It’s true, we have not heard the end of the Hambalang sports complex scandal. The antigraft body questioned Democratic Party leader Anas Urbaningrum for seven hours on Wednesday from which he emerged the persevering politician denying suggestions that he had anything to do with raising funds for the party through illegal means.
However, we also saw a rise in popular support for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), a gesture which seems to have boosted their self-confidence. Hopefully, they will stay on track, putting internal rifts and questioned priorities in the past.
When lawmakers turned down the KPK’s proposal for a new building, to replace the current, cramped venue, a spontaneous movement dubbed “Coins for KPK” emerged. It might not be as dramatic as “Coins for Prita”, the housewife sued by a clinic for her email to friends complaining about the services she received; or the “Gecko vs Crocodile” episode, which saw widespread support for KPK members facing pressure in the case against a powerful police general (whose case remains unresolved). These demonstrations of support show that the KPK is among few state institutions that enjoys high levels of public credibility.
The Euro Cup helped to heal all our frustrations, as the fans’ emotions were contagious in their celebrations of Italy’s 2-1 victory over Germany. Amid these sleepy soccer-watching days, Jakarta’s gubernatorial contenders knew better than launch boring campaign events. They were also aware that the some 7 million voters might be even more apathetic than those in other cities. The short period for campaigning precedes the second direct election for the new governor next week. Public expectations for the victor remain high, with the governor-elect expected to show immediate progress on issues facing Jakarta, at least to overcome macet, or traffic congestion.
Each week is becoming a journal of where we stand years after the reform movement — often merely identifying problems qualifies as progress in and of itself. This week, we noted the findings of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), that nearly 140 coal mining companies had failed to submit their reclamation plans and deposit guarantee funds for their reclamation work in Kalimantan, as required by the 2009 mining law.
As a result, today’s environmental degradation is expected to worsen, particularly across Kalimantan, where successive regents have issued thousands of mining permits. When the mines shut, millions of hectares will remain destroyed beyond restoration. The BPK findings merely confirm suspicions of the seeming ease of obtaining mining permits – which political observers have said are used by elected politicians to repay their debts.
So, almost 15 years after “reformasi”, we are still going through growing pains. An international survey by the Fund for Peace ranked Indonesia No. 63 among 178 countries, saying the country was on the brink of becoming a “failed state” – a hurtful label especially as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono represented us at the G20 Summit of established economies, and the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The low ranking is similar to others, such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. Among the indicators used to determine rankings on the Failed State Index, was the state’s tolerance of lawless actions of intolerant groups.
If a shameful label can spur leaders and citizens into action, then so be it. For it is citizens who are also responsible for this label. A recent survey suggested that widespread intolerance – such as objections to neighbors of a different religion establishing houses of worship – may lend bolster thugs waving the flag of religion.
Thus on Thursday, Yudhoyono turned to the ulema for help – could they help in addressing international concerns over “homogenous conflicts”? Such conflicts included “intolerant and religious incidents”, Yudhoyono said, citing the Fund for Peace’s index, which he said was shameful given Indonesia’s record as a world model “of a good, pluralistic and tolerant nation”. Unfortunately, “pluralism” was declared haram along with “liberalism” and “secularism” by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).
The examples of self-destructive graft scandals and lawless intolerance, were among reasons behind calls to “remake Indonesia”, as expressed on Friday, in a gathering in Yogyakarta held by the Partnership for Governance Reform, an institution supporting Indonesia’s democratic process.
Where one would start “remaking” is baffling. On corruption, a member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) and former police chief of West Nusa Tenggara, Farouk Mohamad, said that even when BPK discovered over 30 suspected cases in one year, there was no mechanism to monitor follow-up by police and prosecutors. “Even the regulation on how people must return state losses has not been issued,” Farouk said.
Our frustrations aside, we must congratulate the Egyptians as they welcome their replacement for former president Hosni Mubarak, their very own Soeharto. The celebrations on the streets of Cairo welcoming Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood brought back memories our days of elation and disbelief that we actually lived to see another president.
It is this sense that some critics in the West may not relate to. They lambast the Egyptians for missing the opportunity to choose a better candidate than Mursi, who they say will inevitably be undemocratic. Worse, Egypt’s military has still managed to reinforce its foothold though their candidate’s loss. So, like Indonesians, Egyptians still need support in safeguarding their “spring”, which in these early days has already been hijacked.
— Ati Nurbaiti