The Jakarta Post
Once again the spotlight is on the House of Representatives for its grandiose plan to build the largest library in Southeast Asia in the legislative complex in Central Jakarta. The design is said to imitate that of the US Library of Congress.
House Speaker Ade Komarudin revealed the plan on Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with noted intellectuals, including poet Nirwan Dewanto, writer Nirwan Ahmad Arsuka, Rizal Mallarangeng, Ulil Abshar Abdala and Nong Darol Mahmada.
All of them are organizers and on the management board of the Freedom Institute Library under Bakrie Group, a diversified business group owned by Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie.
Ade said the library would be world class and that the design had been inspired by the US Library of Congress, which holds 36 million books, and is expected to beat Singapore's National Library, currently the largest in Southeast Asia.
'However, it will not be as luxurious as the Library of Congress, because in fact we can't afford it,' said the Golkar politician, who is preparing to compete for the party chairmanship in its national congress in May.
The planned library will increase people's interest in reading and create more qualified and competent generations, Ade said.
'It will also improve the quality of House members. All this time we have focused on developing physical infrastructure, but we also need to develop human resources infrastructure,' he said.
The House is set to use Rp 670 billion (US$50.8 million) from this year's budget for new legislative buildings, but the speaker will discuss the library with the House's deputy chairmen and the Ways and Means Committee (BURT).
Rizal said the planned library would be managed by a board of executive officers comprising recognized intellectuals who would be selected by the House and the President.
Meanwhile, writer Ignas Kleden, who also attended the meeting, claimed that the library was urgently needed as the legislators should have an environment that supported their development.
He urged the House to immediately start planning the library, arguing that it would not be difficult to realize. 'Singapore's National Library has 500,000 books, so we only need to provide 550,000 to 600,000 to be the largest in Southeast Asia,' he said.
To avoid a lack of funds to construct the library, Ade said the public should support the deliberation of the tax amnesty bill.
'Therefore, we have to make the deliberation run smoothly. After that we will just need to modify the arrangement for the use of the funds,' Ade said.
Revision of the tax amnesty bill is at the initiative of the Golkar Party and currently under deliberation by the House's Legislative Body (Baleg).
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