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Jakarta Post

'We have the constitutional right': Antigraft body bigwigs challenge revised KPK Law

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 21, 2019   /   06:41 am
'We have the constitutional right': Antigraft body bigwigs challenge revised KPK Law Against corruption: Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif ('left') and the anti-graft body's spokesperson Febri Diansyah give a press statement at the KPK headquarters in Jakarta on Aug.2. (Antara/Hafidz Mubarak)

Three commissioners from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) have filed a petition for judicial review challenging the newly revised KPK Law. They have joined a group of anticorruption activists who are also challenging the controversial law in court.

The three are KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo, commissioner Laode Muhammad Syarif and commissioner Saut Situmorang. They filed the petition under their own names, not on behalf of the antigraft body, Laode said.

“We have the constitutional right to be plaintiffs,” he said on Wednesday.

Laode said the petition was filed under a coalition of civil society groups consisting of 13 anticorruption activists, including former KPK commissioners Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas and Mochamad Jasin.

They filed the petition to request that the court’s nine-justice panel review the law’s drafting process as they argued there were problematic processes behind the revision.

“For instance, [the revision] was not included in the National Legislation Program, but it was suddenly passed,” he said, as quoted by kompas,com. “The deliberation process was also held behind closed doors, without any consultation with members of the public.”

The new petition is one of four filed by members of the public to challenge the KPK law. The law contains long-disputed articles that observers and activists say will defang the antigraft body.

One petition was filed by 190 university students, another by students of As-Syafi’iyah Islamic University’s School of Law with several lawyers and another by lawyer Gregorius Yonathan Deowikaputra.

The first two groups challenged a number of controversial articles in the law as well as the law’s drafting process. Gregorius only challenged the law’s drafting process.

They said the new law had at least 15 problematic articles in it, such as the one that requires all KPK employees to be civil servants, which effectively turns it into a government body.

Other articles they considered problematic were those that required the KPK to obtain a wiretapping warrant from the supervisory council and to drop cases whose investigations were not completed within a year. They also opposed the article that revoked the KPK's independent recruitment of investigators.

Agus said the commission was still hoping that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would issue a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to revoke the revised KPK Law.

“It will be better if the president is willing to issue a Perppu. However, for now, we are submitting the judicial review to the Constitutional Court,” he said.

Jokowi previously argued that it would not be proper to issue the Perppu while the law was still being reviewed in the Constitutional Court.

“Don’t let [the Perppu] overlap with another legal process. I think we should mind our manners,” he said in early November. (vla)