The insistence upon visiting Egypt to do a comparative study of gambling in a Muslim country shown by some members of House of Representatives after the rejection of the plan by the leader of the House proves the insensitiveness of the legislators toward the grave conditions of the Indonesian people.
Spending a whopping US$1.4 million for the seven days of useless visits reflects the mind set of the legislators currently running the legislative body, of "as long as I am a legislator, I will use this opportunity to satisfy my greed". Because, instead of going for these kinds of useless comparative studies, the legislators could have found other means of revenues for the country.
But expecting some huge benefit from legalized gambling in an economically struggling country like Indonesia is a shame. They should have thought of something more essential that can provide more job opportunities to the ever-increasing number of unemployed instead of efforts to legalize gambling. Are there no longer any more legal and better methods of increasing the national revenue apart from gambling?
Besides, it was a point worth considering when legislator Djoko Susilo said that those legislators selected for useful foreign trips should have an adequate understanding of the subject matter first, as well as the medium of communication.
Language barriers, as he plainly said, will only hinder the prospect of achieving benefits from the visits/international conferences attended. Many instances can easily be found when those legislators sent out to undergo comparative studies gained nothing from the visits due to his/her lack of understanding of the subject matter as well as a huge language barrier he/she faced during the visits.
The legislators should understand that they are running the country on public funds and they are accountable to the people. It is hoped that the legislators, as well as other holders of public offices understand their position and their responsibility to the people of Indonesia. Only through better understanding of the roles and position they have can Indonesia move forward to achieve its goals as the third largest democratic nation in the world.
Published in The Jakarta Post, 22 December 2005 (Useless Comparative Studies)
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