The fate of corruption eradication in Indonesia is hanging in the balance after as many as 75 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) employees whose integrity and dedication has been tested for years have been kicked out of the agency by KPK Chairperson Commissioner General Firli Bahuri after failing a test to become state civil servants.
Yet they are currently handling a number of big cases such as the Covid-19 social aid fund corruption case, the electronic ID card case and the legal mafia. Included among the sacked employees is senior investigator Novel Baswedan.
Through his Twitter account, Baswedan is articulating his attitude to the arbitrary actions by Bahuri through the hashtag #BeraniJujurPecat (#BraveHonestSacked), a play on the KPK hashtag #BeraniJujurHebat (#BraveHonestFormidable).
"A portrait of corruption eradication in this country. #BeraniJujurPecat", tweeted Baswedan on Thursday May 13.
The hashtag has been circulating since yesterday through social media accounts including WhatsApp. Baswedan's tweet has attracted support on Twitter from those who are also critical of the sacking of the 75 KPK employees.
Former KPK chairperson and head of the Islamic mass organisations Muhammadiyah's legal and human rights division, Busyro Muqoddas, said that the weakening of the KPK is a consequence of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's weakness in eradicating corruption.
"From these criticisms my conclusion is like this, that the non-activation of 75 KPK employees through the civics test reinforces my earlier statements, namely that in the hands of President Jokowi the corruption eradication system has been toppled", said Muqoddas on Wednesday May 12.
The 75 employees were made non-active based on KPK leadership notification letter Number 652/2021 signed by Bahuri on May 7. As a result, the sacked employees must surrender any pending investigations to the KPK leadership.
The civics test or nationalism test (TWK) is part of the administrative process of transforming all KPK employees into civil servants as mandated by the amended KPK law. According to Firli Bahuri, the test aims to ensure employees' allegiance to state ideology Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution and the legitimate government, and to ensure that no KPK employees belong to any government banned organisations. The test involved various intelligence agencies, the National Civil Administrative Agency, the Army and the National Counter-Terrorism Agency. It is widely believed that the test is being used by the KPK leadership to rid itself of employees who have been most outspoken in opposition to the weakening of the KPK.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Novel Baswedan Gaungkan #BeraniJujurPecat".]