a Copenhagen Canal in the Scandinavian city.
Photos of the lawmakers aboard the boat were circulated on the Internet on Friday.
The lawmakers are part of the group on an official visit to Denmark and Turkey in their efforts to study the Red Cross and Red Crescent logos in both countries.
The photos sent by an Indonesian living in Denmark seemingly confirmed public assumptions at home that lawmakers’ foreign trip is not worth the taxpayers money they are spending.
An Indonesian residing in Denmark was reported to have accidentally seen the 10 lawmakers and their personal assistants on a boat touring the Copenhagen Canal on Thursday at around 2 p.m. local time, took their picture, and sent it to Indonesian online media.
The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA) recorded that the House has wasted Rp 1.3 billion (US$135,804) on both trips — Rp 660 million for the Denmark trip and Rp 636 million for the Turkey trip.
Previously, the House had spent Rp 1.6 billion for a trip to Brazil to research village administration; and another Rp 4 billion on a junket to the United States, England, and Spain to research the defense industry.
Following mounting criticism against the House’s overseas trips for lack of accountability, the Prosperous Justice Party’s (PKS) faction has proposed the House temporarily take a moratorium on overseas junkets to allow House’s leaders, as well as the House’s Ethics Council to evaluate all previous escapades.
Other party factions have followed suit, saying that even though they had always been very careful in appointing representatives for overseas working visits, a moratorium would give an opportunity for improvement.
“We support the idea of the moratorium because we are committed to improve our performance as lawmakers,” Democratic Party faction leader Nurhayati Ali Assegaf said Friday.
Meanwhile, civil groups promoting transparency within the House supported working visits as long as they were accountable.
“The House has never announced any plans for trips, nor has it reported to the public the results of such visits. Lawmakers are obliged to do so because they are using taxpayers’ money for the trips. People deserve to know how their money is used and how can they benefit from the spending,” FITRA coordinator Ucok Sky Khadafi said.