Jokowi, lawmakers and police have joined forces to cripple the KPK: Amnesty

CNN Indonesia – October 20, 2019
Amnesty International Executive Director Usman Hamid. (CNN Indonesia)
Amnesty International Executive Director Usman Hamid. (CNN Indonesia)

Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia Director Usman Hamid says that it will be difficult to stop the current attempt to weaken the fight against corruption by crippling the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

This is because there are three important actors involved, namely the political parties, the government and the police, all of which have the same interest in undermining the work of the anti-graft agency.

“This attack on the KPK is the one which will be most difficult to stop. In the attack on the KPK chapter one, the cicak verses buaya [the gecko verses the crocodile affair in 2009], it was able to be defeated because the fight then was just between the KPK and conservative and corrupt elements in the national police”, said Hamid during a discussion titled Demanding Justice of Novel Baswedan and Saving the KPK in Jakarta on Saturday October 19.

On the government’s side, Hamid said that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is trying to open the doors to massive investment. One of the things obstructing this is the presence of the KPK which has arrested many officials from private companies as well as bureaucrats who have played dirty and damaged the environment.

“The political parties are also in on this, many senior political party officials are afraid of the KOK. Likewise the many police generals who feel threatened by the KPK”, said Hamid.

“This time round the crocodile is not alone but has become a hoard of crocodiles attacking the same gecko”, added Hamid.

Speaking in the same vein, Press Council member Arif Zulkifli says that he has seen no positive signs that President Widodo will issue a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to annul the recently revised KPK Law (UU KPK).

“Yet we all know full well that often when the government plans to do something which is good, even though it’s confidential, usually it’s leaked to give a positive gesture to the public. Now, this is not what we have seen [with the Perppu]”, he said.

Zulkifli, who is also a chief editor with Tempo Magazine, suspects Widodo is ignoring the case because he has too much faith in his ability to fix the controversies which have surfaced in the lead up to his inauguration today.

“What worries me is that he (Jokowi) is over confident that everything will go as he wants, even the student demonstrations can be dealt with”, added Zulkifli.

Yet, he added, weakening the KPK will in fact threaten the very development projects that Widodo is seeking to pursue over the next five years. Basically these projects will be hampered by corruption.

“For me it is this which in fact threatens what the president himself wants, namely a government that advances on all economic development programs”, said Zulkifli accusingly. (ika/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tiga ‘Aktor’ Bersatu, Pelemahan KPK Disebut Sulit Dibendung”.]