News / Asia

    Anti-Corruption Campaign Takes to the Streets in Jakarta

    Indonesian anti-corruption demonstrators rally outside the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in Jakarta, 2010 to mark the World Anti-Corruption Day, 09 Dec 2010
    Indonesian anti-corruption demonstrators rally outside the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in Jakarta, 2010 to mark the World Anti-Corruption Day, 09 Dec 2010

    Anti-corruption activists gathered in Jakarta to mark international anti-corruption day and demand an end to endemic graft that places Indonesian well down on Transparency International's global Corruption Perceptions Index. 

    Music fills the air outside Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission, adding to a carnival-like atmosphere. Thursday began with parades of protesters and an actor dressed as a rogue tax official tossing out wads of fake cash to the crowd.

    Later, though, it turned violent, as police clashed with protesters gathered to draw attention to widespread graft, which they say is one of Indonesia's most pressing problems.

    Despite changes to make it easier to do business and pay taxes, Indonesia still sits far below India and China on global transparency rankings.

    Even the commission tasked with rooting out corruption has been surrounded by scandal since last year, when two of its commissioners were charged with bribery on what activists call trumped-up charges.

    Anies Baswedan, dean of Paramadina University, says corruption exists because of need, greed and a political system that rewards bad behavior. And that impedes job creation, economic growth and development.

    "For developing countries like Indonesia, producing development that will benefit the people requires transparency, good governance, in order to ensure that those who need the development programs actually get it," said Baswedan.

    Indonesia tied with five other countries for 110th place in Transparency International's latest Corruption Perception Index. Denmark ranked highest, and Somalia came in last among the 178 economies surveyed.  

    Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan all ranked in the top 20, while Burma and Afghanistan tied for 176th place at the bottom.

    Corruption creates uncertainty, Baswedan says, since business ventures and development projects are often awarded to vested interests. Despite these problems, Indonesia has made progress in combating graft in the 12 years since autocratic President Suharto stepped down.

    Banking reforms have been credited with helping Indonesia to weather the global financial crisis. The country has seen an influx of foreign capital over the past year.

    Baswedan says political and public support for anti-corruption efforts has increased dramatically, and he credits Indonesia's move to democracy for increasing the space for public debate.

    "In a country in which media is highly controlled, the practice of corruption is there, but it doesn't translate into a public discourse the way it does in Indonesia with the help of media," added Baswedan. "And I think that helps for us to see that there is a light at the end of this problem,"

    Transparency International says politicians who fight for their own interests over the interests of the state pose one of the biggest challenges to combating corruption. Organizations that advocate for more transparency say politically connected individuals still evade investigation.

    Baswedan says the solution rests in better education. Paramadina University requires students to take a course on corruption, in which they do investigative reports on the issue. The hope is that students can learn to fight corruption when they enter the job market.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora