Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Since the beginning, the implementation of electronic-Identification (ID) card project has faced many problems such as late arrival of data recording equipment and corruption allegations.

The launch of the e-ID card or locally known e-KTP project in several cities simultaneously had been delayed by the home affairs ministry due to various obstacles.

The launch had initially been scheduled for August 1, 2011. But, later it was carried out in early 2012.

The ministry had allocated Rp6.3 trillion ($642 million) from the state budget for the introduction of e-KTP nationwide, with the target of providing at least 170 million people with e-KTP by late 2012.

Indonesias total population is around 257 million, but only those above 17 years old are eligible for e-KTP.

As president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had completed his tenure and was succeeded by new President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo starting October 20, 2014, the new government also announced a decision to halt the e-KTP project.

New Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo recently said that the e-KTP project was halted indefinitely after suspicions arose about possible corruption in the project.

The minister noted that almost five million citizens have not yet received e-ID cards so far.

The alleged corruption case was being handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), he added.

He also claimed that he had found fake e-ID cards being circulated in the community, which were allegedly made in China and France.

"The holograms are legal and made overseas in China and Paris," Kumolo revealed.

He could not confirm about a foreign intervention in the production of fake e-ID cards. The police will investigate the case, he added.

"The players are Indonesians. I could not say if they are employees of the home affairs ministry," he stated.

The minister also complained that the e-KTP vendors did not apply an open system, which made it impossible for the home affairs minister to change the system.

The e-KTP production had to be halted until January 2015, while investigation and improvements are being made to ensure that there is no foreign intervention or control, according to Kumolo.

Earlier, the minister pointed out that the e-KTP computer server was allegedly located abroad, thereby making it vulnerable to illegal access by foreigners.

Therefore, he ordered the e-ID project to be halted for further comprehensive evaluation.

"The halt has been extended until January (2015)," Minister Kumolo told the press on Nov. 17, 2014.

A senior researcher at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), Marzan Aziz Iskandar, however, said that the server of the e-KTP project is located in Indonesia, not overseas.

"As far as I know, the main server is located in the home affairs ministry while the recovery center is in Batam, under the local authorities there. So, logically, its impossible that any e-ID data can be accessed by foreigners," Iskandar said in Jakarta on Nov. 18, 2014.

The e-ID card project involves some reliable state institutions, which are also responsible for protecting the data secrecy, according to him.

In addition to the home affairs ministry, the BPPT and State Cryptography Agency (Lemsaneg) are also part of the special team that handles the e-KTP project.

As part of managing the project, the system can be accessed by authorized persons in the home affairs ministry, BPPT, and Lemsaneg, according to Iskandar.

"The team surely has considered state sovereignty and the security aspects of our data," the former BPPT head said.

In the meantime, the Indonesian police are coordinating with the home affairs ministry regarding the investigation into fake e-ID cards.

"We are coordinating about it with the home affairs ministry," police spokesman Inspector General Ronny F. Sompie remarked in Jakarta recently.

The coordination is necessary to collect preliminary data about the fake e-ID cards allegedly made overseas.

"The Polices Security Intelligence Agency is trying to collect initial data on the information (about the fake IDs) to see whether Bareskrim (the Polices Crime Investigation Department) could follow up with the investigation," he emphasized.

He could not confirm whether the perpetrators were Indonesian nationals who lived overseas or foreigners.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Fadli Zon has expressed regret over the governments decision to halt the implementation of the e-KTP project.

"I think the ongoing process should continue because the investment is quite huge. If I am not mistaken, the project amounts to some Rp6 to 7 trillion. So, it should be continued," Fadli Zon of the Great Indonesian Movement (Gerindra) Party stated in Jakarta, on Nov. 17, 2014.

Indonesia requires a single identity number system to support the implementation of general elections and regional head elections, among other things, he noted.

"Social security number is crucial because it collects every piece of information about a citizen," he remarked.

Zon said he did not want to interfere in the technical matters related to the e-ID card project, but he urged the Jokowi administration to tackle the associated problems, so that it could be fully completed.

The e-KTP data is considered particularly very useful during general elections, as it could prevent any debate regarding the number of eligible voters.

According to the interior ministry, in 2011, around seven million Indonesians had more than one Single Identity Number (NIK), meaning each of them had more than one ID card.

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2014