Golkar Angry at Top Place on Graft List
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The Golkar Party has came out on top. But this is one list it did not want to head.
State Secretary Dipo Alam has released a list of corrupt government officials, and arranged the names by their political parties. The Golkar Party topped the list with 64 politicians involved in graft cases.
The release of the list angered Golkar politicians, who said that Dipo, though not affiliated with any political party, was trying to create conflict amid increasingly bitter partisan battles across the country.
“The state secretary’s move to drag political parties onto the list can potentially sharpen conflicts in the regions,” said Golkar lawmaker Poempida Hidayatullah.
“It’s the same as the ‘divide et impera’ [‘divide and rule’] politics practiced during the Dutch colonial era.”
He said that the government should be more objective, announcing only the names of the government officials involved in graft. “By name and by position. There was no need to map out how many of them came from certain political parties,” Poempida said.
Golkar deputy secretary general Nurul Arifin said that politicians who commit graft are the government’s responsibility because they shed their political party attributes once they join the government.
“If government officials committed graft, then we need to question the leadership who failed to control the corrupt behavior,” Nurul said.
She added that corrupt behavior is evidence that the government is incapable of supervising its subordinates. He said that Dipo, in his role as state secretary, was part of the government and therefore needed to correct his behavior.
“Stop looking for a spotlight by selling issues that aren’t so clear,” she said. “Parties have nothing to do with corruption cases committed by government officials. Dipo Alam didn’t have to drag parties in. Just ask the government why it can’t control the corrupt behavior of its subordinates.”
Nurul said she suspected that the list was produced to divert public attention from major graft cases currently being handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Some of the graft cases on Dipo’s list involving the heads of regions are still under investigation and no legal rulings have been issued in those cases.
“How can he justify that the cases that involve the regional heads are corruption cases?” Nurul asked. “Have legal verdicts been made on them? Or is it merely a claim by Dipo?”
Nurul called on Dipo to refrain from talking about issues that are not part of his job as state secretary.
“It’s unethical for him [to make the statement]. That’s the domain of the Home Affairs Ministry,” Nurul said. “I suggest Pak Dipo be careful when issuing a statement.”
Meanwhile, Golkar deputy treasurer Bambang Soesatyo said the list will not reduce what he claimed was the public perceptions that the State Palace is the epicenter of corruption.
That notion was popularized by Denny Indrayana in his time as an legal activist, before he became a member of the president’s special staff. Denny is now the justice and human rights deputy minister.
“That perception hasn’t changed, especially because the public got the impression that several people from the Palace’s inner circle are involved in major cases such as the Bank Century bailout, the Hambalang [sports center in Bogor] and the Southeast Asian Games athletes’ village [in Palembang],” Bambang said.
Bambang said that Golkar was not worried about Dipo’s release of the data about corruption cases, which included regional heads that are backed by Golkar.
He said he was confident that Dipo’s actions will not harm Golkar’s performance in national elections scheduled for 2014.
“I personally think that Dipo is trying to impress the president and trying to show that the president’s party [the Democratic Party] is not the most corrupt party,” he said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudohoyono complained in June that there were efforts to portray the Democratic Party as the nation’s most corrupt political party following the arrest of several lawmakers by the KPK.
“Lately, the Democratic Party has received [negative] attention due to the involvement of some of its politicians in graft cases,” the president said recently.
“The question is: Are the Democratic Party politicians the only ones involved in corruption? The answer is definitely no.”
Yudhoyono said that such negative sentiments toward the Democratic Party are unfair because politicians from other political parties have been found guilty of graft on a much bigger scale.
The president said he had data that showed politicians from other parties were involved in much bigger corruption cases. He said that the politicians involved in the graft cases ranged from ministers to provincial, district and city legislators.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Misbakhun called on Dipo and the government to focus on solving the Bank Century case rather than involving itself in releasing a list of government officials allegedly involved in graft cases.
Misbakhun, who was once heavily involved in the Bank Century bailout scandal, said that although the PKS was at the bottom of the list, he considered the release of the party tally an effort to divert attention from major cases involving high-profile corruptors.
“So let’s remind everyone how low the SBY administration’s commitment is to solving the corruption case of the Bank Century bailout,” Misbakhun said.
The PKS identity was sentenced to a two-year jail term in 2010 for forging documents to obtain huge loans from Bank Century, and later was forced to depart the House of Representatives.
He was released on conditional bail due to good behavior on Aug. 18 last year.
Misbakhun called on Dipo to shift his focus from the number of regional heads involved in graft cases to the losses incurred from each case. He argued these figures should be compared with the losses caused by the Bank Century bailout, which stood at Rp 6.7 trillion ($700 million).
The KPK is investigating the Bank Century case and was asked by the government to conclude its investigation by the end of the year.
There are fears that the agency will fail to meet the deadline given external pressure from both police and legislators that threaten to act as a significant distraction for the agency.
In its decade-long existence, the KPK has investigated cases that have led the conviction of several politicians. The House is currently considering legislation that would curb the agency’s powers.