Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) says that the statement by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menkopolhukam) Mahfud MD on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's desire to issue a Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) in 2019 to annul revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law are just to garner public sympathy.
This was conveyed by ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana in response to Mahfud's statement during a discussion on the Rocky Gerung Criticises podcast on the RGTV channel ID on Wednesday October 19.
"So, enough already, whatever is conveyed by the Menkopolhukam in relation to the president's position will not change the public's minds that the anti-corruption issue was just used as a tool by the president to garner public sympathy during the [presidential election] campaign period", Ramadhana told Kompas.com on Friday October 21.
"After he was elected, instead of pursuing it, the president instead bonsai-ed corruption eradication in Indonesia", he reiterated.
Ramadhana said that he cannot understand what the intent was behind Mahfud's statement about the president's position on revisions to the KPK Law and uproar of the civics knowledge test (TWK) which ended with the termination of [senior KPK] investigator Novel Baswedan and scores of other employees at the anti-graft agency.
He believes that the formulation of legislation, such as the revisions to the KPK Law, was not just worked on by the House of Representatives (DPR), but rather was in cooperation with the government.
"So, don't depict the president as if he didn't agree with the substance of the KPK Law revisions", said Ramadhana.
"For us, both the DPR as well as the president are the same. Both institutions were the masterminds behind the downfall of the principle corruption eradication agency [in the country]", said the anti-graft activist.
Furthermore, Ramadhana is of the view that if the president's plan to issue a Perppu to annul the KPK Law revisions was true and there was a threat from the DPR, then ICW's conclusion is that that President Widodo has no courage or was afraid to confront the politicians at Senayan, as the parliament is known.
"Put simply, the president only accommodated the voices of senior political party figures, rather than the wishes of the ordinary people on the issue of corruption eradication", he said.
Earlier, Mahfud revealed that president Widodo had once asked that the new KPK Law be annulled. According to Mahfud, Widodo was prepared to annul the law by means of issuing a Perppu.
"When the president wanted to make a Perppu on the KPK, I still remember, yeah. The president (said) 'enough already, let's make a Perppu to annul the (KPK) law'", said Mahfud on the Rocky Gerung podcast.
However, said Mahfud, Widodo's instruction was never realised because of threats by DPR members from Commission III, namely by politician Arsul Sani and his colleagues.
The Commission III members threatened not to approve the Perppu. According to Mahfud, if that had happened, then the cases being handled by the KPK would no longer have any legal basis.
"People's didn't know, yeah, the President was already thinking that he wanted to issue a Perppu but as soon as the Perppu was issued Arsul Sani from the DPR and his colleagues, [were saying] if the Perppu is issued we'll reject it", said Mahfud.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahfud Sebut Jokowi Pernah Ingin Terbitkan Perppu KPK, ICW Nilai Hanya Cari Simpati".]