President Joko Widodo has always been perceived by the public as a loyal cadre of his political party, PDI-P, and its leader, Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri. But that loyalty is being put under public scrutiny over Jokowi’s decision to put the former president on a lucrative payroll.
Recently, Jokowi signed a Perpres (Presidential Decree) approving financial compensation for leaders and members of the Agency for Pancasila Ideology Education (BPIP), an ad hoc group formed in February tasked with helping the president to promote Pancasila’s values throughout the country.
As per Jokowi’s Perpres, Megawati, who chairs the BPIP’s Advisory Board, shall receive a monthly salary of IDR112,548,000 for leading the board.
To put that in perspective, Megawati’s position at BPIP earns her more than Jokowi himself, who gets paid IDR62,740,030, after benefits, per month. Furthermore, the other members of the BPIP Advisory Board — who include some of the the country’s most prominent political and religious figures including Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Chairman Ma’ruf Amin, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) leader Said Aqil Siradj, and former Constitutional Court Head Judge Mahfud M.D. — also earn more than Jokowi for their work on the board, each drawing salaries of IDR100,800,000 per month.
These whopping figures have not gone unnoticed. For one, Corruption watchdog Indonesian Anti-Corruption Community (MAKI) is planning to take legal action against the Perpres.
“MAKI will sue to annul the BPIP Financial Compensation Perpres by filing for a judicial review at the Supreme Court,” said MAKI Coordinator Boyamin Saiman as quoted by Suara today.
Boyamin said he believes Megawati and others on the advisory board do not need such exorbitant paychecks.
“For the advisory board, they should be volunteers,” he said.
Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon, who is also the deputy chairman for opposition party Gerindra, lambasted the Perpres for being wasteful.
“In the middle of a worrisome national economy, the government chose to waste money on an ad hoc body,” he said, as quoted by Detik today.
Other parties, including the Democratic Party, have called on Jokowi to explain and justify the Perpres. The president has not yet made a statement at this time.