The Jakarta Post
The Communication and Information Technology Ministry is in hot water over budget irregularities in a
Rp 40 trillion (US$4 billion) nationwide information technology (IT) project.
The budget report filed to the House of Representatives featured irregularities such as Rp 3 trillion allocated to Subdistrict Internet Service Provider (PLIK) and Subdistrict Internet Services Vehicles (MPLIK) programs.
More than Rp 20 billion was also assigned to the Indonesia Security Incident Response Team on Internet Infrastructure (ID-SIRTI); and Rp 7 billion to telecommunications and interconnection training.
In the report, which raised concerns from members of House Commission I overseeing information, other dubious projects emerged, including providing communication access to the country's remote and border areas ' including Desa Berdering (Ringing Villages) for land line communication, Desa Pintar (Smart Villages) to provide internet access to disadvantaged villages and the setting up of a WiFi network under a program called WiFi Kabupaten (WiFi in Regencies) as well as a project called Cyber City.
Members of Commission I were fuming over the failure of Communications and Information Technology Ministry's officials to provide specific budget breakdowns during a hearing on Wednesday.
In fact, Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) failed to show up for the hearing.
Lawmaker Evita Nursanty from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lost her temper when the ministry's directorate general of Postal and Informatics division, Syukri Batubara, failed to communicate the basics of ID-SIRTI and the communication access projects.
'Don't play dumb here,' Evita said, responding to Syukri's stutterings about ID-SIRTI's objective to ensure speedy internet connections and provide access of information to remote and border areas.
Responding to the presentation, Evita, who also chairs a working committee to investigate possible irregularities in PLIK and MPLIK programs, called on the House to widen its probe and cooperate with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Other lawmakers threw their weight behind the proposal including fellow PDI-P politician Heri Akhmadi who said 'lawmakers were disappointed with the presentation'.
Lawmaker Muhammad Oheo Sinapoy of the Golkar Party said the ministry had flouted the regulation by carrying out the project themselves instead playing the regulatory role. 'Something is not right,' he said.
During multiple field trips lawmakers found that the project had not been completed, with some areas with computers but without an internet connection.
Currently, Commission I, in collaboration with the Supreme Audit Body (BPK), is investigating the PLIK and MPLIK programs.
The ministry launched the project in 2010, after securing funds from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budgets of 10 telecommunication providers. Under a 2008 ministerial regulation the companies are required to give 1.25 percent of their gross revenue to the Universal Service Obligation, a broad social initiative that aims to provide universal internet access.
The telecommunication providers participating in the program are PT Sims, PT Aplikasi Lintas Arta, PT Jastrindo, PT Telkom, PT Radnet, PT WIN, PT MRM, PT Jogya Digital and PT Aplikasinusa Lintas.
Earlier, Tifatul said in a meeting with Commission I that the government had received Rp 3 trillion from the operators between 2004 to 2010 ' his ministry spent Rp 4.5 billion in 2011 and Rp 99.9 billion in 2012 ' he said the surplus funds were deposited in a number of banks.
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