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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid