Jakarta – The beleaguered Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has not been asked to take part in the selection of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's Cabinet, in what appears to be yet another indication of the rift between the antigraft body and the government.
"We are not involved, but hopefully the President will appoint people with good track records and unquestionable integrity," KPK commissioner Laode M. Syarif said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.
At the beginning of his first term in 2014, Jokowi enlisted both the KPK and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) to look into the track records of his ministerial candidates.
Laode acknowledged that the Cabinet selection was a presidential prerogative and said the KPK did not want to impose on the process. "We hope [Jokowi] knows which ministerial candidates have good track records and which do not," he said.
Presidential expert staff member Ali Mochtar Ngabalin said the KPK should not be "oversensitive" about its lack of involvement in the Cabinet selection.
"If the President feels it is necessary, he will talk to the KPK. If the President feels that his knowledge is sufficient, there's no need to force him [to involve the KPK]," he said.
Relations between the KPK and the Jokowi administration have appeared strained in recent months as the President approved several policies that many believed could weaken the antigraft body.
Last month, a presidential selection committee proposed South Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Firli Bahuri as a KPK leadership candidate, despite current KPK leaders saying Firli was suspected of "gross ethical violations" during a brief stint at the KPK in 2018. Firli has since been appointed the next KPK chairman by the House of Representatives.
Jokowi also approved the controversial revision of the KPK Law, which experts and activists say will severely diminish the commission's independence and effectiveness. (kmt)