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Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Asia

Jakarta councilors to receive lower pay

The Jakarta Post/ANN | Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Newly inaugurated councilors have been challenged to attend City Council meetings regularly and to perform their legislative tasks well, as they will no longer receive meeting allowances.

City Council secretary Mangara Pardede said that the 106 councillors would not receive allowances when attending meetings and plenary sessions, whereas it used to be the custom.

"There used to be a meeting allowance but it does not exist now. They will only receive a monthly salary plus other allowances," Mangara said at the City Council building in Central Jakarta on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the policy had applied since the previous term and was to continue.

In total, each councilor will earn between Rp 30 million (US$2,558) and Rp 45 million per month, depending on his or her position on the council. Council deputy speakers will each earn Rp 45 million per month, higher than the council speaker, who will earn Rp 35 million per month.

This disparity is explained by the fact that the deputy speakers receive a housing allowance while the council speaker is given an official residence on Jl. Imam Bonjol, Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Councilors receive a variety of allowances.

For example, the council speaker earns Rp 3 million in basic salary, Rp 4.35 million in position allowances, Rp 9 million in communication allowances and Rp 18 million in operational allowances.

In addition, deputy speakers earn Rp 20 million in housing allowances, while other council members each earn Rp 15 million.

The councilors' immediate tasks are the processing of the planned resignation of Governor and president-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, the appointment of Deputy Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama as new governor and the election of a new deputy governor.

Council member Ellyzabeth CH Mailoa of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) pointed out, however, that during these first days, each faction was busy with internal meetings.

"We have been busy with internal meetings. We have yet to discuss the position of speaker, deputy speakers or commission leaders. It will depend on the results of faction meetings," she said. A member of the PDI-P, the Jakarta legislative election winner, will assume the council speaker position.

When asked about the lack of meeting allowances, Ellyzabeth said that the PDI-P faction would abide by the policy.

"The policy does not bother us, we will respect it," she insisted, adding that it would not affect the new councilors' motivation to attend meetings.

The City Council has faced heavy criticism over councilors' absenteeism during meetings and plenary sessions, despite the regulation requiring a quorum during crucial sessions.

The newly inaugurated councilors will be charged with several important tasks, including discussing and endorsing draft bylaws on the 2015 city budget; the underground and aerial spatial-planning law; and the reclamation of the north coast, all of which the 2009-2014 council failed to pass.

The newly inaugurated council has come in for criticism from city residents, with many councillors flaunting their opulent lifestyle by arriving in luxurious cars at the inauguration venue on Monday. Bystanders were shocked by the sight of United Development Party (PPP) legislator Abraham "Lulung" Lunggana's green Lamborghini Gallardo and Gerindra Party legislator Muhammad Sanusi's black and purple Jaguar.

The police said on Thursday that they would likely seize Lulung's Lamborghini, as it was not registered with the city police and used a fake police number.

"The car's police number is not registered with us," Adj. Sr. Comr. Indarsono, an official from the traffic police's law enforcement sub-directorate, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. He added that the police were currently investigating the case, and would ask to see the car ownership permits, and, if necessary, question the owner.

"If the documents prove to be invalid then we may confiscate the car," Indarsono said.

Besides being a lawmaker, Lulung is also a senior partner of the law firm Haji Lulung & Associates, which was set up in 2009 to help his debt-collection business. Furthermore, he organises around 90 per cent of businesses in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, and provides security services for shopping centers in several areas in Jakarta.

Lulung said that his car's police number was a temporary one while the car was being registered at the Jakarta Police, as reported by kompas.com.

"Here's the registration letter. There's a signature and a barcode from the police," he said, after he arrived at his office in a black Toyota Fortuner.

Responding to Lulung's original claim that he owned a registration letter, Maulana, who heads the traffic law enforcement at the city police headquarters, said that he had never signed such a letter.

"The [publication of the letter] is not in our data. So it must be a counterfeit. I've never published or signed the letter," he said.

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