Activists are sounding the alarm over a $4.7 million electronic ID card program being championed by the police, calling it a massive waste of money that overlaps with a similar e-card program launched by the government.
Two respected groups, Indonesia Police Watch and the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra) have demanded that the National Police drop the Rp 43.2 billion Indonesia Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (Inafis) project.
“The IPW urges the National Police chief to cancel the Inafis project,” the group’s chairman, Netta S. Pane, said on Sunday.
He said the project was unnecessary, inefficient and lacking in transparency, opening the door to corruption.
Uchok Sky Khadafi, coordinator for investigations and advocacy at Fitra, said the project was a waste of money.
“Once again the state budget is being wasted,” he said.
They were also critical of the police for their plan to force the use of the card and tying it to other police documents.
“Those without an Inafis card, for example, would not be able to get a driver’s license even though there is no legal basis for the use of the card in the process of applying for a driver’s license,” Netta said.
He said the same data that would be included on the Inafis card would already be contained in the e-KTP, the electronic identity card pushed by the government, as well as in the driver’s license and passport systems.
“The inclusion of a bank account number on the Inafis card also has no legal basis,” Netta said. “The police cannot force someone to put his bank account number on the card.”
The watchdog chairman also worried that the Rp 43.2 billion project was conceived and was being carried out largely out of public view, raising the possibility of corruption.
“The first phase of the project [worth Rp 500 million] has already been awarded to someone. The other Rp 42 billion will have a winner on May 15,” Netta said, adding that nothing had been revealed about the tender or the process by which the contracts were awarded.
He called on the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to look into the project and see if any money had been siphoned off.
Uchok said that even if the project were continued, the card should be free. Police are planning to charge people Rp 35,000 to make a card.
“This is a public service. People should not have to pay for the card,” he said.
He said even the government’s e-KTP project, launched long before the police card, was far from being completed and its effectiveness was still unproven.
“We don’t even know the effectiveness of the e-KTP,” he said. “If the e-KTP turns out to be effective, then we can begin to look at this Inafis card again.”
Home Affairs Ministry spokesman Reydonnyzar Moenoek came to the defense of the Inafis card on Sunday, saying it was complementary to the e-KTP that is currently being worked on by the ministry.
He said the two cards were different, with the police card being primarily geared toward preventing crime. “We will coordinate and we will sit down together in the future,” he said.
Reydonnizar said the e-KTP project would be finished in April, even though it has already been announced that the deadline is being pushed back again.
The e-KTP program has been beset by problems that have resulted in repeated delays.
With the end of April deadline unlikely for the completion of the program, the authorities said they were now looking at October, according to Jakarta’s population and civil registry office. This is the second time it has been extended.