The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is not likely to find a solution to its cramped working quarters any time soon, even as its antigraft docket swells.
After all factions at the House of Representatives said they were opposed to the KPK’s proposal for a new building — objecting on the grounds that it would be too costly and suggesting instead the use of an existing government facility — the government has responded by saying the queue for such facilities is already too long.
Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said there were indeed some unused government buildings, but that the government would give ministries priority in allocating the space.
“Yes, I can ask the director general for state assets about [unused] buildings, but there are many state institutions, including ministries, that have yet to have buildings,” Agus said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
“Because at the ministry level alone, there are many that are interested in using existing buildings. Surely those ministries should be given priority,” he added.
Agus said the possibility that the KPK would be granted one of these unused facilities was thus quite small.
“I cannot tell yet because it is the director general of state assets who can answer this question. But I can say that there is not much hope,” Agus said.
The House announced on Monday that all nine political factions had formally rejected the Rp 166 billion ($17.7 million) budget requested by the KPK to construct a new building and instead asked the antigraft body to make do with an existing unused government facility.
The KPK has been arguing that its existing office in Kuningan, South Jakarta, can no longer house its 700 employees. The KPK also plans to expand its own detention facilities and recruit more staff to handle the many corruption cases it is tasked with investigating.
The public, including tricycle drivers, street vendors, lawmakers and other prominent figures, have thrown their support behind the KPK, gathering money under a “Coin for KPK Building” movement while criticizing the House’s reluctance to approve the budget.