Security chief claims they can’t do anything about law enforcement’s bad image

Detik News – September 18, 2020
Viral video of traffic cop exhorting money from motorist in Jakarta – January 19, 2015 (Tempo)

Nur Azizah Rizki Astuti. Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD said Wednesday that law enforcement in Indonesia has a terrible image. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) responded by citing the may flawed legal cases under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration.

“In practice up until now the public has not seen any serious effort by the president to fix law enforcement. In concrete cases for example, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has never evaluated Polri’s [the national police] performance in dealing with the [2017] acid attack against [senior Corruption Eradication Commission investigator] Novel Baswedan. Yet there have been too many irregularities which are clearly apparent to the public”, ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana told journalists on Thursday September 17.

According to Ramadhana, law enforcement has performed poorly under Widodo’s administration, particularly with regard to corruption. Ramadhana said that the commitment to uphold good law enforcement and eradicating corruption which are so often touted by the government is just an illusion.

“The criticism about law enforcement, especially with regard to eradicating corruption, has in fact occurred during the era of President Joko Widodo. Professor Mahfud MD should know this. I’ve give an example, in 2019, President Joko Widodo was one of the main actors in weakening the KPK, starting from the selection of the KPK leadership, which was full of controversy, to enacting revisions to the KPK law”, he said.

Ramadhana also said he does not agree with Mahfud’s statement they he and Widodo are unable to do anything about the bad face of law enforcement. According to Ramadhana, this is just a cliché justification and excuse.

“It must be remembered that President Joko Widodo is not just the head of government, but also the head of state. The entire law enforcement structure is under the president’s leadership. Of course the public doesn’t want President Joko Widodo to sit down with investigators to formulate ideas, sit down with prosecutors and formulate indictments, and sit down with judges to formulate rulings”, said Ramadhana.

“But if there are irregularities in law enforcement, the President must summon his subordinates, namely the Kapolri [national police chief] and the Attorney General, to demand accountability. So don't equivocate again about limited authority. This an excuse that is very cliché”, he asserted.

Earlier, Mahfud said that law enforcement in Indonesia has a bad image in society and needs improvement. He made the remarks during a working meeting with Attorney General ST Burhanuddin and his staff yesterday.

“The image of our law enforcement in society is terrible, [people fear being] squeezed for money, being arrested, and so forth. [But] I can’t do anything, the president can’t do anything, because we all have limited authority. Because of this what’s needed is guidance and morality”, said Mahfud in a statement received by on Wednesday September 16. (azr/zap)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Mahfud Sebut ‘Kesan Penegakan Hukum Jelek’, ICW Ungkit Kasus Novel-UU KPK”.]