News / Asia

Indonesian President Takes Strong Stand on Corruption

Demonstrators from Indonesia's National Workers Union rally outside the KPK building in support of the country's anti-graft body, Jakarta, Indonesia, October 8, 2012. (K. Lamb/VOA)
Demonstrators from Indonesia's National Workers Union rally outside the KPK building in support of the country's anti-graft body, Jakarta, Indonesia, October 8, 2012. (K. Lamb/VOA)
Kate Lamb
Indonesia’s decade-long battle to root out corruption has relied, in part, on a special anti-graft task force aimed at high-profile prosecutions. But investigators’ focus on the police in recent months has led to a very public standoff, with Indonesians turning out on the streets calling for presidential intervention.

Protest over corruption

In Indonesian, “Aku Enggak Mau Warisanmu,” translates as “I don’t want your legacy.”

The lyrics sung at recent rallies in Jakarta sum up just how the nation is feeling about its increasingly lame lame-duck president.

Before this week, the president had refused to weigh in on a public power struggle between the Indonesian police and the country’s anti-graft body, or KPK. The standoff, and the president’s silence, have sent thousands of people to the streets and millions to complain on Twitter.

Prominent politicians arrested

Investigations by the KPK have seen several prominent politicians put behind bars - including one of the president’s own in-laws.

The ad-hoc body is now investigating a case that implicates several police generals. The police have made a public show of resisting the investigation, but that has only led to growing public support for their rival.

Rallying in front of the KPK building on Monday, 34-year-old factory worker Sutarjo says Indonesians must fight for the anti-graft body.

He says he supports the KPK, so that the country will be better.  He says Indonesia cannot bear to lose the case.

Police work with KPK

So far, the police have refused to hand over evidence and have recalled all police investigators working with the KPK.

But after five police officers refused to return, the police tried to raid the KPK building last Friday, saying they had an arrest warrant for one of the officers.

Many say the alleged charges - connected to a case that was closed without controversy eight years ago - are another desperate ploy by police.

But investigating the officers has only made matters worse.

After five police officers refused to return, the police tried to raid the KPK building last Friday, saying they had an arrest warrant for one of the officers.

But many say the alleged charges - connected to a case that was closed without controversy eight years ago - is another desperate ploy by police.

Standoff, investigations continue

Aleksius Jemadu, a professor of politics at Jakarta’s Pelita Harapan University, says the standoff has long needed presidential intervention. “I think everything will depend on the president himself.  This is a critical moment for him because people have very high expectations that he will come up with a very clear solution,” Jemadu stated.

Rising to power on a strong anti-corruption platform, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono rarely speaks out in the support of the KPK.

In fact, critics regularly lambast the president for failing to take a stance on a range of critical issues from corruption to the persecution of religious minorities.

It is the reason why his national address Monday night was something of a surprise.

The president said the police should stop trying to undermine the anti-graft body, which has every right to investigate the case.

He says the investigation into one of the police officers that has chosen to stay with the KPK, is also somewhat questionable.

Yudhoyono also says he will issue an immediate regulation that will prevent police officers that work with the KPK from being arbitrarily recalled.

The police responded by saying they plan to continue their investigation, despite the criticism from the president.  

Although the standoff may continue, the public outcry and the opinion of outside analysts indicate that the anti-graft commission may, in the long run, have momentum on its side.

International monitoring body Transparency International reports that Indonesia has made significant improvements in the corruption perception index since the anti-graft commission was created.

The country has gone from the fourth-most corrupt nation in 2002, to the 100th out of 183 countries last year

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid