Friday, December 16, 2005

Minister Mar'uf scandals

Mar'uf is an Arabic word means good. Someone bears such name was supposed to be good. But it seems home affairs minister Mohammad Mar'uf, a retired leutenant general, is not good enough to bear that.
In my previous article, this guy already spent US$150,000 for ten consecutive days of ads in five newspapers just to tell people that he is good enough as home affairs minister in conducting direct election for local leaders.
Those ads, most likely would continue until the end of this month, are published almost at the same time with public scrutiny over the the minister's decision to quote billions of rupiah from the subsidized kerosenes sold in the last two months (total amount is expected at US$9 million) and huge mark-up of security printing project. Investigation on these scandals is underway.
The first is known here as Gocap (Chinese word means 50, as the minister quotes 50 rupiah per liter of subsidized kerosene) Scandal. The minister argues that the 50 rupiah charge is part of government's effort to finance the supervising activities and to prevent losses in distribution of susidized fuels.
PDI-P, second largest party in the House of Representatives (DPR), asked Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to seriously investigate both scandals and suggested to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to temporarily freeze his authority.
Well, I am not sure SBY would do that considering close relationship between the president and the minister. Both were military leaders and side-by-side during the election last year.
Besides, early this month, Aburizal Bakrie (currently coordinating minister for people's welfare) disclosed the decision to quote Rp50 per liter of kerosene was taken in a cabinet meeting. While minister Mar'uf said the decision was based on proposal from Downstream Oil and Gas Authority (BPH Migas) and state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina. BPH Migas denied. Others follow suit in chorus of denials. Surprisingly, consumers, mainly low-level income households, remain silent on the issue. They are hopeless, I guess, because they have no energy to protest, exhausted by broken promises.

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