Anti Corruption Progress in Indonesia
Asian Studies II: Current Trend in Asia
The flame of the spirit of reformation flared up on 1998. Demonstrations, riots and chaos sprung up in some prominent cities. And the climax on May 1998, Suharto step down from the president of Indonesia office, and ended his powerful authoritarian regime. Indonesian people rejoice and dream of “a New Indonesia” in the spirit of democracy and reformation. And now, 15 years later, Indonesia has transformed from a military and authoritarian centralized government to be a more relative open and democratic nation.
The other side of shifting to democracy state, it had brought the country faced complex problems. One of the biggest problems is the corruption emerged to different way, even in more dangerous ways. People in political power, politics mafia, know that they just only have a short period of time in power and position, therefore they engage massive corruption while they were still in power. Parties and politicians need money for election, they gain financial support through corruption. Corruption becomes systemic spreading in national and regional level.
Before Reformation Era, anti-corruption institutions were formed and renewed by the government. Unfortunately, the position of the commission did not strong enough and was toothless to combat corruption. In 2002, as a response on international and domestic pressure, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission was formed with highly public expectation. Later on, the commission had changed the corruption environment in Indonesia and bring new hope in the spirit of reformation.
II. The Development of the Trend
a. The Raise of Anti Corruption Institution after Reformation Era
KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission) established in 2002 as as independent institution. Modeled on Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, KPK formed with a broad mandate to combat corruption which covered investigation, prosecution, prevention, policy coordination, research and education1. KPK only deals with corruption cases involving law enforcement and state officials, which made of state loss minimum 1 billion Rupiah2.
Integrity was the center and the highest virtue of KPK’s organizational culture. KPK tried to changed the mindset of the majority society that honor and dignity are based on riches and power3. Broadly, there are some important points in the road map of the KPK : handling of grand corruption, national integrity and fraud control4. At the end the goal of KPK is to build national integrity system which promote social justice, common weal and education for Indonesia people.
Gabriel Kuris in his report stated that “From January 2008 to December 2011, the KPK conducted 269 preliminary investigations and prosecuted 139 cases. Convicted defendants included more than 30 members of Parliament as well as ministers, governors, mayors, ambassadors, consuls, governors, deputy governors of the Central Bank, judges, prosecutors and a chief executive of a state-owned company”5. He reported “KPK actions recovered US$93 million of state assets”6.
b. Example Cases of Corruption handled by KPK.
- Corruption related to Democrat Party, president advocates party.
Muhammad Nazarudin is a former parliament member, former treasurer of Democrat Party. He was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in jail and fined approximately US$22,000 in 2012. KPK arrested him because he accepted Rp 4.6 billion (US$460,000) linked to the construction of the SEA Games athletes’ village in South Sumatra 7. Nazaruddin scandal was followed by the naming of a number of high-ranking party officials such as Angelina Sondakh (former miss Indonesia, Parliament member, former Deputy General Secretary of Democrat Party), Andi Malarangeng (former Youth and Sports Minister) and Anas Urbaningrum (former chairman of Democrat Party)8.
- Corruption related to Muslim Party.
Luthfi Hasan (former chairman of Islamic Prosperous Justice Party/PKS) was arrested because of accepting Rp 1 billion ($103,125) in bribes from meat importer executives9. In January 2013, Luthfi resigned from his office as president of PKS after he was caught by KPK on accepting bribe.
- The case of Akil Mukhtar, Constitutional Court Chief Justice.
Akil Mukhtar accused the justice of taking a bribe to issue a favorable verdict in an election dispute. He was arrested October 2013 with the evidence of a paper bag full of Singaporean and American currency totaling $232,000 at his house when he was accepting the bribe from a regional businessman, related to legal case decision of regional election 10.
c. The Response of Anti-Corruption movement in Indonesia
Eradication of corruption becomes one of the focus of the government. Various efforts have been made by the government both to prevent and to eradicate corruption. But in the early development of KPK, the position of the commission can be weaken by legislative process, police institution and other government institutions. After the 2009 elections, legislators worked to weaken the commission, and law enforcement leaders pressed criminal charges against the commissioners. Antasari (former chairman of KPK) was arrested in May 2009 on a murder charge and later convicted, based on contentious evidence. The police also arrested two more commissioners.
The commission stated that the tacit knowledge of corruption made people accepting corruption in the midst of society11. But there is an increasing awareness in the society against corruption. People raised their voice through demonstrations, media, NGO, etc. We can see the emergence awareness of anti-corruption in everyday people's life through news on the news paper, TV, movie,creative art as murals and comics. Educative efforts for anti corruption campaign also emerged for children and youth in creative ways.
I found the reality that the major church remain silence (or not so reactive) toward the reality of corruption in the society. One of the background factors of this is the principle of alienation of the “spiritual” church from the “secular” world. The world of politics and government are outside the world of the church. The dichotomized thinking (sacred and secular) is very influential in some majority churches.
III. Biblical Perspective
a. The Responsibility of People of God to build Anti-Corruption Society.
We need a biblical perspective about why the church necessarily need to involve responding to the reality of corruption, promoting justice and righteousness, building people of integrity in the country. My focus of biblical framework toward this trend is to answer the question of what is the role of the church toward the raise of anti corruption movement in the country? The church should be involve in building and transforming a righteous and just society.
For our biblical framework of justice and righteous society, first we start from the concept of who our God is. We have A Missional God who loves justice and righteousness and takes the initiative to redeem the fallen world. Secondly, because we have a righteous and just God, therefore we, as the people of God, have mission to bring justice and righteousness in the society. In the situation of a corrupt country for example, it is a responsible mission of God's people to endorse anti-corruption and to promote justice and righteousness in the society. The role of God's people is to be the model of people of integrity (as the body of Christ, the church, or as individual Christian). This is our responsibility and identity as people of God, to be a blessing to the nations and as the salt and the light of the world.
b. Our Biblical Framework
God who loves justice and righteousness
The first thing that we need to see is our knowledge of God which will influence our worldview and how we live our life in the world. God is the God of the universe, the God of the creation, the God of all nations. All things in the Earth is belong to God the Father. There is no place in this earth that is not belong to God, include “the secular” world. The Kingdom of God comprises all the creation. In Colossians 1:15-17, all things is created by Christ and under Christ's authority. There is no inch in the world which is abstain from the authority of Christ.
God is just and righteous. He loves righteousness and justice (Ps 33:5). Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne (Ps 89:14, 97:2). Just and righteous are God's character. It is God's identity. “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” Deu 10:16.
The implication of these characters that we as people of God suppose to have the same characters as God whom we worshiped. It is part of our identity as people of God. Jeremiah 9:24 tells us : “But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." We should have an active response in doing justice and restoring the community of injustice12.
The role of God's people as a model of people of just and righteous
Man created in the image of God. Man created for a task to subdue and rule, to serve and keep God's creation. But human rebellion toward God brought the whole world to disastrous result. Sin affected every dimension of the human person, human society and history. Physically, men are subject to death and our physical environment is under the curse of God13. Socially, our social relationship fractures in every area of life and spiritually, we are alienated from God, rejecting God's goodness and authority14. Human fall into sin affected all area of human life including generate corrupt society.
God takes the initiative to save men from their fall into sin. God has a salvation plan for His people. Gen 1-11 gave us the story of creation, the fall and the affect of sin which bring devastation to all creation. After Gen 1-11, we see God's act and plan of redemption in His calling to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). God chose Abraham so that through his descendant God will form a nation, God's people, who will keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice (Gen 18:19). The election of Abraham is for the purpose of establishing a community with God shaped ethical life which will fulfill God's ultimate redemptive goal15.
The people of Israel, as Abraham descendants, have a distinctive calling to be God's instrument of blessing to other nation through their model of relationship with God and the practice of their righteous and just law (Deu 4:6-8)16. Israel is a model of justice and righteousness in society, which reflects the God whom they worshiped. Through living ethical life of righteousness and justice, God's people will be a blessing and bring the nations to know God. The law gives Israel identity and role as “priestly” and “holy” nation, how as God's people they live ethically as the model, teacher and mediator for other nation17.
The theme “justice and righteousness” is found in prophetic books in the bible, which its range includes concepts of judging, judgment, rules, ruling, being just and right18. Isaiah and Jeremiah confessed that Israel had been failed to maintain justice and righteousness according to the covenant with God (Is 59:9-11,15, Jer 2-5) 19. Micah stated about the failure of Israel leadership which led to God's punishment of the fall of Jerusalem (Mi 3:1-12). The book of prophets comprise the promise of restoration of justice and righteousness in the society by the Messiah, as Jeremiah stated, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jer 23:5).
The ultimate act of God's redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. God Himself came to the world and died on the cross to save and restore the world from sin. Jesus Himself will restore and liberate the world from sin and its consequences (Luke 4:18-21). At the end, through Jesus Christ, God will restore all the creation into the new creation, where there will be no more injustice and unrighteousness (Rev 21).
VI. The Role of church and para-church to build anti-Corruption society
The best chance for corruption eradication was through the education of future generations. The church has her role to educate the people of God the life of integrity. I found that when as long as I attended the church until now, (in Indonesia or Singapore), it is very few sermon touched about the topic of corruption. I heard my pastor talked about corruption in the pulpit, but not so clearly to speak with strong conviction against bribery and corruption. We need the church which speak boldly against bribery and corruption, the church who raise this issue in the preaching and teaching, and ask repentance of the people of God who practiced bribery and corruption in their daily life. This educative process has to be church responsibility as people of God.
We need church policies related to members of the church who practice corruption. What kind of pastoral help that church provided for people who practice bribery. Another policy of the church needed, for example not to accept offering from corruption, church need a confirmation that the money is not from the source of corruption. The church has to be bold enough not to accept deacons or elders who practice corruption, as one of the criteria in leadership positions of the church.
Perkantas Indonesia has entered 42 years anniversary this year. But the evaluation question is how much the influence of Perkantas alumni in the term of promoting justice and righteousness in the society? One of the motto of Perkantas is “Student today leader tomorrow”. One of the dream of Perkantas is to produce leaders to transform the nation in every area of life, to build generation of integrity through its discipleship program.
We need to be bold in our position against corruption. This character has to be integrated in the ministry for high school Christian students, campus ministry, pre-graduate ministry, graduate fellowship and training program as part of our discipleship curriculum. Perkantas needs to give space for student interest on politics, social, medical, media, etc and build a biblical framework through discussion and bible study with the students. Other implication is to provide literature resources (books, bible study materials) which support the effort of building character of integrity for people of God.
1KPK Annual Report 2012, p. 5. This report is written in Bahasa. http://www.kpk.go.id/id/publikasi/laporan-tahunan/955-laporan-tahunan-kpk-2012
2KPK Annual Report 2012, p. 19
3Gabriel Kurish, “Holding the High Ground with Public Support: Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Commission Digs In, 2007-2011”, September 2012. http://www.princeton.edu/successfulsocieties/policynotes/view.xml?id=212
4KPK Annual Report 2012, p. 19
5Gabriel Kurish, p.15
6Gabriel Kurish, p. 15
8Angelina Sondakh and Andi Malarangeng were arrested after long process of investigation by KPK
11KPK Annual Report 2012, p. 19
12Howard Peskett & Vinoth Ramachandra, (…........................................), p.113
13Christopher Wright, Mission of the People of God, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010) p. 40
14Christopher Wright, Mission of the People of God, p.40
15Howard Peskett & Vinoth Ramachandra, p. 101
16Howard Peskett & Vinoth Ramachandra, p. 108
17Christopher Wright, Old Testament Ethics for People of God (Nottingham: InterVarsity Press, 2004), p. 319
18ER Hayes, Dictionary of Old Testament Prophets, Mark. J Boda & J Gordon McConville (ed), (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012), p. 466
19ER Hayes, p. 468