As president, Jokowi will
be surrounded by rent-seekers:

Any candidate selected in the 2014 presidential election, including Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo who is widely considered honest, clean and transparent, will face great challenges in eradicating corruption, says a clean governance expert.

“Jokowi is a single fighter. He does not bring political elites from Surakarta with him and [if elected as the next Indonesian president] he will be surrounded by political elites with rent-seeking behavior from Jakarta. With a privileged position, they will make profit by selling license and business permits,” said Todung Mulya Lubis, a legal expert who is also an anti-corruption activist, in a discussion at the University of Gadjah Mada’s (UGM) School of Law, on Friday.

He said such a situation might occur due to structural weakness in Indonesia’s economy system. Many political elites in the country are skilled at lobbying to generate personal wealth.

Results of studies conducted in countries across the world show that corruption is rampant in less developed economies, including Indonesia, whose per capita gross domestic product (GDP) stands at around US$3,500.

“The politicians who become power brokers will encircle Jokowi and create potential for corruption in the future,” said Todung.

The former Transparency International Indonesia director said he knew business players had begun to approach Jokowi. “Hopefully, Jokowi can still use his common sense,” said Todung.

He went on to say was widespread in all levels of the Indonesian bureaucracy, including in institutions with authority to issue business permits.

Todung said Indonesia needed to invite foreign investors to boost its economic growth; however, corruption causing bureaucratic inefficiency, including in obtaining business permits, might have an adverse impact on foreign direct investment. (ebf)

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