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Jakarta Post

Corruption Inc.

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, November 26, 2018   /   08:30 am
Corruption Inc. Under investigation: Non-active Jambi Governor Zumi Zola (right) gets prepared to undergo a questioning at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in Jakarta on April 26. (Antara/Aprillio Akbar)

Last week, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) released the findings of the 2017 Integrity Perception Survey (SPI) involving employees and public users of the services of six government institutions and the administrations of 15 provinces and 15 municipalities and regencies.

The institutions averaged 66 out of 100 points. In a grueling battle, we must take to heart each sign of progress — the historically infamous customs and excise body topped the list of government bodies with a score of 76.54, followed by the Health Ministry and the Transportation Ministry. Customs and Excise Director General Heru Pambudi was a co-laureate of last year’s prestigious Bung Hatta Anticorruption Award; a previous co-laureate was his boss, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Another heartening survey result is the ranking of employees and users of the services of Banda Aceh municipality. It was ranked the highest among local administrations at 77.39, even though Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf was named a corruption suspect. 

The annual survey, which questioned 2,084 civil servants and 2,142 members of the public, including businesspeople, further revealed one major problem of the deep-rooted corruption. With hundreds of politicians and regional heads having been arrested over the years, there is a culture of corruption within the bureaucracy, as politicians know the mandarins largely expect bribes.

Even young executives, such as non-active Jambi Governor Zumi Zola, who tearfully admitted in court last week to accepting bribes from the legislative council, have been sucked into a political web that feeds on korupsi berjamaah (systematic corruption). In this form of corruption, as one does not act alone, one will not go down alone when caught. Snitchers must prepare for the end of their career, face harassment or worse. 

In the KPK survey, respondents across government institutions reported the existence of middlemen. One in 10 civil servant respondents said they had witnessed or heard of their colleagues receiving bribes or gratuity. 

Among civil servant respondents, “around 30 percent […] tend to believe bribes/gratuity influences policies over their careers […].” Two out of 10 employees among the respondents witnessed informants of corruption in their units being ostracized, punished or having their careers obstructed in the last 12 months, the KPK report said. Over 35 percent of respondents among civil servants in North Sumatra, West Papua and Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan said they believe budgets were marked up in their institutions. 

In an effort to prevent corruption, the KPK will partner with the Home Ministry next year to help local governments make “self assessments” involving public servants, the public and local experts. Don’t expect fast results — internal attempts to stop corruption first began during the New Order.

The KPK has called for more e-government and e-procurement solutions and other ways to cut graft and the role of middlemen. Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo has urged for consistency in the earlier introduced Online Single Submission channel for the expedient issuance of business permits. 

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has urged governors, mayors and regents to step up efforts to welcome investors. They all know this means summoning up all their courage and willingness to fight temptation and pressure.