The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has rejected a plan by the House of Representatives to amend the 2002 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law, saying that the government has no intention of undermining the work of the antigraft body.
The decision was one of among many other points announced by Jokowi during a limited Cabinet meeting held on Friday to specifically discuss a national strategy on the eradication and prevention of graft.
KPK interim chairman Taufiequrrachman Ruki, National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti and Attorney General Basrief Arief also joined the meeting, but Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly, who has expressed his support for the House's plan, was absent because of illness.
The plan to revise the KPK Law was a House initiative aimed at limiting the antigraft body's power to investigate and prosecute graft cases and had been included in the 2015 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas). The Prolegnas is a list of law deliberation targets set by the lawmakers and the government.
'The government now has made it clear. The President does not want it to be revised. Therefore, it has to be removed from the Prolegnas,' presidential communications team member Teten Masduki said on Friday after the meeting.
He said that the President would not approve any amendments as they would only weaken the KPK.
'There is no reason to revise it [now] because it will only weaken the KPK,' he said.
Ruki, who several times expressed his support for the House's plan in spite of rejections by his fellow commissioners at the antigraft body, praised Jokowi's move.
'We are grateful the President said he has no intention to weaken the KPK ['¦]. We will continue working based on the existing law,' Ruki said.
Ruki also said that in the meeting Jokowi again instructed the KPK, the police and the Attorney General's Office (AGO) to collaborate more in the fight against corruption.
Both Yasonna and State Secretary Pratikno would now follow up on the decision and strike a new deal with the House, said Teten.
In spite of Jokowi's rejection, House of Representatives deputy speaker Fadli Zon of the Gerindra Party hinted that the House would press ahead with its plan, arguing that the existing law had a number of weaknesses.
'I believe that the KPK Law should, without doubt, be amended because it is already on the Prolegnas list,' he said on Friday evening.
Fadli also said that the House would start deliberating the amendment plan sooner.
'Whether it is done this year or in the coming years [...] I believe the sooner the better since the government has also planned to revise the Criminal Law Procedures Code [KUHAP].'
He also maintained the House's plan was not an effort to undermine the KPK. 'In fact, we don't want the KPK to be a political tool, nor prone to abuse of power.'
Under the House's plan, the lawmakers seek to prohibit the KPK from conducting any wiretapping activities during the preliminary phase of an investigation, thus preventing sting operations aimed at catching in the act individuals who are suspected of receiving bribes.
The lawmakers also want to revoke the KPK's authority to prosecute by forcing it to hand over its investigation dossiers to the AGO to bring any indictment to trial.
As stipulated in the existing KPK Law, the antigraft body has integrated investigation and indictment powers with no obligation to involve the AGO in graft trials.
In his speech while opening the meeting, Jokowi emphasized that the government should 'improve [its efforts to] eradicate and prevent [corruption] so that planned economic growth targets can be met'.
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