The Jakarta Post
Presidential spokesperson Johan Budi said on Monday that the government may withdraw from the ongoing deliberations over possible revisions of a corruption law if it considers that new provisions will weaken the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
The government and the House of Representatives are currently discussing how to amend the 2002 law on the antigraft body, focusing on changing the fundamental powers of the law enforcement body, including wiretapping, the appointment of investigators and the termination of investigations.
'The President's stance on the issue is very clear. If the revisions are aimed at weakening the KPK, the government will pull out of the process,' Johan said on Monday.
Led by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), a majority of House factions presented a draft of the law revisions, including a proposal to set up a supervisory body that will hold the authority to issue wiretapping permits for the KPK.
The proposal soon drew public criticism. A series of sting operations that resulted in the arrest of several lawmakers, including the PDI-P's Damayanti Wisnu Putranti and the Hanura Party's Dewie Yasin Limpo, in bribery cases, make the proposal appear to be a way for politicians to prevent similar cases from happening in the future.
The proposal also included a plan to enable the KPK to issue investigation termination warrants ( SP3 ), a means by which the antigraft body can drop cases, as is done by other law enforcement institutions.
KPK leaders have rejected the proposals, saying that most of the possible revisions are aimed at weakening their ability to prosecute.
Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said that the government is still waiting for the final draft that will be presented by lawmakers, as the PDI-P proposal is still being discussed at the House.
'We are still waiting for the final draft and whether it meets the previous commitment to strengthen the KPK,' said the PDI-P politician.
The latest survey released on Monday by Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik revealed that President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo may see his currently increasing popularity drop significantly if his administration gives approval to the House plan to revise the KPK law.
The study, which interviewed 1,550 eligible voters between Jan. 18 and 29, recorded that 54.4 percent of them said that the revisions would weaken the KPK. Only 34.1 percent said otherwise.
Around 83.9 percent of the informed respondents said that they rejected the PDI-P's proposal to limit the KPK's wiretapping power, leaving only 14.4 percent who said agreed with it.
'A majority of citizens said that it would weaken the KPK. Those who said otherwise came from respondents who have mid-level education as well as women and those who live in villages, especially in Maluku and Papua,' Indikator Politik research director Hendro Prasetyo said.
The survey also found that Jokowi currently enjoys increasing public trust and an approval rating of 67 percent, the highest since he was sworn in as the country's seventh president in October 2014.
The survey revealed that those who are aware of the plan to revise the KPK law tend to have low appreciation for Jokowi's performance, compared to those did not follow the issue closely.
'Although respondents' approval for the President is high, it does not mean that it will stay the same constantly. The high public appreciation could be damaged should the President fail to hear public's wish to defend the KPK,' Hendro said.
Political analyst Ikrar Nusa Bhakti from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) criticized Jokowi for having campaigned on his support for the KPK, yet failing to reject the PDI-P's revision plan.
He reminded Jokowi that he will lose public support if he approves any attempts to weaken the KPK.
'Once the President gives his approval, his approval rating will significantly drop,' Ikrar said.
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