Gaming for the 2019 general elections: Another e-KTP scandal on the horizon

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Independent Observer

IO, Jakarta – There are new problems relating to the electronic ID or e-ID program. The program, whose concept started during the term of office of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), seems to be constantly beset with problems. First, there was corruption during the procurement stage. Afterwards, thousands of e-ID cards were found scattered along Jalan Salabenda, Kemang, Regency of Bogor – and again in Serang, Banten. This was followed by the online selling of e-ID card blanks in Lampung, followed by forgery in Pramuka Market, East Jakarta. The most recent case is the discovery of thousands of e-ID cards in a jute bag found along side a rice field in Duren Sawit, East Jakarta,

These e-ID issues cause conflicts because they are related to the upcoming political year: 2019 will be the year for the democratic process, held once every 5 years: Legislative and Presidential Elections. These two elections will be held simultaneously on 17 April 2019. Even at this late date, the Confirmed Voters’ List (Daftar Pemilih Tetap – “DPT”) remains a concern because there are still 31 million voters that are said to be not yet included in the DPT. We must resolve these issues in order to ensure that Indonesian citizens truly obtain a fair and honest elections, not merely hearing this as a slogan.

Mapping Out the Issues
Director of Demographics and Civil Registry (Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil – “Dukcapil”) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Zudan Arief Fakrulloh, stated that it does not matter how many cases are related to e-ID; the important thing is how to resolve them. He stated that the e-ID cards being scattered in Bogor was an accident, and the SOP has been fixed. Neglectful officers who deliberately dump the e-ID cards, or who deliberately fail to perform their duties according to SOP, such as the Head of Office in the Serang case, will be laid off and sanctioned.

“The case in Duren Sawit was a deliberate crime – the cards were not scattered, but dumped. We must differentiate between “scattered”, “accidentally dumped”, and “fell out during delivery”. In the Duren Sawit case, the cards were deliberately placed on the site, not scattered by the roadside. The Polda DKI, Metro Police, is currently investigating the motive. The Lampung case is solved – it was an online e-ID card blank traded, and it was a deliberate crime. The Pramuka Market case was an e-ID forgery case. It was a deliberate crime, and the broker for the e-ID creation was also arrested. So we already have taken action – we must separate between carelessness at work, or neglect of SOP, with deliberate crime,” Zudan said.

The e-ID issue is closely related to the number of entries in the DPT, which is still unclear even till now, though the elections are mere months away. Zudan admitted that the Ministry of Home Affairs has already submitted a Potential Voting Population for the Elections List (Daftar Penduduk Pemilih Potensial – “DP4”) containing 191 million people to the Elections Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum – “KPU”). “The KPU then submitted the first version of DPT to us, and we analyzed it. Our analysis discovered 31 million citizens included in DP4 because they are recorded to have been issued e-ID cards, but they are not listed in the DPT list. We submitted data on these 31 million people to KPU in October. This is an entirely different situation from the case in Duren Sawit. The e-ID cards discovered in Duren Sawit were issued between 2011 and 2013. e-ID cards were directly delivered by the printing house directly to District offices. The Dukcapil only started to deal with e-ID distribution at the end of 2014. Earlier, the Consortium had the e-IDs printed and delivered to District offices. Now, the Dukcapil prints out the card blanks sent by the Central facility,” said Zudan.

Deputy Speaker of the House (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”)’s Committee II from the Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera – “PKS”) Mardani Ali Sera thinks that these series of variable e-ID cards are extraordinary and require special attention. These repeated incidents show that there is a systematic failure in managing e-ID issues.

Parahyangan University Legal Observer Agustinus Pohan stated that the discovery of dumped e-ID cards in Duren Sawit indicates the existence of parties who would like to expose wrongdoing, but who also do not have sufficient courage, because if a person wants to expose wrongdoings and has the courage, they would simply report what they know to the police. However, they deliberately dumped e-ID cards in a public place that would be easily be discovered by the people, while it is easy to destroy cards like this – you only need to cut them to pieces and burn the pieces. The question is, “Is it true that the e-ID discovered in Duren Sawit were produced in 2011? And if so, can this thievery be repeated now?” There is such a suspicion that it might be occurring again, because only someone related to the Government can do something like this. It’s very likely that some Government deviants were involved in this past e-ID theft. “In order to prevent obstructions to both the Legislative and Presidential elections, and in order to prevent the people from having to question the legitimacy of the Elections, we need to resolve this case now, before Elections are held,” Agustinus said.

If the e-ID being dumped in Duren Sawit is a deliberate crime, the question would be: “What is the use of so many e-ID cards? What crime are they used for?” These e-ID cards should be held by their citizen holders, but instead they are found to be collected in the hands of a perpetrator. How come they are still collected? Were they actually meant for use but never actually used? “I still cannot imagine what crime might be behind these false IDs. We should be able to track down the names listed on these e-ID cards to find out the perpetrators’ motivation,” Agustinus mentioned.

Demographic data is citizens’ personal data and must not be trifled with. This data belongs to the State, which needs to know the birth date, marital status, age, sex and other vital statistics of its citizens, because everyone has different needs. Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia – “LIPI”) Political Observer Siti Zuhro commented that this is the first time anyone ever seen thousands of ID cards get dumped like this. The big question is: “What is wrong with these e-ID cards?” It is well-known that the e-ID is not just a record of citizen data, but also contains reference data for determining the number of voters according to requirements of age, history of criminal offenses and mental state. It determines how many men and women qualify to vote, from the entire nation, Sabang to Merauke.

“This is something that you cannot play around with, because demographic in this case is directly related to political interests – especially since now the Legislative Elections and President Elections are being held simultaneously. The DPT issue is merely icing on the cake, the final straw on top of the other issues burdening the organization of elections. In the history of our elections, DPT has been known to become the cause of serious election disputes,” Siti stated firmly.

Therefore, Siti opines that this issue is one that the Ministry of Home Affairs must swiftly resolve to keep our citizens’ personal data confidential, through the efforts of the Directorate General of Dukcapil. Such data should not have been scattered on the street, but safeguarded in a proper vault where no one can have doubts about it.

The uncertain validity of e-ID cards – and the data they contain – arouses distrust of elections and candidates, political party instruments, supporting teams, and other citizens. This is serious, because the essence of democracy is the building of trust and legitimacy in the eyes of the people through the stages of political processes. “I have been warning about the DPT since the 2014 Elections. I kept on asking how come a citizen called Poniran or something is mentioned in the same data multiple times. This is a big problem. Is the DPT made to be deliberately duplicitous because it benefits somebody? Whether we are having elections or not, we must protect and secure our citizens’ data. We must prevent it from being traded,” Siti said.

It is the State’s authority and responsibility to collect data about their citizens accurately and accountably. We tend to fail to anticipate the issue properly, only caring when election disputes and identity theft occurs. We must not continue this dangerous practice, because we are going to be holding the fifth national elections in 2019. Citizen personal data confidentiality must be preserved before, during, and after the elections, to prevent identity misuse and theft.

Long-term Interest
Demographic data administration and management must be improved, because it is not a short-term interest. It is for the interest of the citizens of a country that has been independent for 73 years. “It is an embarrassment that our demographic data is a mess! How could we not know when a citizen is born, dies, becomes of age to vote, or cannot vote because of various reasons? This is the responsibility of the relevant institutions!” Siti said.

The sale of e-ID card blanks must be stopped. Siti warned that we must be aware of the weakness of our country’s law enforcement. It is relatively easy for deviations to occur, simply for the sake of short-term interests. Therefore, we should implement the concept of “peaceful elections” instead of constantly just shouting about it. We must establish all necessary facilities that would ensure peaceful elections. Citizens’ personal data is to be used daily for various purposes, including to serve as a reference when holding Governmental and Regional Elections every 5 years. “If our reference is unreliable, holding elections is useless. This is why we need to anticipate these things! Let’s not add more election conflicts and disputes due to inaccurate DPT data, or due to conflicts with real voters’ data. We must not cause any damage or losses to the people. We can prevent this by holding fair and honest elections based on professional, accurate, orderly, and accountable citizen data,” Siti said.

Zudan admits that there is a possibility of fraud during elections. However, elections are held in Voting Points (Tempat Pemungutan Suara – “TPS”) under guard, with witnesses being stationed to monitor the procedures and people knowing each other at least by sight. Furthermore, there is the threat of imprisonment for perpetrators of election fraud. Therefore, double voting is unlikely to happen. Zudan further stated that the Minister of Home Affairs affirms that the e-ID card blanks being sold cannot be used, because they are forgeries.

The complexity of e-ID strongly indicates that there is something wrong with our system. However, Zudan denies this suspicion. He said that there is nothing wrong with the system, but it is the people who run it who fail to follow SOP properly. “The issue is that when people decide to commit crimes they go ahead and do it, so it’s the person. I am not sure whether this series of incidents is accidental or not, because Indonesia is a very large country that handles many criminal cases every day – thefts, accidents, etc. Our level of discipline is different across the nation. There have been too many arrests, cases, and warnings, such as corruption, but people are still being caught red-handed,” Zudan said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is currently encouraging serious and professional data-taking of citizens. It has set aside Rp 6 to Rp 7 trillion to ensure the accuracy of voter data through e-ID, but the e-ID program has since degenerated into yet another corruptible project. Here is where Setya Novanto et al. come in, and we have only uncovered that case recently. “It is obvious that our intent to establish an accurate citizens’ database has been doomed from the start, because people targeted the money right from the beginning. When the funds meant for establishing our citizens’ database is understood to be “project funds” by everyone involved, there is again the “understood division”, the relationship between bureaucracy and political power,” said Siti.

This series of incidents is an accumulation of the “missteps” taken by opportunists who made use of the uncertainty of the targets that are set in the e-ID program, from the time it started until the present. Organizing our demographic administration is far from being easy, because of the strong temptation to make use of this program as a project. We need to ensure that there are no more scattered or lost e-ID cards, resolve existing cases, and stop creating policies that would complicate things for our citizens. It is extra difficult in the political year, as policies tend to be twisted for election purposes.

We surmise that the selling of e-ID card blanks online is meant to disrupt stability by sowing doubt about the Government. By doing this, the perpetrators want to show that e-IDs can be falsified. By making e-ID cards freely available online when there are many people who cannot legitimately get their cards, they seek to discredit the credibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Agustinus hopes that all e-ID-related cases, especially the discovery of e-ID cards in Duren Sawit, must be investigated openly and transparently in order to preserve the legitimacy of the upcoming Presidential and Legislative Elections. If the case remains unresolved, no matter who wins, the people will still question the results of the elections – are they valid or not? Such questions will disturb political, social, and economic stability over the long run. Everyone, especially the Government, should realize their interest in solving the case.

Personally, Agustinus believes that someone is orchestrating this series of incidents. If one issue after another occurs in relation with e-ID cards, the people will start to question the Government and feel uneasy. And it is working: the fact that e-ID cards have been found scattered and dumped shows that the security of the Ministry of Home Affairs is questionable. If nothing is done to resolve the issue, e-ID cases will end up causing national unrest and instability. Therefore, the DPR must represent all parties and hold a hearing, and establish a team for seriously investigating the e-ID card cases. The Government must later take legal steps to remedy the situation, but the Ministry of Home Affairs must also evaluate their own procedures and cooperate with the police and the DPR team. All information should be open; nothing must be covered up. The Government must win back the people’s trust that the upcoming election will be held honestly.

Mardani requests a thorough Government investigation of the cases involving the thousands of sold, scattered, and trashed e-ID cards, both blanks and printed. The results must then be announced transparently and accountably to the public. Otherwise, it stands as an insult to our own laws and regulations. Mardani believes that such repeated neglect indicates a necessary improvement of the system’s procedures and security. This occurs too suspiciously often to be a coincidence. “This is exactly why the Government, in this case the Ministry of Home Affairs, needs to perform an audit! The Government should open this investigation to the public, make it as transparent as possible. Do not hide anything, let alone manipulate it,” Mardani said.

Zudan claimed that the Government has taken multiple steps to prevent e-ID card forgery. The Ministry of Home Affairs stated that two things are necessary in order to ensure that the e-ID ecosystem can work properly. It cannot stand alone, but must be part of a fully self-sustaining ecosystem. This comprises of a mutually reinforcing card reader and data access system. “Therefore, in order to prevent data falsification, the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Directorate General of Dukcapil requests that all relevant institutions should use a common card reader network, and pool their data into the Dukcapil database for common use. These two steps would be very effective in preventing fraud and forgery,” he said.

(Dessy Aipipidely, Ekawati)