Jakarta, IO – Megawati Sorkarnoputri’s recent statement that she once asked Jokowi to abolish the anti-graft agency KPK has caused an uproar. While Megawati was correct in saying KPK has become less effective over the years, the solution is not dismantling the agency but rather strengthening it.
Created during Megawati’s presidency, KPK had notable success in handling high-level corruption cases, one example being the e-KTP procurement scandal. Eventually, as a consequence of KPK’s earlier successes, it became one of the more highly-respected public institutions in the country.
In 2019 the tables were turned on KPK Looking to weaken the agency, the National House of Representatives, or DPR, passed a bill that made several important changes in how KPK conducted its business. These changes included the creation of a supervisory board, curtailing the KPK’s investigative and prosecutorial powers and a requirement for every KPK investigator to carry out their duties under police supervision.
With such sweeping changes KPK lost its role as an independent institution and effectively came under the control of third parties with vested interests in keeping corrupt politicians out of harm’s way.
Essentially Megawati was right in saying that the KPK is no longer doing the job it was initially created for. But she is wrong in asking for the KPK to be disbanded–in fact, the real solution is for the DPR to amend its laws and return the powers of the KPK it once had.
Of course it would be naive to believe the DPR would ever seriously consider re-empowering the KPK. The only way to have the DPR act is for political activists to organize protests and lobby the government to place pressure on legislators. The Indonesian media should also play a role in shaping public opinion about the future of the KPK. Indonesians deeply care about having a clean government. With Megawati having now opened up the issue of KPK›s ineffectiveness before the public, now is the time for action.