Luxury car for State officers: Who can resist?
As of today, about 150 State top officers, including ministers, have been delivered brand new Crown Royal Saloon as their official car. The US$100,000 plus-plus car (because of over 100% luxury tax) is considered too luxury for State officers in a country where most people live with daily expenses of below US$1 per day. Who can resist the luxury item when you know Japanese Emperor is also riding on it?
Thousands of readers posted hate comments about the luxury car reports. But look at how State Secretary Minister Sudi Silalahi defended the policy. "The budget for these cars has been planned and approved," Sudi, one of President SBY's trusted aides said.
Coordinating minister for the economy, Hatta Rajasa, argued the luxury car has been planned by the previous administration. "Don't ask me about that, because this is part of the previous administration's programs. Ask State Secretary," Hatta said.
Well, Hatta was the minister for State Secretary in the previous administration. He was part of the previous administration, for five years. He asked journalists to ask the previous State Secretary minister, who is himself?
Taufik Kiemas, the speaker of People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), can't wait to ride on the new car. "If government provides me with the car, why should I reject. Besides, the car will not be mine. I will use this for the next five years and then return it to the State. Take it as a "loan" from people," Kiemas, husband of former president Megawati said. Hundreds of readers barked at Kiemas for this comment.
Priyo Budi Santoso, deputy House speaker from Golkar Party, responded with BIG SMILE when asked about his impression with the new car to replace his old Camry.
Marzuki Alie, the House speaker from SBY's Demokrat Party, said initially he considered to reject the car. "I thought it would trigger "controversy", which turned out to be true. But the car has been delivered, purchased, what can I do? I will use this new car," Marzuki said.
But not all State institutions would accept the car. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) suggested the State top officers riding Kijang Innova (also a Toyota). Haryono Umar, deputy chairman of KPK said KPK leaders won't take the car.
Syafi'ie Maarif, former chairman of PP Muhammadiyah, the second largest Moslem organization, also suggested officers to ride Kijang instead. "Officers shall not ride on luxury cars. It's just a proof that they are heartless on people's miserable lives," Syafi'ie said.
Anies Baswedan, rector at Paramadina University, said "from budget perspective, the policy might be accountable, but what about people's sense of justice? This is not the right time to ride on luxury cars. What kind of message you want to give to public?" The writer of the article, Inggried Dwi Wedhaswary, wrote "Can our officers have modest style?"