I am very encouraged to read today’s article on fighting corruption in Indonesia. We have heard so much about how corrupt the country is that many foreign investors shy away from her despite being blessed with bountiful natural resources. The International companies that still come to the country have to fork out substantial amount of money to appease those officials they have to deal with.
Suffice to say, ultimately it is the poor rakyat (citizens) who suffer from this menace with high cost of living, everything needs money before you can get things done etcetera. The cycle of corruption is vicious in which the poor becomes poorer and the rich becomes richer. The cycle will only break with the revolution of the oppressed… like the Arab Spring with so many unnecessary deaths. This should not be our way because we have so much to lose.
So Indonesian President SBY’s fresh efforts to eliminate corruption in his country is admirable. And more admirable is the way they are doing it that is by harnessing the power of the young people, the grassroots. Get them to drum this corruption scourge up. Reminds me of the activities of the young Red Guards (cadres) during Mao Zedong’s era…. very effective and very efficient, Jesus Christ, They were! Sweeping all of China.
This is what Malaysia should do as well for good purposes that is. Get the young people to be aware of the bad consequences of corruption and show their commitment. We don’t want our young people to think that corruption is normal and that’s the way to go to line your pockets. The detention of young Malaysian Immigration Officers for corrupt practices is worrying. Imagine if they are not caught, you are looking at about 30 years of “corrupt service” what more if our government decides to extend their retirement age to 60!
Come PM Najib use the community to help you to reduce corruption in this country if you are really sincere in your efforts at transforming Malaysia through ETP (Economic Tranformation Programme).
I would like to re-post the article here in my blog :
INDONESIANS TAKING CORRUPTION FIGHT SERIOUSLY
By Johan Jaafar
THE ever critical Tempo came out with a lead story on gabenur (governors) and bupati (regents) who allegedly got involved in dubious business deals that made some of them very rich.
The title “Rekening Gendut Kepala Daerah” (Fat bank accounts of provincial heads) hit the stands in the third week of July. The report named names. It cited figures from Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Kewangan (the unit monitoring the country’s financial transactions) that until May this year, out of 3,393 “dubious transactions” involving office-bearers, 308 were said to be “problematic” (read potentially corrupt).
Tempo has had a long, glorious history as an audacious magazine since its inception in 1971. Its former editor, Goenawan Mohamad, is a legend. Tempo was banned many times during the Suharto era. Today, Tempo is not alone in fighting corruption.
True, there is a massive debate on how the Indonesian press is handling its newfound unprecedented freedom, but one thing is certain — the fight against corruption is taking centre stage. The press is on a crusade to highlight corruption cases and corrupt practices.
Indonesians have woken up from a long period of apathy towards corruption. The popular phrase bisa diatur, pak (can be arranged, sir) has taken a different dimension with the connotation of “money speaks”.
Not any more. Everywhere you go in Indonesia today, you’ll notice young people wearing T-shirts that read “Sang Koruptor, Apa Agamamu?” (Mr Corrupt, What is your religion?), “Laluan Lansung Ke Neraka: Menjadi Korup” (Sure way to hell: be corrupt), “Katakan Tidak Pada Korupsi” (Say no to corruption).
The last phrase was adopted by one of the political parties, Parti Demokrat, as its anti-corruption pledge. People are taking poverty eradication seriously. Little wonder that in his first presidential speech at Istana Merdeka on Oct 20, 2004, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a promise to ensure a clean government and eradication of corruption, and to personally lead the effort.
Ironically, a recent high-profile case involves the former treasurer of his own party, Parti Demokrat. How the case is handled is being scrutinised as never before.
Muhammad Nazaruddin is now a fugitive after being named a suspect by Komisi Pencegahan Korupsi or KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission) in an alleged bribery case in Palembang.
Nazaruddin apparently does not want to go down alone. He, too, has been pointing fingers at others in the party, particularly chairman Anas Urbaningrum and Youth Affairs Minister Andi Mallarangeng.
The country is still reeling from a case involving the former head of KPK, Antasari Azhar, a feared graftbuster who fell victim as a result of his tenacious methods. He lost his job spectacularly in 2009.
Antasari was accused of being an accomplice to a murder, a charge most Indonesians find hard to believe. The case involving him and a young woman (a caddy) and another lover is more intriguing than any sinetron (Indonesian TV serial).
The Nazaruddin case has placed KPK in a very awkward position. There have been calls to disband KPK for its ineffectiveness in handling the case. Marzuki Alie, head of the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (People’s Representative Council) has openly castigated KPK, saying that it had lost its credibility. The public is perplexed as to how Nazaruddin could have left the country a day before he was formally charged. KPK for now has very little explanation to offer.
In fact, Marzuki suggested a contrarian approach to weed out corruption — pardon the corrupt. Invite them home if they have absconded but make them pay pajak (tax) on the amount they have taken. And they must not repeat the crime, for the next course of action would be to mete out the death penalty.
He believes this is a win-win situation for the people and the corrupt. He also suggested more vigilant monitoring of financial transactions. His suggestions have been labelled farfetched and unrealistic by some factions.
The head of the Muhammadiyah movement, Din Syamsuddin, chipped in to say that corruption was becoming chronic in the country. The government is fighting it “half-heartedly”, he claimed. He said the crusade promised by the government so far was merely lip service and rhetoric.
However, the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia still has faith in the president, in so far as there is no pelanggaran konstitusi (infraction of the constitution).
There is another element to corruption in Indonesia — the number of women involved. The most influential daily, Kompas, came out with an article recently on “Perempuan dan Korupsi” (Women and corruption) by Neta S. Pane of Indonesia Police Watch. The piece argues that while women the world over are making headlines as heads of government, in Indonesia a substantial number are being charged with corruption.
According to him, in 2008, of the 22 corruption cases, only two involved women. This year, several women faced charges of corruption, among the more spectacular being Artalyta Suryani, Harini Wiyoso, Nunun Nurbaeti Buron, Melinda Dee, Mindo Rosalina Manulang (in the same case involving Nazaruddin), Imas Dianasari (a former judge), and among policy makers, Ni Luh Mariani Tirtasari and Miranda Goeltom.
There are also lesser known cases involving women in the provinces.
Pane finds it perplexing that despite the findings of the 1999 World Bank Report on “Corruption and Women in Government” that women are less prone to the temptation, more Indonesian women are finding themselves involved in the practice.
Shame has always been the deterrent, according to him, but the realities of modern living have changed that.
Pane invokes the memory of great Indonesian women who fought for independence, justice and women’s rights without having to resort to corrupt means. Nyi Ageng Serang, Cut Nya Dhien, Malahayati, Martha Christina Tiahahu, Kartini and Dewi Sartika were involved in women’s struggles and manifested it best through their personal values. Women are supposed to be exemplary mothers and teachers. “So when women are caught for corrupt cases, the country is saddened,” he intones.
Corruption knows neither gender nor creed. The fact that the Indonesian press and civil groups are championing its eradication is a good move forward. Political parties and politicians are taking notice.
The president, unfazed by what happened in his own party, is standing firm by his initial pronouncement to fight what many believe is an unwinnable war against corruption.
What is happening in Indonesia today is worth watching closely.