Bloomberg & Anti-Smoking Edict
PP Muhammadiyah, the second largest Moslem organization in Indonesia, dismissed allegation that Bloomberg Initiative's Rp3.6 billion donation has contributed to the issuance of an anti-smoking edict, which triggered a controversy and protest from tobacco farmers. Why Muhammadiyah denied while the project's description is clear: it seeks a fatwa!
"What's wrong with Bloomberg's donation as long as it is for the good of people," Sidibyo Markus, leader of Muhammadiyah defended to Detik.com this morning.
Sudibyo dismissed the allegation of relationship between the edict and the Bloomberg funds. But according to Bloomberg Initiative's website (www.tobaccocontrolgrants.org), the funds provided to Muhammadiyah mainly to "mobilize public support towards obtaining religious policy on tobacco control and to support FCTC accession."
The US$393,234 project described as follows: "The project will seek support from inter-faith groups for tobacco control and FCTC accession. It aims for the Ijma Ulema decision on the banning of smoking to be implemented throughout Indonesia. It seeks: the issuance and dissemination of religious advice (fatwa) on the dangers of tobacco use among Muhammadiyah/Islamic institutions; consensus and advocacy about a religious policy on tobacco use." (Check out the website!)
Bloomberg Initiative had reportedly disbursed US$4.195 million to 14 anti-smoking campaigns in Indonesia. The recipients are mainly educational institutions and NGOs. The biggest fund is to establish Tobacco Control Support Center.
Others are as follows: Demographic Institute, Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia (US$280,755), Directorate of Non-Communicable Disease Control (US$529,819), Indonesian Public Health Association (US$1.03 million), National Commission for Child Protection/Komnas Anak (US$455,911 + US$210,974), Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia (YLKI) and Center for Religious and Community Studies (US$454,480), Bogor City Health Agency (US$228,224), Indonesian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (IFPPD) (US$164,717 + US$28,753) etc.
What's the job description of Demographic Institute of Faculty of Economics at University of Indonesia? Well, according to the US$280,755 project description: To influence the policy-makers in Indonesia for undertaking effective tobacco tax and price policy. This will be achieved through relevant advocacy activities and capacity building for raising tobacco taxes to policy-makers and other stakeholders.
Well, at least we know who's behind these institutions when they talked about something...and at least we know the connection between those behind anti-smoking campaign and the policy makers. There is no free lunch!