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Indonesia's antigraft efforts deemed lackluster, survey finds

Jakarta Post - December 7, 2020

Rizki Fachriansyah and Galih Gumelar, Jakarta – Indonesia's ongoing battle against corruption appears to be making little headway as fewer people expressed enthusiasm for the government's efforts to prevent illicit transactions and prosecute graft perpetrators over the past two years, a recent study by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) has found.

The survey, for which 2,000 people were polled across the archipelago between Nov. 29 and Dec. 3, showed that only 28.3 percent of respondents noticed an improvement in the government's graft prevention efforts – a decline from the 42.7 percent recorded in a similar survey conducted in late 2018.

Similarly, only 22.2 percent of the respondents believed law enforcement against graft perpetrators had improved. That also marks a significant drop from the 44.1 percent recorded in 2018 survey.

"It is a sharp decline. This could be a signal for us to see that people perceive corruption to be getting worse in terms of prevention and law enforcement," LSI executive director Djayadi Hanan said during an online forum held by the research firm on Sunday.

Furthermore, the latest survey also found that a majority of 45.6 percent of the respondents believed the number of corruption cases had increased over the last two years, whereas only 23 percent noticed a downtrend in reported graft during the same period.

"There are far more respondents perceiving an uptrend in reported graft," Djayadi said. "This means that overall public perception [of antigraft efforts] is still negative."

Despite the general discontent with the government's sluggish action on graft, 50.2 percent of the survey respondents were "satisfied" with the performance of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). The poll reflected relatively positive public sentiment since only 37.5 percent were "unsatisfied" with the antigraft body's accomplishments.

A significant majority of respondents or 69.5 percent considered KPK to be best-suited to lead the country's anticorruption efforts.

The survey also found that 26.9 percent of respondents were of the opinion that the controversial KPK Law revision had weakened the antigraft body, whereas only 23.3 percent believed otherwise.

Meanwhile, 14.4 percent of respondents believed the revision had not significantly impacted the KPK, while 35.4 percent did not know or did not answer.

"People are split on this topic. However, public perception regarding the KPK Law revision still tends to lean toward the negative," Djayadi explained.Between Sept. 3 and Sept. 17, 2019, lawmakers at the House of Representatives (DPR) moved to deliberate the revised law even though it did not even make it onto the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) list for priority bills. They also failed to explain to the public the purpose of the amendment and failed to cooperate with the KPK when the legislative process was underway, antigraft activists claim.

One controversial article is about the transformation of the KPK from an ad hoc independent body to a state institution. The law also changed the status of KPK employees from nongovernment employees to civil servants.

Its passage sparked public outcry, prompting nationwide protests from students and activists opposing the revision that they believed defanged the KPK amid graft that remained pervasive in the country.

The 2020 Global Corruption Barometer survey conducted by antigraft organization Transparency International from Jun. 15 to Jul. 24 found that 65 percent of 1,000 respondents polled across 28 provinces in the country believed the government had performed "well" in fighting corruption during the past year.

However, the result was only up 1 percentage point over the same survey in 2017, in which 64 percent of the same number of respondents approved of the government's antigraft efforts.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/12/07/indonesias-antigraft-efforts-deemed-lackluster-survey-finds.htm