The Jakarta Post
The head of the anticorruption body has suggested that the number of corruption cases involving politicians would decline if the government increased state funding for parties.
“When the state leaves [political parties] to seek financing on their own, this [corruption] happens,” Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Agus Rahardjo said on Tuesday, during an annual coordination meeting with the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).
Tuesday’s discussion also saw the attendance of representatives from several state institutions and business associations.
He added that the situation did more harm than good, and suggested that the government increase funding to Rp 10,000 (US Cent 71) from Rp 1,000, and that governments even financed political parties in other countries.
“The country’s electoral regulations should be reviewed in a bid to reduce electoral costs and prevent corruption among politicians,” added Agus.
Many corruption cases in Indonesia have implicated political parties, whose electoral campaigns are rife with political transactions. Anti-graft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) also reported that political parties charged illegal fees to those aspiring to a legislative or executive post.
Last year, the KPK arrested top Golkar politicians Eni Maulani Saragih and former social affairs Idrus Marham) for their alleged involvement in a Rp 500 million (US$35,742) graft case on the development of a coal-fired power plant (PLTU) in Riau province. Eni claimed that the bribe was intended to fund Golkar's campaign for the 2019 general election.
Agus said the KPK had discussed the idea of reviewing electoral regulations with a number of institutions, including the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and that it also planned to discuss the idea with relevant policymakers.
Anti-corruption NGO Transparency International (TI) Indonesia said it supported the KPK's suggestions, saying the measures could reduce political parties' dependence on brokers. Additional developments were needed, however, to eradicate political corruption.
TI Indonesia secretary-general Dadang Tri Sasongko said the government should develop measures to prevent politicians from rigging state and regional budgets, procurement processes and licensure.
“If these ways are not developed, state funding will only be seen as a kind of ‘pocket money’ for political parties,” said Dadang.
Last year, the government significantly increased annual funding for political parties to Rp 1,000 per valid vote, from Rp 108 per valid vote that had been in effect since 2009. The move was expected to improve the capacity and accountability of politicians elected to public office.
Anti-graft activists said at the time that the increase should be supplemented with efforts to improve the accountability of political parties. Some state institutions also argued over the funding hike, with the Home Ministry suggesting Rp 5,400 per valid vote, while the Finance Ministry stood firm at Rp 1,000 per valid vote. (das)