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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid