Public plays budget watchdog
Dewanti A. Wardhani
The Jakarta Post
As the feud between the Jakarta administration and Jakarta City Council over the draft 2015 budget continues to rage, concerned residents have launched a website, KawalAPBD.org, to scrutinize both versions of the draft budget and check for irregularities.
KawalAPBD.org, developed by Indonesian IT experts Pahlevi Fikri Auliya and Ainun Najib, examines the two versions of the Jakarta draft city budget ' one from City Hall and the other from City Council ' and puts them into a more readable format, revealing discrepancies in the two draft budgets along the way. The extra funds in the council's budget have been called dana siluman, or 'sneaky budget' by Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama.
Pahlevi and Ainun are graduates of the Nanyang Technological University's School of Computer Engineering in Singapore.
Ainun, who rose to fame for his creation of kawalpemilu.org, during the legislative and presidential elections, said the idea for the new website first came to him after the Jakarta administration released soft copies of the two draft budgets on its official website, jakarta.go.id.
'It was just a fun project at first. We extracted the data and processed it into an accessible application. We kept improving it until we launched KawalAPBD.org,' Ainun told The Jakarta Post.
Pahlevi said the website was designed to be interactive and user-friendly, allowing netizens to comment on each budget allocation and discuss alternatives. With the website, he and Ainun hoped residents would monitor the draft budgets for themselves.
'We developed KawalAPBD hoping that residents would be proactive in monitoring the budgets [...] thus far, there have been more than 200 comments regarding various allocations,' Pahlevi told the Post over the weekend.
According to KawalAPBD's interactive tree map, of the budget allocations absent in the administration's draft budget, the largest went to Commission E overseeing people's welfare, to the tune of Rp 5.3 trillion (US$405 million). Commission D overseeing development received the second-largest allocation, at Rp 2.9 trillion. All up, the extra allocations amounted to Rp 10.5 trillion of the Rp 73.08 in the draft budget.
Ainun said there were several baffling appropriations in the council's draft budget, including for electronic school management systems (e-SMS). In the councilors' draft budget, there were 92 separate allocations for e-SMS systems for elementary, junior high and senior high schools across Jakarta, ranging between Rp 800 million and Rp 5 billion. Such allocations make no mention of the draft budget, however.
'There are a number of strange allocations. The strangest one for me is the e-SMS allocations, which are multiplied in schools, with Rp 5 billion in funding for each. The IT system is developed and can be 'copied and pasted'. It's strange that you need Rp 5 billion just to copy a system,' Ainun said.
The dispute between Ahok and the council began when councilors said the budget submitted by Ahok to the Home Ministry was illegal, as they had not signed it. Later, councilors sent the ministry their own draft budget.
In KawalAPBD.org, a number of allocations have been earmarked by netizens, including the infamous uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provision. Councilors also proposed procuring 'bilingual English-Mandarin equipment' in 95 schools and 3D printers for schools, among other pledges.
Although they aren't residents of Jakarta, Pahlevi and Ainun said they hoped the initiative would motivate more proactive monitoring of the government. 'We hope that such spirit can be replicated not only in Jakarta but also in other parts of Indonesia,' Pahlevi said
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