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Jakarta Post

Your letters: House speaker'€™s unethical move

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Wed, September 9, 2015   /  08:27 am

Recently the world saw two Indonesian House of Representatives leaders at a Donald Trump campaign event in New York. Everyone wondered what the main purpose of their attending the event was. Was it really a '€œcoincidence'€ as Home Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon has repeatedly stated? I don'€™t think so. It was a very unethical move by a legislative leader.

Putting aside why they were at the event, the next main issue in this case that should be scrutinized is why these leaders of the House were in New York in the first place. According to them, they were there to attend the IPU (Inter Parliamentary Union) Conference which is an international event for parliament any leaders.

Fine. Let'€™s move to the most important question, how much money did they spend in New York? Was it transparent for the public to see? Apparently not, and it was expensive.

According to Forum for Budget Transparency, the estimated costs are listed as follows:

1. US$14,428 for a one-way flight ticket per person

2. $527 daily allowance per person

3. $1,312 hotel price for a night

The number of House members who went there (including some House staff) was 21. Calculate it, and you'€™ll get more than $300,000 or in the ballpark of Rp 4.7 billion (of course that amount is increasing daily). This of course begs the question, why so much? I believe I don'€™t have to answer that because if there is one activity that all House members share in common and apparently are very good at, it is wasting the people'€™s money on themselves.

Why ungrateful? For they have wasted so much money that could be used to repair the roofs of lots of schools on different islands, provide sanitation to those who don'€™t have access to it, provide better health-care services for those in need.

Instead, Setya posed for a picture with Trump wearing a $140,000 watch, staying in a hotel room that cost more than a thousand for a night and flying in business or first class.

They have all stated that they work for the people, instead they have stabbed the people repeatedly from behind. Not to mention their pending projects that will see their buildings renovated with a ridiculously huge amount of money; over Rp 2 trillion.

These House leaders are indeed ungrateful, for the people have given them so much yet they have given nothing back in return.


That revolting picture of a bellowing Donald Trump amicably laying his hand on the shoulder of an inanely smirking House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto has, no doubt, made a great number of rational and well-brought-up Indonesians lose any enthusiasm for taking pleasure in this past weekend.

They might even have lost any appetite for enjoying their food, after reading at length about Setya fawning behavior toward Trump.

If what Kompas TV reported is really true, namely that Setya, Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon and others in his entourage also took selfies with Trump, and appeared full of pride to be seen in his presence, then they are very unworthy, and yes, contemptible representatives of all of us Indonesians.

Now that those who call themselves our '€œrepresentatives'€ act in this disgraceful and indecorous way, without any comprehension of what ethics really are, and without any knowledge about the correct and appropriate way to uphold Indonesia'€™s honor, especially when meeting despised foreign politicians such
as Trump, all decent Indonesians have to hang their heads in abject shame.

Tami Koestomo

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