Malang – Dozens of protesters from the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) held a demonstration yesterday criticising government policy in the East Java city of Malang. It was not just the policies of the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that were criticised, but also the polices of Mayor Peni Suparto. This was specifically in relation to healthcare and education policies that they said still do not support the interests of ordinary people.
The demonstration was held in front of the Malang Regional House of Representatives building to coincide with the handing over of a regional budget report from the executive to the legislative. “We are asking that in the discussions of the regional budget, the assembly members and the executive truly think about the people. The budgetary funds must not be wasted”, said the chairperson of Papernas’ Malang City Board of Directors, Tino Rahardian.
The protesters also hoped that Suparto’s promise to create affordable or free education would soon become a reality, this also includes improving public healthcare survives. According to Rahardian, the Malang municipal government is always screaming about the high costs of education and the poor quality of healthcare services. “Unfortunately, the municipal government never response to the cries of the people. Instead, illegal fees are rampant”, he added.
The other irony added Rahardian is that the large budget has been ineffective in providing affordable education to the public. The reason being that the funds miss their target or are not effective enough. For example, much of the budget is allocated to ceremonial activities, a number of which have been quite fantastic. For a school healthcare unit program for example, around 1.6 billion rupiah was allocated while for a program for street children 1.38 billion was allocated. “But the results came to nothing. For example, these program have still to be successful and tend to waste money”, he explained.
Because of this therefore, Papernas believes that Suparto has failed in providing public services for the people. And this failure has a similarity with the failure of the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (SBY-JK) in attempting to overcome the problems of education and healthcare in Indonesia. “This is because SBY-JK and Peni have the same concept, that is becoming neoliberal agents. So education and healthcare are turned into a commercial commodity”, said Rahardian. (fir)
[Translated by James Balowski.]