Graft in Indonesia Falling, but More to Do
Ulma Haryanto & Nani Indarti
Transparency International Indonesia criticized the government on Thursday for failing to fight corruption and eradicate poverty.
In the group’s latest Corruption Perception Index, Indonesia improved slightly from 2.8 to 3.0, with 10 being the least corrupt.
New Zealand landed the top spot with 9.5 while Somalia and North Korea were last with 1.0.
TI Indonesia president Natalia Soebagjo dismissed the improvement, describing it as insignificant.
“The Anti-Corruption Court’s performance is weak and settlements are slow,” she said, adding that millions of Indonesians remained trapped in poverty and foreign businesses faced major obstacles attempting to operate in the country.
Teten Masduki, secretary general of TI Indonesia, said Indonesia’s rating has been increasing by 0.2 increments each year since 2000 until last year, when the country’s rating stayed at 2.8.
“From 2009 to 2010 [the score] remained at 2.8 since at that time there were many cases that affected the survey such as the ‘crocodile versus gecko’ dispute [pitting senior police against antigraft authorities] and the Bank Century scandal [involving the government bailout of a private lender],” Teten said.
The index itself is an aggregate indicator that ranks countries on the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.
“It is a composite index drawn from corruption-related data by a variety of independent and reputable institutions,” Natalia said.
Indonesia was ranked 100 out of 180 countries surveyed. Last year the country ranked 110. Neighbor Malaysia scored 4.3 while Singapore, ranked 5th worldwide, scored 9.2.
“Compared to its neighbors, Indonesia’s performance is so-so,” Natalia said, adding that the country fared better than Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.
Separately, Deputy Justice and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana said the government was not satisfied with its score.
“[The score] is one thing to be grateful for but on the other hand we are still not satisfied,” Denny said, adding that the government planned to reach 5.0 by 2014.
Denny said Vice President Boediono held a ministerial meeting on Thursday regarding the 2012 National Strategy for Corruption Eradication and Corruption Prevention.
Diani Sediawati, director of legal and human rights at the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), said the strategy would focus on six items: prevention and law enforcement, harmonization of governmental regulations, international cooperation, asset recovery, education, and reporting mechanisms.
Doni Muhardiansyah, director of research and development at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), claimed that Indonesia’s improvement in the index should be attributed to the antigraft agency.
When the KPK was established in 2003, the country’s index stood at 1.9, in seven years it has improved [to 3.0]. We feel that we have contributed a lot [to the improvement],” Doni said. “Indonesia would have scored higher if [other] law enforcement was better.”