The Jakarta Post
As lawmakers at the House of Representatives pursue a controversial plan to revise anticorruption legislation, experts have called on President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to make good on his promise to defend the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
The President, so far, has only tweeted that he supported the amendment of Law No. 30/2002 on the KPK as long as it strengthened, rather than weakened, the law enforcement institution. The proposed revision has run up against strong opposition from the public, which sees it as clearly curtailing the KPK's power.
The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has been leading the initiative for the amendment by proposing the draft revision that contains articles limiting the antigraft body's authority.
Among the controversial new articles to be included in the amendment are the formation of a KPK supervisory body, restrictions on wiretapping by KPK investigators and allowing the KPK to stop investigations if it does not have adequate evidence.
University of Indonesia (UI) criminologist and former police officer Bambang Widodo Umar said Jokowi's stance on the revision was inconsistent, as the PDI-P politician wanted to show that he embraced all sides ' the public and lawmakers, including his party colleagues.
'If he disagrees with the revision, [he should] just say so and stop the amendment. He should be firm,' Bambang said at a discussion.
Political observer J. Kristiadi from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) also opined that Jokowi displayed a very soft stance, but added that he believed the President was sincere in promising not to let the amendment pass if it weakens the KPK.
'He has a responsibility to keep the public's trust, because his only friends are the people. Many legislators or senior officials seem to be against him,' Kristiadi said.
He added that the amendment was clearly an attempt to kill the KPK, because many politicians and senior public officials were threatened by its existence. The KPK has uncovered many graft cases involving high-ranking politicians and bureaucrats, including ministers.
'I am not saying that all lawmakers are corrupt, but the House needs to do some self-reflection. They [lawmakers] have very strong power, giving them access to play the regulations for their own interests,' Kristiadi said.
The PDI-P initiative was backed by five House factions ' the NasDem Party, the United Development Party (PPP), the Hanura Party, the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Golkar Party.
However, several political parties have launched a move to block the amendment.
The House's plenary session was supposed to amend the law last week, but postponed it after the Democratic Party decided to oppose the amendment, following in the footsteps of the Gerindra Party.
A day later, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) became the third party to reject the amendment.
Antigraft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) coordinator for public campaigns Tama S. Langkun called on Jokowi to immediately drop the amendment, because it did not have any support from the public.
'If [the lawmakers] really want to focus on eradicating corruption and strengthening law enforcement, it's better to revise the corruption law,' Tama said, referring to another piece of anticorruption legislation, Law No. 20/2001 on Corruption.
The Corruption Law, he added, should tighten regulations on the punishment of corruption defendants, which currently seem very low, and include stipulations about corruption in the private sector as well as restrictions on cash transactions.
'That is because nowadays, graft schemes involve private parties and the transactions are done in cash,' he said.
To receive comprehensive and earlier access to The Jakarta Post print edition, please subscribe to our epaper through iOS' iTunes, Android's Google Play, Blackberry World or Microsoft's Windows Store. Subscription includes free daily editions of The Nation, The Star Malaysia, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Asia News.
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x
Renew your subscription to get unlimited access