Graft watchdog proposes two options to restore KPK to its former glory

Source – December 27, 2021
Corruption Eradication Commission logo on KPK building in South Jakarta – July 13, 2018 (Kompas)

Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) believes that the Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) performance has declined over the last two years.

ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana says the decline in the anti-graft agency's performance has been apparent since the revisions to the KPK Law in 2019.

"We have arrived at the conclusion that the collapse of the KPK this time round has indeed been further confirmed by two things, namely new KPK Law and the new KPK commissioners", said Ramadhana during an event titled "A Two Year Evaluation of the KPK's Performance and its Implications for the Natural Resources Sector" on Monday December 27.

According to Ramadhana, no self-improvement within the anti-graft agency has been seen over the last two years.

Rather, KPK employees who are considered to be of high integrity were dismissed through the civic knowledge or nationalism test (TWK) on the pretext of transferring their status to state civil servants (ASN).

"No performance improvement in terms of prosecutions or claims of good [corruption] prevention, but in fact creating a chaotic situation which was unnecessary by sacking or dismissing 57 KPK employees", said Ramadhana.

"The forms of this weakening have become clearer. If before [attempts at] weakening [the agency] came from outside the KPK, today it it's from within the KPK, namely by the KPK leadership", he said.

Ramadhana said that ethical violations by two KPK leaders also further downgraded the KPK's image in the public's eye.

He also believes that it is appropriate that survey institutes since KPK Chairperson Firli Bahuri took over the leadership have not shown any improvement in public trust in the KPK but in fact this trust has declined.

"Over the last three months there have [been surveys by] Litbang Kompas, Indikator, Charta Poltika. If it was just one agency perhaps there was a margin of error, but all of them are saying so [the same thing], meaning the error is with the KPK, not the survey institutions", said Ramadhana.

With the decline in the KPK's performance, ICW has concluded that it will be difficult for the KPK to return to the way it was. Nevertheless, ICW is of the view that there are two options to restore the KPK to its former glory.

First, in 2023 the KPK no longer has problematic people in it. Second, during future political contestations there will be a candidate who offers to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to annul the new KPK Law.

"These two methods cannot be negotiated, taking only one won't be enough to restore the KPK to its former self", said Ramadhana.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Nilai Kinerja KPK Menurun dalam 2 Tahun Terakhir".]