Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has criticised President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo State of the Nation Address at the 2022 annual session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on the issue of eradicating corruption.
In his address, Widodo claimed that corruption eradication was the government's main priority and as a result several big corruption cases had been solved. ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana believes that what was conveyed by the head of state is the complete opposite of reality.
"By in large, the president is trying his very best to cover up the government's rotten track record by saying that the eradication of corruption continues to be its main priority. Yet the facts are the exact opposite", Ramadhana told Kompas.com on Tuesday August 16.
"The issue of corruption eradication has been increasingly sidelined, even brought down completely during the era of President Joko Widodo's leadership", he said.
Ramadhana believes that the strongest piece of evidence that corruption eradication has been sidelined is the state of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which has been left brushed, battered and without direction. According to Ramadhana, this occurred after the KPK Law was revised in 2019.
"Don't forget, the KPK's fall occurred because the president's unclear stand, starting with revising the KPK Law through to selecting ethics violators for its leadership", he said.
"As a consequence, public trust in the anti-graft agency has collapsed. Is this the kind of political and legal stand on corruption eradication that the president is boasting about?", he asked.
Furthermore, ICW also criticised Widodo's narrative about the Corruption Perception Index (IPK), as if seeing a rise of one point is a glowing achievement. Yet, said Ramadhana, during Widodo's era Indonesia's IPK declined from 40 to 37 in 2020.
"It's important to note, the phenomena of a decline in the IPK never occurred before 2008. So a figure of 38 actually means a step back, because it is still two points lower than what was achieved in 2019", said the anti-corruption activist.
"Never mind the issue of legislation, where President Joko Widodo's role was absolutely minimal in producing a law which supported corruption eradication", he continued.
ICW believes that in the eight years of President Widodo's administration not one piece of legislation has been ratified which has strengthened corruption eradication.
This includes the Draft Law on the Seizure of Assets, the Draft Law on Cash Transactions as well as the Draft Law on Corruption Crimes. The worry is that the laws which have been ratified have instead clipped the wings of corruption eradication, such as the revisions to the KPK Law.
"So, what was conveyed by President Joko Widodo in relation to the issue of corruption eradication at the MPR's 2022 annual session was just dressed up and grandiose when it was read as the text of a speech, but when it's compared with the facts and reality it will make the public furrow their brows", said Ramadhana.
In his address to the MPR Widodo claimed that corruption eradication is the government's main priority. He also highlighted several big corruption case which had been solved by law enforcement officials recently.
"Big corruption at [the state insurance company] Jiwasraya, [the military insurance company] Asabri and Garuda [Indonesia Airways] have been solved, and a total reform has already begun", said Widodo in his speech at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Tuesday afternoon.
According to Widodo, the recovery of state assets which have been delayed such as the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support Scheme (BLBI) corruption scandal are still being pursued and are now showing results. This can be seen from the increase in the IPK and the Anti-Corruption Behaviour Index.
"The Corruption Perception Index score from Transparansi Internasional, rose from 37 to 38 in 2021", said Widodo. "The Anti-Corruption Behaviour Index from the BPS [National Statistics Agency] has also risen, from 3.88 to 3.93 in 2022", he said.
Widodo also said that legal, social, political and economic protections for the people must continue to be strengthened and asserted that the law must be upheld a fairly as possible without discrimination.
"Likewise also with corruption eradication, it also continues to be a main priority", said the head of state.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Kritik Pidato Jokowi Terkait Isu Pemberantasan Korupsi".]