MAJALAH TEMPO (Tempo Weekly News Magazine)

No. 10/VII/Nov 07 - 13, 2006


Aceh Today

Local Printing Concerns

THE results of prequalification for logistics procurement for the Aceh regional government heads election (Pilkada) were announced by the Independent Elections Commission (KIP) last week. Of the 58 companies applying for the logistics procurement, only 25 companies passed the qualification upon screening and were thus considered acceptable. Therefore, some circles, particularly the local printing houses, expressed a public outcry, because none of the local printing houses were viewed as meeting the prequalification standards as set by the committee in the procurement of ballots and voter cards—a project with the highest value.

The reason for not meeting the prequalification standards angered many people in Aceh. Local entrepreneurs were disappointed with KIP’s decision that was viewed as denying the existence and the capability of Aceh’s local printing houses.

The prequalification announcement gave an opportunity to large printing houses from outside Aceh. Local printing houses were not given the chance to participate in the project. In other words, local businessmen were given only the share of small-value packages.

Naturally, some circles put forward the accusation that there was collusion between Aceh’s KIP and companies from outside Aceh, specifically printing houses in Jakarta. Moreover, Government Regulation No. 6/2005 concerning the election, ratification, appointment and dismissal of regional heads and their deputies under Article 72, section 2, stipulates that ballots are to be procured in the electorate by prioritizing printing capacity in accordance with the need for ballots with quality printing.

Adhering to that government regulation, local printing houses strongly protested KIP’s decision. Many expected KIP to review its decision, and allow access to local entrepreneurs for participation and creative work to make a success of the Pilkada. In fact, in an activity from and for the public, regional resources should be utilized and empowered as optimally as possible. The Elections Commission should have understood the conditions of the Aceh people who have thus far been subjected to much disappointment.

In addition, KIP requires printing houses to possess security paper, whereas even Government Regulation No. 6/2005, Article 73, sections 1, 2 and 3 does not state the requirement for security paper. The condition only stipulates that while the ballot printing is underway, the company concerned is required to print ballot papers in the numbers set by the Regional General Elections Commission (KPUD)/KIP and that it is required to guard the confidentiality, security and safety of the ballots.

Accusations of prejudices and collusion against KIP were denied by the head of the Aceh KIP Logistics Procurement Committee, M. Yusuf Husin. “Based on various considerations, the Committee decided that only the companies outside of Aceh were felt capable of printing ballots and voter cards for the Aceh Pilkada,” Husin said last week. Because, based on the results of the prequalification of a number of local companies, none of the local companies were judged as being capable of handling the project.

Apparently KIP had been extra careful in handling the procurement and printing of ballots. KIP planned to have 2,635,625 ballots printed for 2,553,000 voters and 2.5 percent spare ballots. Voters throughout Aceh total 2,555,939. This number continued to be updated until the November 8 deadline for voter registration. The ballots will be printed by one printing house. It seems that KIP did not want to take risks. “This is not a matter of sharing money, but this is a political project that must be successful,” said Aceh KIP Chairman M. Jafar last week.

Out of the 25 companies screened for qualification, KIP’s logistics procurement committee accepted 10 printing houses, three of which are from Aceh. Jafar said that KIP did not interfere with logistic procurement, since everything was fully left to the procurement committee.

It is likely the Aceh KIP did the right thing in its decision. If foul play did indeed occur, it will eventually be revealed. Moreover, the people are now becoming increasingly critical, and the Aceh Pilkada process will be monitored by a great many people, including the international world.

Farida Sendjaja