Jakarta — During the 2014 presidential election campaigns Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo brought renewed optimism in the public when he declared his plan to launch large-scale anti-corruption campaigning if elected. He declared that corruption could seriously disrupt the country’s social, cultural, economic, and democratic systems.
On this, after taking office as president in October 2014, an increasing number of government officials and lawmakers were prosecuted and sent to jail. Still, many people, possibly including the President himself, questioned whether the legal action against those people had really helped to curb the widespread and deeply rooted corruption in the vast archipelago country.
Such questions are due to the prospect of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and other anti-graft bodies arresting more corruption suspects in the coming months and years. They may include members of the country’s representative bodies.
Since 2015, there has been an upward trend of the number of House of Representatives (DPR) members, provincial council (DPRD I) members and members of district/city representative bodies (DPRD II) being prosecuted and jailed. Meanwhile, the Jokowi government was perceived by some as failing to meaningfully address the long-held public suggestions that the nation needs qualified DPR and DPRD members who do not use their positions merely to accumulate wealth for themselves and for their political organizations.
From January to May of this year, the KPK declared 61 members of DPR and DPRD II as corruption suspects. Out of the 61 people, 20 were DPR members while the remaining 41 were Malang council members in East Java, according to a Kompas.com report.
For many across the nation, what happened in Malang in September this year was the latest instance perceived to be the most stunning. At that time as many as 22 members of the city council (DPRD II) simultaneously became suspects in a gratuity case. They added to the 19 councilors of the city previously declared as suspects by the KPK for the same reason. Currently, all the 41 city councilors are being held pending further legal processes.
In order to prevent the city administration from being paralyzed, Malang administration leaders have asked the central government for directives. Existing laws stipulate temporary replacement of DPRD members, but such replacement must be decided in a plenary session of the city council. Malang is the second largest city in East Java after Surabaya.
Meanwhile, last Friday (2/11), the KPK detained DPR Vice Chairman Taufiq Kurniawan for alleged bribery. His questioning had been in the news in the previous weeks. In April of this year, DPR chairman Setya Novanto was sentenced to 15 years in prison for being involved in an e-ID card project scam.
In fact, the Malang case, the detention of Taufiq Kurniawan and the imprisonment of Setya Novanto only corroborated a survey that was conducted by Transparency International. Published last year, the survey’s results showed that 54 percent of Indonesians thought that the DPR was Indonesia’s most corrupt institution.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of Indonesians perceived that provincial councils (DPRD I) and district/city councils (DPRD II) were also among the most corrupt bodies in the country, also according to Transparency International as reported by Indonesia-investment.com.
According to a Katadata.co.id report, in 2014 nine members of DPR and DPRD were prosecuted for corruption. The number rose to 19 in 2015 and 23 in 2016. And, after falling to 20 in 2017, it rose again to 61 in 2018.
All those numbers compared with two only in 2007, which then increased to seven in 2008, eight in 2009 and 27 in 2010. In 2011, it dropped to five before rising again to 18 in 2012. It fell to eight in 2013, Katadata.co.id said.
Indonesia will simultaneously vote for president and vice president, DPR members and members of DPRD I and DPRD II in 19 April 2019. The simultaneous elections will be the first ever held in Indonesia’s history. The election campaigning period officially started from 23 September of this year and will end on 13 April 2019, or three days before the elections.
A total of 16 political parties are competing for the upcoming elections to win enough votes for representative seats as well as for president and vice president. President Jokowi and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin are contesting against Prabowo Subianto and his partner Sandiaga Uno.
Former army general Prabowo narrowly lost to Jokowi in the 2014 presidential election. The Prabowo-Sandiaga duo and their supporters are loudly crying out that the Jokowi government had failed to curb corruption as promised. They said Indonesia needs stronger leaders.