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A Political Smoke Screen?

Deep Political Riff Between Baliís Governor and Vice Governor Erupts into the Open of Payments for Mass Cremations


Bali News: A Political Smoke Screen?
Click Image to Enlarge

(11/16/2012)

An emotional outburst at a public meeting on Sunday, November 11, 2012, by Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika gave hint to the growing rift between the governor and his deputy Anak Agung Puspayoga.

Despite recent assertions to the public by both men that their relationship was harmonious and would remain so until the end of their current term, were misleading.

Speaking at a meeting of community leaders, Pastika said: “I must admit that I had covered [this fissure] up for quite a long time. Even in late October I still insisted that everything was fine between me and the deputy.”

Quoted in The Jakarta Post, Pastika continued: “But I must now speak openly and reveal everything because the recent development has really disturbed me.”

Bali Post Trying to Oust Pastika?

As reported in The Jakarta Post: “The general public received a hint of the fractured relationship when Bali Post, the island’s biggest daily newspaper that is committed to an ongoing campaign to rout Pastika, began to publish stories that cast Puspayoga in a positive light. 

Pastika, who didn’t mention Puspayoga by name referring to him only as Pak Wagub (deputy governor) throughout the seminar, stated that he made a public acknowledgement about the crack because he believed Puspayoga had made an improper political maneuver.

”

Money for Mass Cremations

Pastika said: “I am deeply disappointed by what has taken place, particularly on the allocated funds for mass cremations.”



Puspayoga reportedly violated existing rules by trying to secure Rp. 1.5 billion (US$156,000) for mass cremations in Jembrana, Badung, Gianyar and Karangasem. Such payment are specifically disallowed with Puspayoga reprimanded in 2011 by the Supreme Audit Board (BPK) when he tried to finance other mass cremations.

Accusing the vice-governor of demagoguery, Pastika said: “

“The regulations strictly forbid the regional administration from disbursing funds for such religious rituals. If I sign the disbursement letter, I literally breach the law. If I don’t sign it, the people would be told that their governor denies them a free-of-charge mass cremation.”

In order to appease local communities, the governor is offering Rp. 50 million of his own funds to help fund mass cremations, but emphasized the Rp. 1 billion promised by Puspayoga would not be disbursed and that villager must expect to pay for the cremation of their own family members. Adding, “The government could provide assistance, but the cremation ceremony is the responsibility of the deceased’s family.”'

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