House rejects KPK office due to poor performance
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The public may have their own opinion on the House of Representatives’s rejection of a proposal to build a new office for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
But, several lawmakers said on Thursday that their rejection to the plan was because of their dissatisfaction with the poor performance of the antigraft body.
Eva Kusuma Sundari from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said lawmakers normally examine the performance of executive and judicial bodies before taking any decisions.
“Based on our examination, we will decide later whether certain institutions deserve a reward or not,” said Eva, a member of House Commission III overseeing legal and human rights affairs.
According to her, she and fellow lawmakers did not see much achievement by the KPK.
“We don’t see any progress by the KPK in handling big corruption cases, while its chief Abraham Samad has repeatedly promised to solve them soon. We are asking them to keep to their word before demanding things,” Eva said, referring to KPK’s demand for additional budget to build a new office building.
Responding to the demand, lawmakers on House Commission III did not give approval. Instead, the KPK was told to consult with the government and seek vacant buildings for rent.
The House’s disapproval has driven the public to collect cash for the antigraft body to build a new office.
The public movement highlights civil society’s support for the country’s corruption eradication efforts. It is no coincidence that this is seen as a severe blow on the House, many of whose members are implicated in scandals and under investigation by the KPK.
The House and the KPK stalemate has forced President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to appeal lawmakers not to delay the disbursement of funds allocated in the State Budget.
Lawmakers, however, insisted on delaying discussion on the KPK’s proposal until the next session in next few months.
It means the antigraft body is unlikely to get a new headquarters any time soon as the proposal will only be discussed when lawmakers convene for the 2013 budget deliberations in late August after a month’s recess, starting on July 16.
Separately, House Commission III deputy chairman Nasir Djamil from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) said the KPK failed to focus on big corruption cases, but wasted its time investigating minor ones.
This has led the commission’s rejection of the KPK’s proposal for a new office.
“It’s true that KPK’s performance matters here. However, it has nothing to do with vengeance. Our insistence on the Finance Minister finding a vacant building for rental simply aims to optimize the resources the government has to support agencies such as the KPK,” Nasir told The Jakarta Post.
The KPK first proposed a budget of Rp 225.712 billion (US$24.15 million) for new headquarters in 2008 because its current building on Jl. Rasuna Said in Kuningan, South Jakarta, was over capacity. The agency now has over 725 employees in a building designed for only 350 people.
The ongoing dispute between Commission III and the KPK started on June, 20 when KPK deputy chief Bambang Widjojanto questioned a promise to approve the budget as support for the KPK.
“We want to know when you will keep your promise and remove the asterisk on our proposal,” Bambang said during a hearing.
Earlier on the day, Commission III lawmakers had flexed their muscles over the antigraft body when they refused to have talks with because of the absence of the commission deputies, even though all KPK commissioners were present.
Twenty seven members who attended the hearing spent an hour bickering over the urgency of presenting KPK deputies to the meeting without giving any opportunities for KPK leaders, including Abraham Samad, Busyro Muqqodas, Bambang Widjojanto and Zulkarnaen, to explain.