Jokowi can't wash his hands of KPK polemic by dumping sacked staff on police: Amnesty

Source – September 30, 2021
The 57 KPK employees gather in front of the KPK building in Jakarta – Undated (Kompas)

Tatang Guritno, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid says that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo cannot just wash his hands of the polemic over the dismissal of 57 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) employees.

Hamid believes that the plan by Indonesian police (Polri) chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo to recruit all of the KPK employees who failed to pass the civics knowledge or nationalism test (TWK) will not resolve the problem.

"President Jokowi cannot wash his hands of the TWK problem by placing the KPK employees with the police", said Hamid in a press release on Thursday September 30.

"If these employees are considered competent enough to work at Polri then there should be no grounds to prevent them working at the KPK", he said.

Hamid said that Prabowo's plan will not automatically resolve the problem of the TWK which was riddled with human rights violations.

"Placing the KPK employees who were deemed to have failed the TWK as ASN [state civil servants] in the ranks of the national police will not automatically address the human rights volitions which occurred during the TWK process", he said.

As has been reported, based on the results of an investigation by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), there were alleged human rights violations in the process of transforming the status of the KPK employees to become state civil servants through the TWK.

Hamid believes that the discourse about recruiting the KPK employees as state civil servants with the police actually shows that the TWK was invalid in the first place.

"How is it possible for employees who were deemed to not have enough of a conception of nationalism to work at the KPK but be deemed to have fulfilled the requirements to work at Polri?", he said.

Because of this, said Hamid, it would be better if President Widodo annul the results of the TWK rather than recruiting the 57 to work in the police. "And restore their status as KPK employees", added Hamid.

Thursday September 30 was the final day for the 57 non-active employees to work at the KPK. They marked their last day by holding a farewell action and marching together from the KPK's red and white building to the KPK's Anticorruption Learning Center (ACLC) in Jakarta.

They also held a symbolic action by discarding their employment ID cards on the grounds of the KPK building then immortalising their final moments in photographs with the place where they had worked for years and years as the background.

A number of non-government organisations (NGO) from the Anti-Corruption Civil Society Coalition still hope that President Widodo will take immediate action on the issue.

Based on a ruling by the Supreme Court on a judicial review of KPK Regulation Number 1/2021, following up on the results of the TWK is up to the government.

In addition to this, the results of an examination by the Indonesian Ombudsman found that there was maladministration during the KPK employee assessment process.

Meanwhile the results of an investigation by the Komnas HAM found 11 types of human rights violations in the administration of the TWK.

The Komnas HAM has recommended that Widodo restore the status of the KPK employees who were declared to have failed to meet the requirements to become state civil servants. The president was also asked to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the TWK process.


According to reports by CNN Indonesia on Thursday there were demonstrations in support of the KPK employees and calling for President Widodo to intervine in several cities across Indonesia including in Jakarta, where students demonstrated in front of the KPK building, in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang, where the protest was forcibly broken up by police, in Padang, West Sumatra, where students rallied at the regional parliament, and in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar, where protesters held a ritual to ward of misfortune.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Minta Jokowi Tak Cuci Tangan soal Pemecatan Pegawai KPK".]