PKS officials’ defense
of Luthfi might jeopardize
public trust, says expert

Moves by the top brass of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) to defend Luthfi Hasan Ishaq, the party’s chairman who was recently named a suspect in a graft case, could jeopardize public trust among voters according to a political expert.

“The public could see that as the wrong way to show solidarity. Therefore, this move will likely corrupt the party’s good image later on,” Yunarto Wijaya, of political consulting firm Charta Politica, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

PKS leaders like Hidayat Nur Wahid, Refrizal and Agriculture Minister Suswono have come to Luthfi’s defense after corruption allegations surfaced. Suswono has raised questions about the Corruption Eradication Commission’s timing in tackling this case while Refrizal questioned the KPK’s motives.

Yunarto acknowledged that the party was in a difficult position because although public trust was important, the party also needed to maintain morale among its members. Therefore, he went on, similar to many other political parties, PKS had opted to stand in solidarity with their colleagues who had been implicated in a graft case.

The KPK named Luthfi a suspect in its investigation into bribery related to beef imports. Luthfi was suspected to have received Rp 1 billion (US$103,000) in bribes from two businessmen, Juard Effendi and Arya Abdi Effendi.

Luthfi is currently being held at the Guntur military police detention center for questioning.

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