Jakarta. President Joko Widodo announced nine new members of the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, selection committee on Thursday, all of whom are women.
“In the past few weeks I have been working hard to form a selection committee for the anti-graft agency [KPK]. Its members have to be competent and possess integrity; they must possess skills and knowledge in a wide range of areas,” Joko said on Thursday.
The president appointed economic analyst, Destry Damayanti, and state administrative legal expert, Enny Nurbayaningsih, as the committee’s head and deputy head respectively.
Other members of the team include Harkristuti Haskrisnowo, a criminal law and human rights expert; Betty Alisjabana, a technology, information and management analyst; Yenti Garnasih, a money laundering and criminal law expert; noted psychologist Supri Wimbarti; Natalia Subagio, the chairwoman of Transparency International Indonesia; as well as Diani Sadiawati, the director of legal human rights at the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas); and Meuthia Ganie-Rochman, an expert on corruption sociology and social capital.
Joko’s decision to form an all-female selection committee has been welcomed by female activists.
“No one can doubt their [professional] backgrounds; we have a psychologist, an anti-corruption expert, legal experts. They are all great women,” said Ani Soetjipto, a University of Indonesia political lecturer.
The new panel is completely different to potential candidates tipped in the media prior to the announcement — all of whom were males and most of whom were former members of the Independent Consultative Team.
The team was formed by Joko earlier this year to advise him on the then-growing conflict between the KPK and the police, which was sparked after National Police chief candidate, Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, was named as a bribery suspect.
State Secretary Pratikno said the president chose the selection committee on his own, from 40 candidates proposed.
“He read their profiles. It was a long process, taking place for the past couple of weeks, before he finally decided on those names,” Pratikno said, adding it was only a coincidence that the new selectors happened to all be female.
KPK deputy chairman Johan Budi applauded the president’s choice, saying not only were the members known for their professional integrity, they were also free from political affiliations.
“I see the selected committee as having no affiliation or relation to any political parties,” Johan said. “There will be a lot of political interests and people who will try to interfere in the selection of KPK leaders.
“Therefore we need a selection committee that is credible, capable and free from political interests.”
Chudry Sitompul, a criminology professor at University of Indonesia, echoed Johan’s remarks.
“I think all the nine names presented by President Jokowi are mostly new people. They are not yet contaminated by particular interests,” he said.
Hifdzil Amil, a researcher at Gadjah Mada University’s antigraft study center, said he could not be sure if the president had made the right choice.
“I know several names,” he said, adding the public in general were not familiar with the other names.
The KPK has for months been embroiled in legal problems, with two of its leaders, including suspended chairman Abraham Samad, under police investigation for old cases which are widely believed to have been resurrected and trumped up to weaken the agency.
The investigations forced Joko to suspend two antigraft officials and appoint interim commissioners.
The selection process for five new leaders is estimated to conclude by November after which the final candidates would have to undergo a House of Representatives vetting process. Inauguration is expected in December, and the five leaders will serve a four-year term.
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