The Jakarta Post
As rallies criticizing what protesters believe to be attempts to reverse the country’s decades-old reforms spread nationwide, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko has ruffled some feathers by suggesting that the existence of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) could hinder investments.
While President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called for the House of Representatives to hold off on passing some controversial bills following the protests, questions arose over why Jokowi did not do the same when public outcry was mounting before the revisions to the KPK Law were passed last week.
In response to the question, Moeldoko said that the government and the House decided to approve the passage because, citing a survey released by Kompas, “there are more people who support the revision to KPK Law”.
The survey, released on Sept. 16, revealed that 44.9 percent of respondents supported the revision while only 33.9 percent said they did not agree with the bill. Also, 15.2 percent chose not to respond.
“Another reason is that the KPK can hamper investment […] this is what the people don’t understand,” Moeldoko said in Jakarta on Monday.
The retired general, however, stopped short from mentioning specific details when asked to elaborate on his statement.
The revised KPK Law, the deliberations over which had been rushed and criticized by members of the public, contains problematic articles that many believed aim at neutering the antigraft body’s investigative powers and undermined its independence in cracking down on corrupt officials.
Tens of thousands of university students and activists across the country took to the streets on Monday to protest against the revised KPK Law, while also demanding Jokowi’s administration and the House to hold off on passing other controversial bills, including the revision to the Criminal Code.
The protesters also urged the President to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to replace the KPK Law. However, both Moeldoko and Jokowi have said that there was no plan to issue a Perppu yet.
Antigraft activists have criticized Moeldoko for making his statement, saying that the President’s close aide had stirred controversy as he could not back his argument with research and studies.
“This is a worrying state when the palace can issue a statement without verified data, which only can cause controversy,” Indonesia Corruption Watch coordinator Adnan Topan Husodo told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
He said the government should be able to control the statements coming from its high-ranking officials and present their arguments with valid data.
“We have to always remember that legal certainty makes a more stable economy, which can lure investors,” Adnan said. (afr)