Transparency International writes to Jokowi on dismissal of KPK employees

CNN Indonesia – July 7, 2021
Novel Baswedan (2nd left) and KPK employees protest KPK Law revisions – Undated (Gatra)

Jakarta – Transparency International (TI) has sent a letter to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo asking him to cancel the dismissal of non-active Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan and scores of other KPK employee who failed to pass the nationalism or civic knowledge test (TWK).

The letter was sent on July 1 and signed by Transparency International Chief Executive Officer Daniel Erikson.

"We share our concerns with prominent civil society actors throughout Indonesia, including Transparency International Indonesia, other NGOs [non-government organisations], academics and journalists, and lend our voice to those asking President Jokowi to reprimand the [KPK] commissioners and cancel of the dismissal of the KPK employees", said Erikson in the letter on Wednesday July 7.

Erikson said that they are concerned about developments in the effort to eradicate corruption in Indonesia since the revisions to the KPK Law in 2019. He said that the revisions to the KPK Law were unnecessary because the KPK as an anti-corruption organisation had been working effectively.

"Over the last two years we have seen sustained threats against its independence and effectiveness", he said.

Transparency International's concerns grew following the dismissal of 51 KPK employees in the process of transforming them into state civil servants (ASN). Meanwhile the KPK employees who passed the TWK were still inaugurated as civil servants on June 1. Erikson said that the dismissal conflicts with statements made by Widodo.

"The latest moves to dismiss staff who failed the civil service test, including among them senior investigators, and inaugurate the others on June 1, conflicts with statements by the presidential office", he said.

Erikson believes that Widodo as the president has the authority to intervene and restore the mandate of reformasi – referring to the political reform movement that began in 1998. One of the mandates of reformasi which was highlighted was the eradication of corruption.

"Transparency International urges President Joko Widodo to use his executive authority to initiate a reversal of the destruction of reformasi and to ensure the KPK's capacity to carry out its vital role, in complying with Indonesia's international commitments", he said.

Transparency International also called on Widodo to assist in restoring public trust in the KPK.

According to Erikson, an anti-corruption agency which is strong, effective and independent can help Indonesian growth and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the KPK leadership rejected a request by non-active KPK employees to revoke or cancel a coordinating meeting report following up on the TWK assessment results on changing the status of KPK employees to state civil servants.

In the report referred to and dated May 25, it said that 51 KPK employees who had failed to pass the TWK will be honorably discharged on November 1, 2021.

Another 24 employees meanwhile, who also failed the test but were deemed able to become civil servants, will undergo national defense and nationalism training and education by July at the latest. (yla/psp)


The so-call civics test or nationalism test (TWK) is part of the administrative process of transforming all KPK employees into civil servants as mandated by the revised KPK law. According to KPK Chairperson Firli Bahuri, the test aimed 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 was used by the KPK leadership to rid itself of employees who have been most outspoken over the weakening of the KPK and who oppose Bahuri's leadership.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Transparency International Surati Jokowi soal TWK Pegawai KPK".]