House speaker slammed for celebrating birthday as workers protest fuel price hike outside

Detik News – September 7, 2022
Screenshot of Puan Maharani celebrating her birthday during parliamentary session – September 6, 2022 (Coconuts)

Eva Safitri, Jakarta – The parliamentary watchdog Forum of Concerned Citizens for Indonesia's Parliament (Formappi) has criticised an incident in which the birthday of House of Representatives (DPR) Puan Maharani was celebrated at a parliamentary plenary meeting while workers outside demonstrated against the recent fuel (BBM) price hike.

Formappi researcher Lucius Karus said that the incident was embarrassing.

"I think that the picture of the DPR plenary meeting yesterday showing the celebration of DPR Speaker Puan Maharani's birthday actually confirms the irony of the DPR as the people's representatives. Especially since at the same time as the plenary, in which there was the birthday celebration, at the DPR's entrance gate there was a demonstration by protesters wanting to convey their wishes to the DPR", said Karus in a press release on Wednesday September 7.

"It is truly an embarrassing irony. While the ordinary people are hot and angry fighting against the BBM price hike, the DPR in its cool [air-conditioned] room is instead happily celebrating the DPR speaker's birthday", he continued.

Karus said that the moment showed just how serious DPR member's commitment is as the people's elected representatives. He believes that the moment will be made fun of by the people. According to Karus, Maharani should meet with the ordinary people.

"It was immediately apparent, just how serious the DPR's commitment as the people's representatives really is. The celebration of Puan's birthday at the plenary when people wanted to meet with them, it was as if they were making fun of the people who wanted to convey their aspirations at the DPR's gates. Never mind a commitment to fight for their aspirations, even just respecting the people's presence by meeting with them couldn't even be demonstrated by the DPR", said Karus.

"The DPR speaker should be the DPR's spokesperson for outside parties including the ordinary people, it's like she forgot herself in her happiness accepting congratulations from the members in the plenary. She appeared to be more concerned about her own happiness than meeting with the ordinary people who want to convey their aspirations", continued Karus.

Karus also highlighted the plenary meeting which was used as a venue to celebrate a birthday, saying that a plenary meeting is the highest platform for fighting for the people's future, not to be used for personal affairs.

"On account of forgetting herself, a plenary which is an official DPR forum to deliberate state policy and the people [future] was belittled when it was used as a platform for riotous birthday celebration. A plenary forum should be the highest platform for the DPR to fight for the people's future and should not be occupied with the personal affairs of the DPR speaker. The DPR betrayed the plenary when the forum was instead used for the DPR speaker's private affairs", he said.

Karus said satirically that it is quite natural for the DPR to use a plenary meeting for personal interests since, according to Karus, DPR does not care about the ordinary people.

"To reiterate again, the DPR, which does not represent the ordinary people, apparently doesn't even care about the people. Because those who should have been holding a plenary meeting, instead of immediately responding to the demands of the public who were demonstrating [outside], instead chose to ignore the masses or ordinary people and celebrate the DPR speaker's birthday", he said.

Karus said that the DPR has taken off their mask and revealed their true face. "The DPR has actually taken off their mask. The term 'the people's representatives' is just a guise because even when the people they [are supposed to] represent come to see them, the DPR doesn't care. So is it appropriate to keep using the title the people's representatives?", he asked (eva/maa)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was " Puan Rayakan Ultah Saat DPR Didemo Kenaikan BBM, Formappi: Memalukan!".]