I’m not against the idea of buying a Presidential Plane, I’m just questioning whether it is necessary at this point of time.
President SBY is planning to buy a presidential plane, a Boeing 737-800 Business Jet 2, which seems to be a favorite aircraft among State VIPs in other countries. How much? Some estimate from US$ 68 million to US$ 85 million, but we don’t exactly know the actual price, although Sudi Silalahi, the State Secretary said that the government already sealed the deal on December 27, 2010.
Some arguments for buying the plane would be for security and economic efficiency, not about foolish pride or showcasing the strength of the Presidency.
Security should be the number one priority, as flying on commercial planes pose a greater threat for security rather than a military-run presidential plane like the US Air Force One. The next question is to ask whether the operational budget will come from the military or the presidential post.
To my knowledge, President SBY travels either by Garuda Indonesia Airways or Pelita Air Service to this date. However, the intricacies of how much SBY and his entourage spend for each time they fly using these planes are not clear. Thus, if economic efficiency were the case, they should lay down the numbers of how much savings will be gained if the government were to purchase its own presidential plane rather than renting to a third-party for each flight (read: a cost-benefit analysis).
I’m sure all of this is public information, no? If they are reluctant to share it then we should be suspicious if there’s any shady transactions behind these deals. For example, aren’t you curious why the plane deal was signed on December 2010, but DPR said they haven’t agreed to anything?
If you look at the interior of the plane (picture above), it’s very lavish. I’m sure SBY or any future president of Indonesia will need that level of comfort because, well, being a President of the second-largest democracy in the world is a tough job, right?
I’m just questioning whether the same amount of money of buying that plane could be put to better use and for more pressing matters for its citizens, i.e. basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation, health and education.
If buying the plane is necessary and urgent, the government should really make the case why buying the plane is a priority, rather than leaving its citizens second-guessing why and how much money is actually being used.