Critics have lashed out at the nearly $10 million spent on Puan Maharani's website, which seems to serve no purpose whatsoever other than glorify the minister. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Puan Panned Over $10m Website, Likely Copied and Signifying Nothing

BY :JAKARTA GLOBE

AUGUST 27, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia’s chief welfare minister has come under fire for spending Rp 140 billion ($9.86 million) setting up a website that apparently copies the code from a Barack Obama supporters’ site and does essentially nothing.

The site, revolusimental.go.id, was set up by the office of Puan Maharani –  who also happens to be the daughter of Megawati Soekarnoputri, President Joko Widodo’s political patron –  last Friday, then promptly cleared by Wednesday in the wake of a barrage of criticism.

The original site featured a picture of Puan and entry fields in which visitors could fill in their name and e-mail address to get updates. The tiled layout of the site bore a striking resemblance to that used on the site barackobama.com, run by the grassroots advocacy group Organizing for Action.

A look at the Indonesian site’s WordPress theme template shows coding for a button to “donate to Obama” –  indicating a sloppy copy-and-paste job by the coders of Puan’s site.

Puan also appears to take full credit for the concept of “revolusi mental,” or “mental revolution,” which Joko touted heavily during last year’s election campaign to refer to the need for a drastic change to the business-as-usual mind-set prevalent among officials and the public.

Critics have lashed out at the cost of the site, which seems to serve no purpose whatsoever other than glorify Puan.

“The cost of a professionally done website, with a rented server or hosting for a year, shouldn’t come out to more than Rp 210 million,” Nathan Gusti Ryan, a technology expert from XP Solutions, said on Wednesday as quoted by Viva.co.id.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, who is ostensibly in charge of public relations for the president, said he was unaware of the site or how much it cost.

Pramono is a stalwart of Megawati’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and close confidant to Puan.

Puan’s site has, as of Wednesday, been completely cleared, and now only shows a picture of a laptop computer and the message “Thank you for your suggestions and feedback on the website.” It then goes on to promise that “we will work hard to fix it so that it’s better.”

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