July 24, 2024

Stop Election Supervisory Body’s (Bawaslu) Cry

First batch of 2015 simultaneous regional election are completed with some loopholes. Thorough and systematic improvements are immediately needed for a better work. Next stages of simultaneous elections are in front of the sight. This is the time to close any loopholes that weaken the election watchdog.

Election Supervisory Body in Indonesia is called Bawaslu. Bawaslu RI is in the national capital and Province Bawaslu is in province capital. Bawaslu differs from General Election Commission (KPU) which “is said” to be permanent to district/city structure. During monitoring process of the elections, Bawaslu is only assisted by regency/city. They are called Election Oversight Committee, or Panwaslu.

Treating Panwaslu like a stepchild

Panwaslu is clearly treated like a stepchild in democracy and sovereignty thingking frame. How can we talk about justice and law enforcement if the device used to set the legislation product is only mandated to “committees”? This means that the prestige of supervisory agency loses to the Election Commission. Committee is ad hoc, and is formed if there is a need and disbanded after the tasks end. It is funny that a committee which serves as an EO should carry great mandate which has to guarantee that all electoral principles are carried.

Regency/City Panwaslu is assisted by a small committee at the district level, called Sub-District Oversight Committee (panwascam). Panwaslu and Panwascam are equally led, managed and run by three leaders/commissioners. KPU officials and Panwas amount differs between 5 to 3 people. We were never serious in instituting election supervisors and tend to underestimate the membership.

Cries of election supervisors are evident from the attention of the local government. The author would like to know which one is better in their building, KPU or Panwaslu. It is evident that local government buildings which cater organizers prioritize KPU than Panwaslu. In fact, government is required to give examples of agency equality. However, reality shows that the government itself does not concern over the use of offices for strengthening the democracy.

Local government / local administration, also provides operational vehicles in helping election organizers work. The problem is operational vehicles in form of cars and motorcycles do not guarantee a more comfortable, safe and secure official travel. Commissioners need to set aside their little honorarium money to improve their means of transportation.

On the other hand, KPU and Bawaslu do not get uniformity and equality in fair funding. It is true that KPU and Panwaslu have a different job, but let*s not close our eyes that supervisory budget is very far from KPU despite their real work. It is not exacerbated by money disbursement difficulties that are rightfully belong to Panwaslu. From the information gathered, staffs and Panwascam need to tighten their belts as their honorarium is always late.

The delays of the disbursement are a dilemma for the author. Question arises, how can Panwascam*s funds be late? Are the money problems relevant to “the payment date” of the civil servants?

Logically, budget of general election and regional election monitoring originated from the understanding between Panwas and regency/city/provincial government. This understanding product is then submitted to Parliament for approval to be included in Regional Budget (APBD) or Regional Revised Budget (APBD-P). After that, APBD is submitted to the Central Government to obtain funds and disbursements.

The author considers that there is no problem of budgeting until the receipt of honorarium. However, there is always audible “scream” from the supervisor in their sincerity rooms waiting for the honorarium. That little money should be saved and it*s always late. Is this private money? No. it*s people*s money managed by the government to ensure the survival of democracy in terms of supervision. It is not right and appropriate to “slowdown” the funds for supervisors.

Revised Election Law

Accordingly, we should revise Law No. 15 of 2011 on election. This purpose should accommodate “reinforcement” for election watchdog agency. First, Bawaslu should be in the same position as KPU as institutions. Article 69 paragraph (1), (2), and (3) should drop the word committe and ad hoc. Make the structure permanent to district and municipal levels. Names should be changed from Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) to Regency/City Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu).

Second, results of the similarities between years of service and institution require equalization in the governance of the organization. If Provincial KPU, Regency KPU, Sub-District Election Committee (PPK), Village/Ward Voting Committee (PPS) to Poll workers (KPPS) members are up to five people, then the commissioners should be in the same personnel, Amendment to Article 72 paragraph (2) letter (b), (c) and (d), Bawaslu from the Province to the polling station supervisor must consist of 5 people. This is a liability when it puts forward the principle of “Social Justice (Institution) For All Indonesian People”.

Third, this institution would have to be supported by the government based on revised Presidential Decree which corresponds to the mandate of Article 108 of Law 15/2011. Work experience for decades should be seen and appreciated. Local government shall make the office more spacious, comfortable, and fulfilled in the completeness of office facilities. There must be no floods in the office due to a leak when rain occurs.

In addition, looking at the seriousness and urgency of election organizer transportation, strengthening Article 126, 127 and 128 of Law 15/2011 needs to cater the urgency of election organizer transportation. Regional governments should draw all damaged operational vehicles and replace them with new ones. If you want to be economical, the vehicle can be fixed in advance. Does local government fund not have the authority to purchase, maintain and take care of all the goods they bought to carry out government*s work?

Fourth, encourage the spirit of the guarantee fund of election organizer because it hasn*t been unkown that during local elections even since the process phase takes place. Future elections were predictable and calculated. Learning from the experience, then budgeting can be put to any discussion of budget. Therefore, it will not happen that election organizations need to tighten their belt.

If we know that the stages of the elections occurs once in five years. Isn*t too dumb that we discuss the funding of the organizers? Wasn*t budget implementation dilemma impressed as a tool/political weapon? Government and Regional Parliament should accept the entire budgeting and seek acceleration of the disbursement of funds.

Lastly, the author wants to remind us all at the end of a sentence in the first paragraph explanation of Act No. 15 of 2011. The sentence reads “… Weak election organizers may potentially hamper the realization of qualified election”. This means that the Act was only created in wishful thinking without realization based on optimism. []


Executive Board of HMI, KIPP and PBHI West Sumatra

Translated by SL