Top minister claims drop in prosecutions shows graft prevention efforts working

Source – July 18, 2023
Pandjaitan speaking to reporters in Jakarta following Jakarta-Bandung fast train test – June 22, 2023 (Kompas)

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan says he disagrees with the view that the decline in Indonesia's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is because of the lack of prosecutions by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Pandjaitan believes the decline in the number of prosecutions by the KPK does in fact signify an improvement in the prevention of corruption cases.

"Yes, this I think isn't true. The prosecution of cases has declined because the system has improved, [people] can's be corrupt and can't steal [anymore]", said Pandjaitan at the KPK's Red-and-White Building in South Jakarta on Tuesday July 18.

He also said that the KPK's performance at the moment has in fact improved because it is carrying out prevention and saving on state spending.

Likewise with the system, which Pandjaitan says has increased state tax revenue. "It's gotten better, there's been savings. Our tax [revenue] has risen by as much as 47 [percent]", he said.

Earlier, Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) said that one of the reasons that Indonesia's CPI has dropped is because of the failure to reform law enforcement and prosecute corruption cases.

This conclusion is based on the KPK's own data which shows that its level of activity experienced a drastic decline since 2020, ranging from criminal investigations, indictments and other important indicators such as sting operations (OTT).

Although this decline is understandable due to changes in law enforcement procedures which have resulted in blunting law enforcement efforts.

Indonesia's CPI declined by four points, from 38 in 2021 to 34 in 2022. In addition to this, Indonesia's ranking also dropped by 14 places, from 96 to 110. A score of 0 shows a country that is corrupt, while a score of 100 means a country is free of corruption.

Compared with other Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia's CPI is far below that of Singapore which scored 83 points, Malaysia with 47 points, East Timor and Vietnam with 42 points and Thailand with 36 points.

Indonesia scored the same as the Philippines with 34 points also but  slightly better then Laos with 31 points, Cambodia with 24 points and Myanmar with 23 points.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Luhut: Penindakan KPK Turun karena Sistemnya Semakin Bagus, Tak Bisa Korupsi".]