Prabowo's campaign hits out at IMF-World Bank meeting amid Indonesia's quake disasters

Prabowo Subianto (left) and his vice-presidential mate Sandiaga Uno are contesting in the April presidential elections next year.
Prabowo Subianto (left) and his vice-presidential mate Sandiaga Uno are contesting in the April presidential elections next year.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - A spokesman for the presidential campaign of Mr Prabowo Subianto, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said the IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali is an embarrassment for Indonesia as it has a more urgent need to fund redevelopment of post-quake areas in Lombok and Central Sulawesi.

Mr Dahnil told reporters on Friday, at Mr Prabowo's house, that the budget for the meetings, which he said would cost the government one trillion rupiah (S$91.4 million), should be diverted to help these two areas to recover.

"This is really unsettling for the (Prabowo) coalition and it is embarrassing. Why? Because in the midst of a disaster we party in Bali," said Mr Dahnil, as quoted by Tempo news site on Saturday.

The annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank will start on Tuesday and end on Sunday. It will be attended some 32,000 people including finance ministers and central bankers from 180 nations.

Mr Prabowo and his vice-presidential mate Sandiaga Uno, is contesting in the April presidential elections against President Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin.

Mr Dahnil described the amount being spent to hold the meeting as "lavish", and argued that it does not contribute to Indonesia's economic development, Tempo reported, and it is being held at a time when the Indonesian currency is being battered.

"The meeting does not affect rupiah's strengthening, nor does it have an effect to our current account deficit," said Mr Dahnil.

Lombok island, in West Nusa Tenggara province next to Bali, was hit by a series of earthquakes in July and August including a 6.9-magnitude quake on Aug 5, killing more than 500 people and leaving tens of thousands of people without homes.

The Palu city-Donggala region in Central Sulawesi was hit by a 7.4 magnitude quake and a tsunami on Sept 28, with more than 1,700 dead, dozens still missing and some 70,000 left homeless.

Mr Fuad Bawazier, an advisory board member from Mr Prabowo's Gerindra Party said his coalition planned to issue a suggestion to stop the financial meeting, and distribute the funds saved for victims of the disaster. The former finance minister said it is unethical for Indonesia to hold a "luxury event" amid these disasters, Tempo said.