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Fight against graft stalls in Indonesia

Publication Date : 04-12-2013


The fight against rampant corruption in the country has not made much progress in the past year, Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) has revealed in its annual Corruption Perception Index for 2013.

The international antigraft watchdog gave Indonesia a score of 32 on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), the same score that the country got last year.

In this year’s index, Indonesia was ranked 114th, four spots higher than last year. Indonesia is two points ahead of Timor Leste, but one point behind Kosovo.

Last year, Indonesia appeared in 118th position out of 176 countries polled, down from 100 out of 183 the year before, and tying with Madagascar, Egypt, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

Denmark and New Zealand shared the top spot in this year’s ranking, scoring 91, followed by Finland and Sweden, both scoring 89.

Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia were at the bottom of the list, each scoring eight points.

TI Indonesia secretary-general Dadang Trisasongko said that the antigraft efforts made by the government were “not enough to tackle the massive corruption in the country”.

TI Indonesia recommended the government strengthen public institutions, especially in politics, law and business.

Considering that 2014 will be an election year, Dadang warned that corruption in politics would intensify and one of the ways to curb illicit practices would be to scrutinize campaign funding and the integrity of candidates contesting the legislative elections.

“The political sector must be a priority because political corruption contributes significantly to Indonesia’s index score,” Dadang said.

Responding to the finding, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said that the TI index could not be used as the sole reference to measure the progress of corruption eradication efforts.

Bambang said that his commission was currently developing a number of indexes of their own, including an index to measure the perception of integrity of government institutions.

The KPK is also developing an index to gauge the role of families in encouraging corrupt practices.

“The family is an integral part of our society. There have to be efforts to ensure that an anticorruption culture is embedded within our families,” Bambang said.

The KPK deputy chairman, however, concurred with TI Indonesia that graft would be more pervasive next year, considering the high costs in politics.

He said that the pattern had been that major graft cases occurred in the run-up to general elections.

“Before the 1999 election, there was the Bank Indonesia liquidity assistance [BLBI] case. Before the 2009 election, there was the [Bank] Century case. We will see if the cycle continues,” Bambang said.

Yunus Husein, an adviser to the Presidential Working Unit for the Supervision and Management of Development, also had reservations about the TI findings.

Yunus said that in the past 10 years, the country had made great progress in the fight against graft.

The government in fact was now stepping up its efforts to curb rampant corruption, he said.

He added that both the central and local governments were now working on action plans to step up the antigraft campaign.

“More than enough decrees have been issued, now it is time for their implementation,” Yunus said.


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