Anti-graft group says Widodo doesn’t understand fight against corruption

Java Post – January 18, 2020
Wahyu Setiawan’s office sealed off by KPK – January 9, 2020 (Antara)

Muhammad Ridwa – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) regrets a statement by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo who said that Law Number 19/2019 on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has not weakened the fight against corruption.

Widodo said this was proved by the KPK conducting sting operations (OTT) against Sidoarjo Regent Saiful Ilah and General Elections Commission (KPU) Commissioner Wahyu Setiawan.

“This statement further illustrates that the president (Jokowi) really does not understand the current situation in the fight against corruption”, said ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana in a press release on Saturday January 18.

Ramadhana said that it has been proven that the revised KPK law has weaken the KPK’s performance. This can be seen from its failure to carry out a raid on Widodo’s ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) headquarters in Jakarta.

“Yet under the old KPK Law an urgent raid could have been done without first having to get a warrant from a district court. Because of the revisions to the law however the process is much slower because they must go through the KPK Supervisory Board for authorisation”, said Ramadhana.

Ramadhana cannot help thinking about why Widodo said that the KPK is still strong despite the revisions to the KPK Law. In his view, the main actor in weakening the KPK is actually President Widodo himself.

“The important thing is that President Joko Widodo is one of the main actors aside from the DPR [House of Representatives] who have made the conditions for fighting corruption difficult”, he said.

Earlier, Widodo down played concerns about the weakening of the KPK’s performance under the revised KPK law. Widodo cited two recent sting operations carried out by the KPK as evidence that the KPK is still has teeth.

“The evidence I would cite is that the KPK is conducting OTT, from regents to the KPU, even though the [KPK’s] commissioners are still new, the [supervisory] board is still new”, said Widodo at the Presidential Palace complex in Central Jakarta on Friday January 17.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “ICW: Presiden Tak Memahami Kondisi Pemberantasan Korupsi”.]