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Jakarta Post

South Sulawesi governor's arrest raises concerns of clientelism in local politics

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Sat, March 27, 2021   /  10:30 am
The Jakarta Post Image
South Sulawesi governor Nurdin Abdullah walks into an interrogation room at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarter in Jakarta on Feb. 27, 2021. Graft busters arrest Nurdin and five other individuals in an alleged corruption case in South Sulawesi. (Antara/Dhemas Reviyanto)

The recent arrest of South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah over alleged bribery pertaining to infrastructure projects in the province has brought attention to the practice of clientelism in the country’s regional politics. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Nurdin in late February for allegedly receiving Rp 5.4 billion (US$374 million) from contractors in exchange for infrastructure projects for the budget year of 2021. But activists argued the case was only the tip of the iceberg, alleging the governor had awarded business projects to other individuals supporting him during the regional election. Projects for old ‘aides’ The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) launched an investigation in December 2019 to look at several sand dredging projects in South Sulawesi. Local fishermen had been complaining of the mining activities, clai...