Editorial: Indonesia in Danger of Losing the KPK
The Corruption Eradication Commission, the nation’s symbol of war against graft, has been severely weakened following confrontations with the police. Its investigations and arrests of police generals have angered the police, which launched aggressive, retaliatory attacks against the agency, known as the KPK. The police made a bold statement when they declared two KPK leaders graft suspects and subsequently charged several investigators in criminal cases.
As President Joko Widodo seems to allow the police to do whatever they want, the force is now in control, sending a strong signal that the police are the nation’s true graft busters by kicking off several major corruption investigations.
The KPK was formed out of frustration that the police and the Attorney General’s Office were impotent in investigating graft cases. Prior to its establishment, corruption cases miraculously disappeared. Few, if any, were brought to justice.
The police now want to take back the monopoly on graft investigations and enjoy the immense popularity the KPK has garnered. They aim to prove the nation doesn’t need the KPK, and as it is, by law, an adhoc institution, the antigraft body should be dissolved now that the police can do their jobs.
The KPK is therefore in real danger, and so Indonesia’s corruption eradication efforts are in real danger. But does this threat justify the decision to invite members of the military into its fold in order to help investigate dirty cops? This move would only endanger the democratic processes the nation has struggled to build.
It is Joko who should strengthen the KPK and order the police to back off. If he fails to do so, he will go down in history as the president who destroyed the KPK and Indonesia’s chances of getting rid of corruption.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe