While the discussion on whether or not GBHN shall be reintroduced is ongoing, another very important development, which is more negative than promising, is the process to select the new commissioners of the Corruption Eradication Commission. After so many months of controversial process, the Selection Committee appointed by Jokowi filtered 10 candidates for the 5 commissioners’ position. The Committee has submitted the 10 names to the President who has already submitted the names to DPR for selecting the 5 commissioners including its chairperson. The controversy escalated when anti-corruption NGOs alleged that it is the intention of the Committee to render control of the KPK under the Police’s watch, which has of course been denied immediately by the Committee. Anti- corruption NGOs and even the KPK itself have mentioned publicly that one of the candidates had breached KPK’s code of ethics when he was serving KPK.
The new commissioners will be finally decided by DPR. The decision shall be made by the newly elected members of DPR from the recent 2019 election. It is going to be a good test for the new DPR as to whether they have a solid anti-corruption agenda in one of their first decisions. Or not.
The KPK has been so far the number one state institution getting national and international praise for its effective role in prosecuting large scale and systemic corruption. It also constitutes one of the big positive factor in supporting the success points of the Megawati, Yudhoyono, and Jokowi administrations. If the new 5 commissioners fail to maintain the KPK’s effectiveness, it will be very damaging for Jokowi’s next 5 years period. This issue of weakening the KPK is exacerbated by news as of the first week of September 2019 that all fractions of the Indonesian Parliament has approved a motion to propose the revision to Law No. 30 of 2002 on the KPK. The revised law includes amendments that appear to weaken the extraordinary powers of the KPK, which are still required to address the extraordinary nature of corruption crimes in Indonesia, apparently by limiting the KPK’s wiretapping powers, limiting independency of the investigators, and by putting further and much more specific and arguably unnecessary controls over the KPK’s functions, where previously the KPK was only beholden to the public.
The proposed law needs a decision of President Jokowi as to whether the Government agrees to proceed with the discussion with DPR in a very limited window before the existing DPR ends its term in several weeks.