Lawmakers, Central Government Agree on More Seats at Parliament

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 , 09:00:00 WIB - Politics

An Elections Bill meeting is seen taking place at the Parliament in Jakarta, Wednesday (24/5).

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS –.The government and the House of Representatives (DPR) are in agreement that there should be more seats at House of Representatives, the People’s Legislative Council (MPR) and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).

However, they are still in disagreement regarding the number of extra seats needed.
Lawmakers want House of Representative seats to be raised from 560 to 679 seats while the central government views that 565 seats would be enough.

United Development Party (PPP) faction member Amirul Tamim argues that the number needs to be raised to 579 seats, so that the composition can be proportional for each province.

"[The question is] has there been balance between the number of DPR members while representation [of the public of each province] has been concentrated on one point (or province, red)? We have agreed 579 so that it is fair," Tamim said.

PPP Secretary General, Achmad Baidowi, added that Indonesia’s population is growing and new provinces are being created.

"The additional DPR seats will be allocated for the provinces who have not been represented well, so there has been disparity in representation," he said, Monday (29/5).

Rambe Kamarul Zaman from the Golkar faction agrees. I agree that we should add 19 seats," he said.
Ahman Riza Patria from the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) party even said he is even willing to see his salary cut, so that the increase can be realized.

"I think the 560 lawmakers would be willing to have their salary slashed for the sake of adding 19 new members," he said, Monday (29/5).

According to him, the 19 seats would be allocated for Riau, West Kalimantan, Papua and Lampung. Each province would receive additional 2 seats. Meanwhile, North Sumatera, Kepri, Jakarta, West Java, Southeast Sulawesi, Jambi, West Nusa Tenggara and South Sumatera would get 1 additional seat. Southeast Kalimantan would receive 3 additional seats. "This is a temporary calculation, we will review the numbers later," Riza said.

Meanwhile, the central government says the number should only be raised to 579 seats, especially over the budget constraint.

"[The budget constraint] is an issue. The government is suggesting 5 additional seats," said Yuswandi A Temenggung, Secretary General, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Jakarta, Monday (29/5).

Yuswandi claims the government has performed a simulation to see the effects of adding 19 extra eats. The conclusion: it isn’t realistic.

Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) and other non-governmental organizations (NGO) are against the plan as it would only burden the government’s budget.

"First, population number should not be the only reason to introduce more seats at the House of Representatives. If we look in other nations, for instance, in the US where the population is higher than Indonesia, the parliament seats has never been increased. This is because they country does not use population number as an excuse [to increase the number of parliamentary seats]," said Heroik Pratama, a researcher at the Elections and Democracy Group (Perludem), in discussion at ICW’s office in Jakarta, Monday (29/5).

He says lawmakers should focus on reallocating the seats.

"For example, the population in Java is 43 million. If we calculate based on population number, the province should receive 100 seats at the DPR. At the House, the province only received 91 seats. Sulawesi should only be represented by 19 seats, but got up to 24 seats. Therefore, if we talk about proportion and equality, such disparity must be dealt with. No addition is needed, reallocate the seats instead," he said. (dtc)