Sakti Card Now a Dead Card

Fahri Hamzah
Vice Chairman of the People’s Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “DPR RI”)

IO – “Jokowi’s Sakti Card” which represents failure is still being cited as a new promise. Grandiose but false. In this campaign time, based on my observation, the incumbent’s campaign material about welfare: the incumbent didn’t have a tangible concept for massive people’s welfare development.

For example, when we talk about health. BPJS continues to suffer deficits, which leads to poor health services; this needs a concept to solve this problem. It needs a breakthrough, both in ideas and thought. Not just printing more and more cards!

During Jokowi’s regime, deficits keep mounting, and there’s no political will to solve it. At the beginning there was a deficit of IDR 3.3 T (2014), IDR 5.7 T (2015), IDR 9.7 T (2016), IDR 9.8 T (2017), and IDR 10.98 T (2018), and it’s been forecasted that the deficit will keep mounting to more than IDR 15 T by the end of this year (2019).

When we look at the data, this problem seems to stand alone. The government does not seem to care and various organs blame each other. In these campaign times, the incumbent just taking advantage of downstream problems by sharing cards. The upstream problem is still left unsolved. I think this is bad. Hospitals encounter acute liquidity problems because unpaid claims. Hospital workers are also not getting their rights and are increasingly stressed at work. For the incumbent, it looks as though this is a trivial matter. And the promise to print more and more cards keeps standing out as his campaign material.

I’ll give one more example, which is our education sector. What we need is not a “Kartu Pintar” card policy, extending from elementary school until college. Our education problems are deeply rooted and systemic. We need a grand concept; we need to understand the big picture of the problems.

By printing more cards, it means more projects, more budget, and increasing chances for corruption. We need to learn from history of BOS (School Operational Aid). You can Google it, how many of our educational personnel are involved in the corruption case of this project.

For 4.5 years, the incumbent has failed to see the big picture of our educational problems. By distributing the cards it looks as though the problem would go away. Even though it eventually will add more problems. I have an obligation to warn us all about this!

The core problems of our education sector are our low quality of educational output and the disparity between regions. According to a global valuation, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Indonesia ranks 63 from 72 countries.

This low-quality educational output is just an effect of more fundamental problems in the input and the processing of our educational system; it’s clear that this problem will not be solved by distributing more cards. How very misleading is this advertisement!

At the very least, there are two fundamental problems which have been ignored in this past 4.5 years. Reform in management and investment in education. These two things are the upstream of the problems. Distributing cards is just for the downstream problems. This is not how a state works.

In my belief, a state should be more deeply involved in the matter of education. Not just on a superficial level. The state should be brave in its mission to invest for the future. The development of infrastructure for education should be prioritized more than the development of highway infrastructure. The effect of education is more fundamental for the people.

If we want to go forward with our educational world, what we should build first is not highways, but ruined schools. Broken schools should be fixed. Classroom ratio should be minimized. At this moment, one classroom is filled with 32 students on average, on some cases there’s even a classroom filled with 40 students.

The teacher-student ratio is so big, one teacher teaches more than 32-40 students. The workload is extremely high, but the pay is so little. We heard about honorary teachers being paid IDR 300,000/month. That’s a fact. Those are the teachers who work in remote regions of Indonesia.

The number of teachers is approximately 3.2 million Nationally, half were still K2 honorary. So, half of our teachers live in poverty. Even though they are our heroes. The quality and the future of our children is in their hands.

At the end of Jokowi’s regime, they held a demonstration to demand their rights which are ignored, even though they have fulfilled their duty with care and sincerity. But Jokowi ignored it and even seemed to avoid it.

The duty of teachers is in the classroom, but if teachers are down on the street to plead for their rights, this is a sign of how fragile our educational world is. This is a warning for the state – our future is threatened. Our children are abandoned.

The government ignored this because they claim they no longer have money. The debt is mounting to build so-called highways. Imagine that! They said they don’t have money to fulfill teachers’ rights and now they want to print more cards? This is definitely misleading.

Moreover, in the incumbent campaign material, they want to add Pre-Work Cards and Primary Food discount cards. Sir! Finish the upstream problem first! Don’t just try to build false image that the state is strong and credible to solve any problem.

I have to warn you one more time, this is a matter of the people’s welfare. People’s welfare should not be reduced to cards! This is not a game of dominos! Don’t lie because welfare is deeply rooted. We must stop this immediately!