Radicals in the Corruption Eradication Commission A

Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak
Senior Researcher at Krisnadwipayana University Institute of Strategic Studies

IO – It was two years ago. I forgot the exact day and date. What I remember was that a close friend called me in full anxiety and sadness: he said to me that he had trouble to get a hospital room to put his apak (father) in, so that apak can get treatment for brain cancer. I asked my other friends to help me look, but it all failed. All rooms in the Central Armed Forces Hospital were taken. Finally, I heard that he finally got a room in the National Central Brain Hospital in East Jakarta. However, the problems did not end there: there was no ambulance to transport apak from the hospital in Serpong to the NCB Hospital. Finally, I had to request that Muhammadiyah’s Cempaka Putih Islamic Hospital to dispatch an ambulance to help move my best friend’s apak.

Despite the son’s maximum efforts, Allah SWT willed it differently: He called apak back home after apak fought bravely against his malignant brain cancer. Now I want you to imagine something: the son is an elite in a prestigious agency, the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK”), but he refused to use his position to get easier service. No, not even for his own father who was facing a critical condition at the time. He held on to his ethics and integrity. For most people, this is a radical kind of ethics and integrity. He has absolutely no tolerance for any loophole or shortcut that can interfere with them.

On another occasion, this friend investigated a high official of the State. He never said a word – not to his family members, not to his close friends – about the pro justitia work that he was doing. Finally, he executed a sting operation against this top man in a high institution of the State, who also happens to be a close friend of his parents. In fact, this crooked man was a distant relative. He suffered much scorn and accusations from his own family and friends. However, he remained steadfast: there is no tolerance for anyone who performed the crime of corruption. Even family must be punished and processed fairly and justly. Once again, this is a radical, intolerant stance.

Let’s talk about Novel Baswedan now. This man is a legend in KPK and the corruption eradication agenda in Indonesia. He is the scourge of corruptors and he became a victim of their hatred and vindictiveness. He literally lost an eye due to his anti-tolerance of corruptor: his radical stance in fighting corruption caused him to become attacked two years ago. The attack against him remains unresolved, even though the President has promised “thousands of times” that the Police will expose the perpetrators.

I talked with Novel once, and I asked whether or not he had any hard feelings. Novel lightly said, “Not at all. What they did will return to themselves in the end, Brother. They will be held accountable by Allah SWT later.” Novel is fully aware who are the people behind the acid attack against him. However, he never seeks to take any unlawful actions. Even though he has little reason to trust the legal process being performed, he still fights within the limits of the law down to the last drop of his blood. He refuses to violate the laws that he has been fighting for all his life – he wants to make sure the laws are properly upheld. Novel Baswedan’s patience is radical. He never tolerates law violations, even though the law is unfair towards him.

The political process of weakening the KPK through efforts to revise Law Number 30 of 2002 concerning the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is a repetitive one. There have been at least two attempts made during the rule of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), i.e. in 2010 and 2012. However, these attempts failed due to categorical refusal of civil society. It is only during Joko Widodo’s rule that the effort to weaken the KPK Law was performed more systematically and massively in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Finally, a revision was successfully made in 2019.

For me, it does not matter who initiated the procedures, whether it was the President or the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”). After all, both of them have initiated the proceedings at least once, and then they divided the tasks. The President once initiated revisions in 2015 even though it was delayed. Next attempts of revision were consistently initiated by the DPR. Attempts to revise KPK Law was not made in 2018 because it was a political year dedicated to the preparation for the 2019 Elections. After the Elections are done, however, like a bolt out of the blue there were rushed, concerted efforts to make the revisions.

The political process for the revision includes political communications created by many groups. For example, these include the request that KPK focus on prevention, that KPK should warn if they want to perform sting operations, and other such bull. These kinds of cute compromises are frequently requested by rotten politicians to KPK. However, KPK’s radical investigators and inquirers categorically refuse to tolerate such political compromises. They remain steadfast: no matter who performs corruption will be punished firmly, no matter who they are or what their background may be.

Do people actually tolerate this kind of political compromises? Yes, unfortunately so. They are those who are interested in pushing “tolerance” in KPK, those who seek “moderation” when KPK handles corruption cases. We the citizens of Indonesia must be grateful that these hard-headed radicals in KPK steadfastly maintain the agenda of corruption eradication in Indonesia, that they absolutely refuse to tolerate corruptors. Just take a look how corruptor defenders massively accuse KPK of being infected with the sentiment of certain religions. They call KPK “legal Talibans” and they seek to cleanse KPK from these radicals. What for? In order to turn KPK into yet another false agency staffed by those who tolerate corruptors, naturally! Remain radical in your fight against corruption, o KPK staff! We the citizens support you.