Four members of the Elections Commission (KPU) at regency/municipality level object to the government’s decision to reduce the total number of member in regency/municipality KPU into just three. In general, their objection is based on the ground that it is difficult to allocate workload among only three people and they face harsh geographical challenges in local area.
KPU of South Barito, Central Kalimantan
A member of KPU of South Barito, Bahruddin, says the reduction will greatly affect the performance of KPU. This is because members and staffs of KPU in South Barito have to work in five remote areas that can only be reached with water transportation.
“It will be very difficult to do our job properly with only three members as coordinators. We need a whole day to reach one sub-district. Sometimes we have to stay the night in the sub-district due to lack of transportation means,” says Bahruddin.
KPU of Gunung Mas, Central Kalimantan
A member of KPU of Gunung Mas, Yepta H. Jinal, also says the same thing. With total area size of 10,805 km2, or five times larger than the size of Jakarta, it is not an understatement to say that members of KPU of Gunung Mas face a very hard task to organize election in Central Kalimantan.
“Given the fact that we have to cover a very larger area and there is only so much human resources we have in hand, we are very disappointed by the government’s decision to reduce the number of KPU member,” says Yepta.
KPU of Aru Island, Maluku
A member of KPU of Aru Island, Yoseph Sudarso Labok, says that three members is not enough for KPU of Aru Island to perform their job properly, mainly because 90 percent of Aru Island’s territory is consisted of sea/water territory. It is therefore almost impossible for three KPU members to supervise and monitor election process in all 10 sub-districts and 117 villages in Aru Island Province.
“We have to cross the sea with uncertain and, sometime, extreme condition,” says Yoseph.
The Formulation to Determine the Total Number of KPU Member
According to Article 10 paragraph (1) point c, the total member of KPU is determined by the following formula:
Total member = Total population + (size of area x total number of sub-district in that area)
If the result of the calculation is more than five hundred thousand, then the total member of KPU for that area is five. However, if the result is less than five hundred thousand, then the total member of KPU for that area is only three.
For example, KPU of Gunung Mas has total population of 103,855, size of territory of 10.805 km2, and total sub-district of 12. Therefore, 103,855 + (10,805 x 12) = 103,855 + 129,660 = 233,515. The result is less than 500,000, and KPU of Gunung Mas shall only have three members.
The Deputy Director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati, argues that the government should consider the scope of authority of an institution before reforming the structure of the institution, like reducing the number of member. What KPU needed is secretariat improvement. Even if the total number of KPU members was increased, without secretariat improvement there will be no significant improvement in general.
“Many KPU members have expressed their concern. They said, they will have to be prepare physically, mentally, and psychologically, if the government decide to reduce the number of KPU member, because their performance has not been supported enough by KPU secretariat. Improving the secretariat is key in improving the effectiveness of KPU,” says Khirunnisa.