The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama has dismissed claims he is using the city budget to improve his popularity prior to the Jakarta gubernatorial election next year.
Senior Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Hidayat Nur Wahid said on Wednesday that the governor had spent a significant amount of city funds on his campaign.
“You journalists can see, a lot of funds were not spent [last year], but now, many programs are being overstated,” Hidayat said on Wednesday, adding that Jakarta was not the only region that had only spent a portion of its budget last year.
Ahok said Hidayat’s statement constituted slander, as he had never wasted funds from the city administration, but instead, had anticipated any possible misuse of funds when drafting the city budget late last year.
The governor said he even reduced the budget allocation to finance education assistance for students from low-income families through the Jakarta Smart Card (KJO) program this year.
"The number of KJP recipients is smaller than last year. It's because I cut the budget for the thieves. Is that a part of my campaign?" Ahok said on Thursday, adding that he had also cut funding for scholarships because funds were frequently misused.
Ahok added that his administration had also dissolved a loan program for small and medium enterprises due to unsatisfactory outcomes.
Ahok also stressed that the many child friendly integrated parks (RPTRA) that were built last year were paid for by private companies under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, and not the city budget.
However, he acknowledged that his administration would build another 150 RPTRA that would be financed by the city budget. He also revealed that some projects in the pipeline, such as the construction of a hospital and Transjakarta bus corridor, as well as procurement of dump trucks and heavy equipment, would be funded by the city budget.
He also returned fire at PKS, claiming that the party was afraid to compete against him in the upcoming gubernatorial election. (bbn)
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