Aryo Putranto Saptohutomo, Jakarta – Transparency International Indonesia (TII) Secretary General Danang Widoyoko says that Indonesia's poor Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is not caused by frequent Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) sting operations (OTT).
Widoyoko conveyed this in response to remarks by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan who proposed that the KPK not be excessive in conducting frequent sting operations because it impacts upon the country's image.
"The low corruption perception in Indonesia is not because of OTT", said Widoyoko when contacted by Kompas.com on Wednesday December 21.
"What make Indonesia's corruption perception index low is primarily the practices of political corruption and judicial corruption. So if the main agenda is fixing political funding and improving the effectiveness of judicial supervision", continued Widoyoko.
Widoyoko said that based on the results of TII's research it is corruption practices in public services which have caused a poor corruption perception index. "So what must be fixed is public services, not OTT", said Widoyoko.
According to TII, Indonesia achieved its best CPI score of 40 in 2019. But at the end of that year the House of Representatives (DPR) ratified the revisions to the KPK Law and in 2020 Indonesia's CPI fell to 37. Then in 2021 the index rose by one point to 38.
Speaking separately, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) Coordinator Agus Sunaryanto shrugged off Pandjaitan's statements about the KPK's OTT giving the country a bad image.
According to Sunaryanto, efforts to eradicate corruption must be continued in an integrated manner and there cannot be a separation between prevention and law enforcement such as OTTs.
"The eradication of corruption must be comprehensive, [running] parallel between prevention and enforcement", said Sunaryanto when contacted by Kompas.com.
Sunaryanto said he agrees with efforts to digitalise systems as one of the ways to close off opportunities for corruption. But he is convinced that law enforcement through OTTs cannot be avoided if violations are still occurring.
"If a system is already digital or electronic does that then mean corruption disappears? What's referred to as openings always exist, right, that it must be fixed is of course is a must", said Sunaryanto.
"But if after being fixed there are still illegal activities, yes well it must be acted on. I can be through OTTs or via other strategies", said Sunaryanto.
Earlier, Pandjaitan made a statement which was seen as controversial during an event titled The 2023-2024 Launch of Corruption Prevention Actions that was organised by the KPK and several other government ministries and institutions at the Thamrin Nine Ballroom in Central Jakarta on Tuesday December 20.
Panjaitan took the opportunity to say that moves to digitalise port operating systems is the best way to fight corruption in the maritime sector.
According to Pandjaitan, digitalization is one of the measures need to prevent corruption in order to improve Indonesia. In addition to this, he said that OTTs also have an impact on the country's image.
"Because this has changed the country, we don't need to talk all high and mighty, we're OTT-OTT [crazy], that's not actually good, it's really bad for the country", said Pandjaitan.
Pandjaitan asked the KPK not conduct such frequent sting operations saying that if digital systems are in place then there won't be any corruptors brave enough to commit corruption.
"Yes, if you can live a little okay. If we want it to be totally clean then you should just go to heaven", said Pandjaitan.
"So the KPK should also not make small arrests here small arrests there, like that. Yes, look around, but if this digitalisation is already running, I don't think that (corruptors) will be able to play around", said Pandjaitan.
When questioned after the event at the Thamrin Nine Ballroom, Pandjaitan said that what he meant by bad was when the government created opportunities for corruption so sting operations had to take place.
According to Pandjaitan, with digitalisation it will no longer be possible for officials to commit corruption so there won't be any need for sting operations.
"It's not ugly, it's only ugly for us because we create opportunities for there to be OTT, if everything has been digitalised right, it won't be possible for there to be any more OTT, that would be great, right", said Pandjaitan.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Respons Luhut, Aktivis Sebut OTT Bukan Penyebab Indeks Korupsi Indonesia Buruk".]