Efforts to weaken the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) reoccur. In the plenary meeting on Thursday (9/5), all factions of the House of Representatives (DPR) approved the proposed revision of the KPK Law No. 30/2002 into a bill.
The decision-making process only takes five minutes. Each faction usually conveys its opinion verbally, but this time it was done in writing to the DPR leaders.
The revision shocked and confused the public. The change of the law was not included in the planned discussion of the DPR Legislative Body (Baleg) and the Law and Human Rights Ministry. It was not even included in the bill of the 2019 Priority National Legislation Program.
All factions suddenly agreed to revise the KPK Law in a closed meeting of the Legislation Body, which was held Tuesday night on September 3, 2019. The proposal was then taken to a plenary session to be approved as a DPR initiative bill.
The revision of the law has been suspended for two years. In 2017, its discussion was stopped due to many public rejections.
There are at least nine controversial things in the revision of the law, and it is not in line with the KPK independence. However, there was no correction, the articles reappeared.
This bill is likely to cripple the work of the anti-corruption commission. “We have to inform the public that the KPK is now at stake,” KPK Chairman Agus Rahardjo said on Thursday (9/5) night.
Anti-corruption activists agreed with his statement. “It can be seen as a consolidated evil measure to weaken the KPK as an institution,” Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) Political Division Coordinator Donal Fariz said.
For Transparency International Indonesia (TII), the revision is real proof that the DPR ignores the fact that Indonesia is still part of the 30 percent of the most corrupt countries in the world. Moreover, efforts to eradicate corruption in Indonesia tend to be stagnant in the last four years.
It is reflected in the Corruption Perception Index, which has always scored no more than 40 since 2015. “This score is still far from the target at 50 for 2019 initiated by the government and the KPK,” TII Secretary General Dadang Trisasongko wrote in a statement.
The main factor of stagnation is the rise of corruption in the political system through election vote transactions, money politics, kleptocracy, and bribery practices in the business sector.
Controversial Points in the KPK Bill
In a press conference, Agus said nine points in the KPK Bill could potentially weaken the antigraft body. First, the KPK independence is under threat as it will be turned into a central government agency. Its employees are included in the category of the state civil apparatus (ASN).
Second, wiretapping is being complicated as it can only be done after obtaining permission from the Supervisory Board. It also has a three-month time limit. In handling sophisticated corruption cases, the KPK usually needs more time.
Third, the DPR will select the of KPK Supervisory Board members. This adds to the length of the bureaucracy. Not only wiretapping, even searches and seizures must also be approved by the Supervisory Board.
Fourth, the source of probers and investigators is also limited. KPK probers must only come from the National Police, while the investigators come from the National Police and civil servant officials (PPNS). This provision is contrary to the decision of the Constitutional Court, which strengthens the legal basis for the KPK to appoint probers and investigators themselves.
As a reference, Agus added, several countries in the world had implemented open recruitment for investigators of their anti-corruption institutions. They are CPIB in Singapore, ICAC in Hong Kong, MACC in Malaysia, and Anticorruption Commission in Timor Leste.
Fifth, the prosecution of corruption cases must coordinate with the Attorney General's Office. This point in the KPK Bill also is likely to reduce the KPK independence. The number of procedures that must be taken will further slow down the handling of the case.
Sixth, cases that have received public attention are no longer a criterion. The role of the public is needed to eradicate corruption successfully. This point also limits the authority of the KPK in handling cases that are troubling the people by limiting the state to a minimum loss of Rp 1 billion. It means that the anti-corruption body will find it challenging to handle bribery cases.
Seventh, the authority to take over cases in the prosecution is cut short and can only be carried out for the investigation process. This provision makes the KPK no longer able to take over the prosecution as stipulated in article 9 of the KPK Law.
Eighth, several strategic prosecution authorities are removed. For example, the power to issue a ban on going abroad, requesting banking information, stopping financial transactions related to corruption to asking for assistance from the National Police and Interpol.
Nine, the KPK authority to manage the reporting and inspection of the wealth report (LHKPN) is also removed. So far, the KPK has built a system and found many reporting problems with assets in some state institutions.