Senators Demand Rp 4.8 Billion for Toilet Renovations, Jakarta - Members of the parliament (DPR) are decrying the Rp 4.8 billion budget proposal (around USD 323 thousand) for toilet renovations. The proposal comes from the Senate (DPD).

Besides for toilets, the Senate also requested Rp 14 billion (around USD 943 thousand) to fix their rooms.

A DPR member said that amount has become a subject of media inquiries.

"There is Rp 14 billion for members' rooms, and then there is Rp 4.8 billion for toilets. These are being attacked by the media, sir," said I Wayan Sudirta, a member of Commission III of DPR.

During the meeting on Thursday with representatives of the Senate, Wayan also demanded elaboration for the Rp 199 billion proposal for various item purchases.

Wayan said he never criticized the DPD before, but this time he could not let it slide.

"Almost four years we are here, only now I am giving a rather sharp input," said Wayan.

He conveyed that he wanted a stronger Senate, but he said it is "not allowed to increase the budget without clear explanation."

However, the Secretary General of DPD, Rahman Hadi, claimed that the budget was originally already approved last year.

"It was already discussed last year in this room. Also it received questions from the Commission III, and then got approval," said Rahman.

Public in Indonesia are usually very sensitive toward budget for the parliament. DPR, in fact, has a lion share of public scrutiny.

Just last year, DPR proposed a Rp 55.4 billion budget (USD 3,7 million) for fixing the lifts. They also asked for Rp 48.7 billion budget (USD 3.2 million) for new curtains.

Last year, DPR also proposed the budget to buy 100 LED TVs for their rooms. But DPR was evasive when the media tried to question the proposal.

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Not Urgent

The Deputy Chair of Commission III, Ahmad Saroni, demanded the toilet renovations budget to simply be crossed out.

"I ask to just cross it out," said Sahroni to the reporters on Friday.

"Because toilets are not actually urgent. The existing toilets can be used. It does not sound good to have toilet renovations for Rp 4.8 billion," he exclaimed.

Sahroni added that it would make more sense for that budget to be used to renovate the houses of the officials.

In Indonesia, DPR is equivalent to the house of representatives in the United States of America. But the political position of DPR is more influential than the senators, unlike in the USA in which senators have strong political power as well.

US senators, for instance, have exclusive powers to confirm the appointments from the president. But in Indonesia, DPR members also have that power. Furthermore, DPR has the power to approve the national budget from the government.

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