PDI-P Official Balks at Fingerprinting
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
In the battle against lawmakers playing hooky, fingerprinting devices are not the appropriate approach, a senior opposition politician said on Saturday.
Tjahjo Kumolo, secretary general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and head of the party at the House of Representatives, said the technology would equate lawmakers with civil servants who have set working hours in Senayan.
Tjahjo said that if the goal really was to bring down the level of absenteeism, it would be better to approach individual lawmakers about the issue.
“Members of the House are also party politicians, not House personnel who have to be there 24 hours a day. Sometimes they also have to do work for the party,” Tjahjo said.
But he said there were several others factors that could be blamed for lawmakers’ absence during plenary meetings.
The first was that the lawmaker in question actually was lazy and unwilling to attend House meetings for no obvious reason.
Secondly, the PDI-P leader said, there was still considerable overlap in tasks being scheduled, such as commission meetings, special commission meetings and work trips abroad.
A third explanation for lawmakers’ absence was that the person had to be given a leave of absence due to sickness or family responsibilities.
“So what is more important [than installing fingerprinting devices] is an integrated approach to the scheduling of meetings,” Tjahjo said.
The lawmaker said he was confident that in most cases there were valid reasons for his colleagues’ absence and most of them never intended to skip meetings.
The fingerprinting project, which has been in the works since last year, gained renewed interest earlier this month after more than 240 out of 560 lawmakers failed to show up for the first day of the new House session.
The House’s Secretariat General said the equipment alone for the project would cost more than Rp 4 billion ($440,000). Installation and data management would increase the cost.