Street Vendors to Collect Money for New KPK Building
Rizky Amelia & Ezra Sihite & Antara
While the House of Representative delays discussion over the budget of a new Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building, thousands of street vendors have taken matters into their own hands — and tills.
Vendors will start officially gathering money in donation boxes reading “Coin for KPK” in July, although there have been reports (and pictures) of eager vendors already on the fundraising path.
The board of Indonesian Street Vendors Union (PPKLI) said that at least 54 million of their members will join the movement in the KPK’s bid to build a new facility.
“As Indonesian citizens, we have the pure intention to help with the construction of the KPK building,” Junaedi Sitorus, secretary general of PPKLI, said on Tuesday. “We don’t know politics, but as ordinary people, we support the KPK to eradicate corruption.”
The KPK requested a new building four years ago with a price tag of Rp 166 billion ($ 17.5 million). The KPK’s current building is 31 years old, and too small to house the 650 employees and infrastructure needed in the full time battle against corruption; the building was meant to accommodate 350 people.
House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, delayed the KPK’s request four years ago, and suggested the commission ask the government for an unused building.
House Commission Head and Democratic Party member Gede Pasek Suardika said that although his party approved the KPK’s request for a new facility, other factions at the House rejected it.
Gede added that several other state institutions have requested budgets for new buildings, including the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK), the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and the National Commission on Human Rights.
“We treat them all in the same way,” Gede said. “There should not be special treatment [for the KPK]. We will discuss it all together.”
Gede said that the National Commission on Human Rights had found a building confiscated in the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance scandal which cost Rp 900 million. BNPT requested Rp 90 billion for its new building.
The KPK’s building budget was discussed in 2008, but was delayed indefinitely. The KPK, Gede said, should not insist on instant approval, especially given the other institutions in line for buildings.
Besides the legions of street vendors, a swath of public and private citizens have vocalized their support, including House deputy speaker Pramono Anung, activists from Indonesian Corruption Watch, Transparency International Indonesia (TII), religious figures and judges.
Bambang Widjojanto, deputy chairman of the KPK, said that his organization had not yet decided whether to accept the money or not.
“The KPK is grateful for the participation of public,” he said. “But [we] have to analyze, and consider government and expert opinions on how to manage public donations.”