Government claims if Jokowi intervenes in KPK it would be like Suharto's New Order

CNN Indonesia – September 29, 2021
Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman speaking to reporters – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman says that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will not intervene in the dismissal of 56 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) employees because it is an internal matter for the anti-graft agency.

He also claimed that Widodo is obeying the law and holds the KPK's methods in the highest regard.

"This country is a constitutional state. The president cannot interfere in every affair. Later it will be like the New Order [regime of former president Suharto] again", said Rachman when speaking on the CNN Indonesia TV Newsroom program on Wednesday September 29.

Rachman said that Widodo has not remained silent and has wracking his brains to find a way to protect top KPK investigator Novel Baswedan and his colleagues.

He said that the solution which has been chosen is to recruit the 56 KPK employees as civil servants (ASN) with the national police, saying this option is in accordance with Article 4 Paragraph (1) of Government Regulation Number 17/2020 on the authority of the president to transfer ASNs.

"His position is not to interfere in the KPK's integral affairs because in practice they will be recruited after they are no longer part of the KPK's staff", said Rachman.

The 57 KPK employees who failed the civics knowledge or nationalism test (TWK) will be honorably discharged on September 30. One of the 57 has since reached retirement age.

A number of civil society organisations have urged Widodo to take action bearing in mind that the KPK is now part of the executive branch which is headed by the president. In addition to this, the president has the authority to this because of his status as administrative officer of the civil service.

Today, representatives of civil society organisations went to the Presidential Palace in Jakarta to deliver 1,505 letters from the public asking Widodo to stop the dismissal of the 56 KPK employees. (ain)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jokowi Diminta Campuri Urusan KPK, Jubir Sebut Bak Orde Baru\".]