National

Traumatized House pushes
aside graft court bill

Members of the House of Representatives remain traumatized over recent uncompromising rulings by the Corruption Court, says a legislator.

All legislators tried for corruption by the court have been convicted and sentenced to lengthy jail terms, creating fear among other legislators that they could be next.

The fear has led them to deliberately delay the passage of the corruption court bill, which will establish a permanent anti-graft court, and under a heavy public pressure, create an independent court for corruption cases, the legislator said.

On Friday, Nasir Jamil from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) told The Jakarta Post that many of his colleagues were traumatized over the Corruption Court, following the recent conviction of a legislator involved in graft.

“Frankly, the court not only revealed the man’s acceptance of bribes, but also his affair, and this embarrassed him so much. This fact has got some people here worried,” he said, refusing to give more details about who those people were.

Anticorruption activists also expressed doubt that the House would endorse the bill before the existing court’s mandate expires this December.

Indonesia Corruption Watch’s (ICW) Emerson Yuntho said legislators were reluctant to support the bill because they feared the power of the Corruption Court.

“The court has convicted eight House of Representatives members of graft, and it’s likely that more legislators will be investigated and tried,” Emerson said.

Nasir said many legislators felt the Corruption Court was unnecessary.

“The objections by those legislators is probably because there is another option to try corruption cases in the country — by using state courts, improving the judges’ credibility and ability,” he said.

But district courts have long been associated with corruption.

A recent Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) survey singled out the Indonesian judiciary as the most corrupt of public institutions in the country.

ICW also revealed that courts had released 60 percent of those convicted of corruption, while 30 percent of those convicted of graft were sentenced to less than a year in prison.

Nasir also pointed out that many legislators would be too busy campaigning in the upcoming election to concentrate on deliberating the bill.

“Actually, I’m worried the bill will not be passed in the next few months, due to legislators’ campaign activities,” he said.

“House members will work until March 6, and then they’ll be busy for the next few months with the election. No one will remember this bill, even though it’s nearing it’s deadline.”

He added that even after the elections, the new legislators would be busy settling into their new jobs.

However, other legislators, including Gayus Lumbuun from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), were more optimistic about getting the bill passed on time.

“We are optimistic the bill will be passed by December this year,” he told the Post.

He added his party had recommended that its members work on the bill before they got busy with the elections.

“We have to finish it, otherwise the government will just make a ‘regulation-in-lieu-of-law’ for corruption,” he said.

However, ICW’s Emerson said he doubted the legislator’s commitment to curbing corruption.

“Only the National Awakening Party [PKB] and the Reform Star Party [PBR] are serious about this bill, while the other parties are fending for themselves,” he said. (naf)

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