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Jakarta Post

Graft suspected in tobacco bill deliberation

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, June 29, 2013   /  08:49 am

The National Commission on Tobacco Control (KNPT) alleged on Friday that the deliberation of the tobacco bill at the House of Representatives'€™ Legislative Body (Baleg) was tainted by corruption.

Oil baron and member of the KNPT Arifin Panigoro reported the allegation to the Corruption Eradication Commission'€™s (KPK) on Friday.

'€œWe suspect the Legislative Body was involved [in the graft],'€ he told reporters. '€œWe will definitely report anything related to bribery.'€

Arifin declined to single out the members of Baleg suspected of corrupt activities, or amount of bribery money involved.

'€œDon'€™t ask me, I'€™m just reporting [the case to the KPK]. I don'€™t know the details. Ask KPK spokesperson Johan Budi,'€ he said.

Johan declined to disclose many details preferring to only confirm that KPK investigators would be looking into the allegations.

He said the KPK had not summoned any lawmakers for questioning.

Contacted separately, Baleg deputy chairperson Anna Muawanah said the report was baseless and accused the move as being politically-motivated.

'€œI don'€™t think it is right to attack the House every time someone feels their interest was compromised,'€ she told The Jakarta Post.

Anna demanded that the KNPT back up their allegation with real proof.

Besides filing the report the KNPT also lambasted the House'€™s decision to include the draft bill in the 2013 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).

The House argued that the decision to deliberate the bill in 2013 was to improve the welfare of tobacco farmers in the country.

'€œThe Health Law already regulates health issues. As tobacco contains nicotine, which is addictive, a specific regulation [is needed],'€ Anna said.

Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said the House was being pushed by cigarette makers to deliberate the bill to mitigate the effect caused by the Government Regulation (PP) No. 109/2012 on tobacco control.

The regulation, issued by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year, placed tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising. Under the regulation, cigarette makers can still advertise outdoors but adverts cannot be larger than 72 square meters.

Other restrictions include a ban against tobacco adverts alongside main roads. Cigarette brands are not allowed to place ads on the front page of publications and they are not allowed to advertise next to food and beverage adverts. In addition, television adverts may only be aired between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI) also lambasted the bill, saying it was aimed to counteract the law on health by eliminating an article that classed tobacco as an additive.

Responding to Nafsiah'€™s comment, Anna said that she regretted the fact that a minister could make such a statement.

'€œIf she talked like that, then it means that she could not educate the public [on the danger of tobacco],'€ she said. '€œShe should have participated in the bill'€™s deliberation, instead of looking at the matter from one side only.'€

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