The House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie suggested during a plenary meeting on Wednesday that each member of the legislative body should donate 25 percent of their monthly salary to victims of the ongoing Mount Sinabung eruptions in North Sumatra.
The donation scheme was initially suggested by Heriyanto, a lawmaker with the Democratic Party, during the meeting.
“I recommend that we give 25 percent of our incomes to the victims of Mount Sinabung,” he said as quoted by news portal Merdeka.com. “I will be the first.”
Marzuki approved the motion, banging his gavel, adding that all lawmakers from the Sinabung district should donate the entirety of their monthly salaries to those affected.
A House member on average receives Rp 15,510,000 ($1,287) per month, excluding extra allowances for utilities and housing, which could amount to more than Rp 45 million per month.
“This is something for pride,” he said as quoted by Detik.com. “At least it could relieve us of our sins for the new year.”
Anton Sihombing, a lawmaker from the Golkar Party, urged the central government to take concrete actions to help the volcano victims.
“We have to insist that the government [assist] the victims of Mount Sinabung,” he said as quoted by Detik. “They have been evacuated in more than four months.”
The slow response of the government has also prompted a Twitter campaign.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday tweeted that he plans to visit the victims next week.
“Next week, God willing, I will return to Kabanjahe to make sure that the Sinabung administration and victims are well,” he said.
More than 25,000 residents have fled their homes in the past week around Mount Sinabung.
The Jakarta Globe