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SBY bows to public outcry

Workers’ support: Members of the All Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) stage a demonstration in front of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office in Jakarta on Monday. They expressed their full support for the KPK in its efforts to eradicate corruption in Indonesia. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
Workers’ support: Members of the All Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) stage a demonstration in front of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office in Jakarta on Monday. They expressed their full support for the KPK in its efforts to eradicate corruption in Indonesia. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gave his utmost support to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and criticized attempts to undermine its corruption fighting efforts, but also regretted the way it failed to resolve differences with other law enforcement institutions.

In his address to the nation on Monday evening, Yudhoyono offered a wide range of solutions to the KPK-police stand-off, including allowing the KPK to take over the investigation of the vehicle simulators procurement case at the National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas), which involves its former chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo.

“The KPK must only investigate the corruption case involving Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, while the police can deal with graft allegations surrounding other procurements within the police institution,”
Yudhoyono said.

This solution, however, will disqualify the KPK from pursuing other corruption cases that allegedly involve a large number of police officers, such as the collecting of bribes for the issuance of vehicle transfer documents, drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration documents.

In his speech, Yudhoyono said that he would issue a regulation that would allow all members of the police to extend their terms for the maximum of eight years to work as investigators for the KPK, an apparent move to end the stand-off.

“The KPK must not arbitrarily fire its investigators when their terms are due, nor must the National Police withdraw them unilaterally. Therefore, I will immediately issue a government regulation to extend their terms for another four years and they can choose whether they still want to work for the KPK or return to the corps,” Yudhoyono explained.

The President also lambasted the police for their attempt to prosecute Comr. Novel Baswedan for a shooting incident in 2004.

“The timing and approach are not appropriate,” he said.

The President also declined to lend his support to the plan by the House of Representatives to amend Law No. 30/2002 on the Corruption Eradication Commission.

“It’s better for us to work together and focus on efforts to eradicate corruption instead of draining our energy to amend the law,” he said.

At the end of his remarks, Yudhoyono urged the KPK and the National Police to end their bickering and renew agreements to improve their cooperation in the future.

“I think the KPK must consider coordinating more with the police, as well as with the Attorney General, instead of spending more time talking to the media,” he said.

KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto lauded Yudhoyono’s stance on some of the crucial issues that affected the antigraft body.

“We appreciate what the President and the National Police chief have done,” Bambang told reporters in the KPK headquarters in Jakarta on Monday evening.

He also said that Yudhoyono’s statement concerning the fate of KPK investigator Novel had helped the KPK do its job.

“With the President’s statement this means that as of now, Novel can freely do his job as a KPK investigator. He will not be troubled by other things,” Bambang said, adding that he also appreciated National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo showing his professionalism in agreeing to the President’s proposals.

Febri Diansyah of Indonesian Corruption Watch applauded Yudhoyono’s statement.

“This stand-off was really unnecessary [and would not have happened] if the National Police chief had followed the rules and regulations that the President outlined in his speech,” he said. (riz)

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