Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, January 03 2014, 10:06 AM
Media exposure of the arrests of high-ranking state officials and politicians and the hefty prison terms they have received have changed the attitudes of Indonesians to become more anti-corruption, an annual survey by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) has confirmed.
The BPS survey on attitudes toward corruption (IPAK), released on Thursday, revealed that Indonesia’s index of anti-corruption attitudes in 2013 reached 3.63 out of the maximum 5 points, up from the 2012 index of 3.55.
BPS chairman Suryamin told a press briefing on Thursday that there was a change in people’s attitudes toward corruption because they did not want to encounter the embarrassing arrests and hefty prison terms that had been experienced by corrupt officials. “People who used to say corruption was acceptable have now changed their views, saying that corruption cannot be tolerated. This is probably down to the massive media exposure of the arrests of corrupt officials, who received heavy prison terms, which makes them afraid to experience the same things,” Suryamin said.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) made strides in 2013 by arresting high-ranking and powerful officials who were subsequently handed heavy sentences.
The Jakarta Corruption Court recently handed down long prison sentences for former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq and his aide Ahmad Fathanah, respectively, to 16 and 14 years behind bars for corruption and money laundering. Luthfi is the first active party chairman to be charged with corruption.
Meanwhile, former Democratic Party politician Angelina Sondakh and former National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, who filed appeals with the Supreme Court and the Jakarta High Court, respectively, received heavier sentences from four to 12 years for Angelina and from 10 to 18 years for Djoko. Djoko was also the first top police general to be charged by the antigraft body since its establishment in 2002.
Late last year, the KPK also arrested then Constitutional Court (MK) chief justice Akil Mochtar and Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah, who were both alleged to have engaged in a bribery scheme to fix an election result in Lebak.
The survey showed that 71 percent of 10,000 households in 170 regencies and municipalities in 33 provinces across Indonesia said that television was the most effective medium to disseminate knowledge on anti-corruption. The figure is higher than 2012’s 67 percent.
The interview of respondents was conducted from Nov. 1-15, 2013, with a response rate of 90.3 percent. The BPS recorded respondents’ opinions and experiences of bribery, extortion and nepotism when dealing with public services.
The ranges of scores used in IPAK consist of four levels: the scale from 0-1.25 means people are “very tolerant” toward corrupt practices, while a score index of 1.26-2.50 is categorized as “tolerant”.
“The index range of 2.51-3.75 indicates an ‘anti-corruption’ attitude. For example, housewives question the source of the money given by their husbands,” Suryamin said, adding that the index range of 3.76-5.0 showed a “highly anti-corruption” attitude.
Suryamin said that people living in urban areas had a score of 3.71, while it was only 3.55 for those who lived in villages. Meanwhile, he added, people with higher levels of education usually resulted in higher index scores. Respondents who only completed junior high school scored 3.55, while those who graduated from high school received a score of 3.94 points.
The survey also showed that respondents who were under 40 years of age received a score of 3.63
points, while those who were between 40 to 59 and above 60 received scores of 3.65 and 3.55 points, respectively.
In the category of public affairs, around 84 percent of respondents said that it was improper to bribe officials to become civil servants, up from 81 percent in 2012. While, 71 percent of them said that it was inappropriate to give money to police officers in order to avoid traffic tickets, up from 2012’s 68 percent.
Indonesia Corruption Watch’s (ICW) public service monitoring division head, Febri Hendri, said that the survey results showed that people had become more critical and despised corrupt practices.
“We don’t believe that the progress in the index level was a result of government policies and programs to eradicate corruption. The progress is due to the role of media outlets that have exposed various corrupt practices in the society, so that people become well aware of them afterward,” Febri said.
A recent survey released by Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) in early December confirmed that the fight against rampant corruption in the country has not made much progress in the past year with Indonesia receiving a score of 32 on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), the same score that the country got last year.
TI’s index put Indonesia in the 114th position out of 177 countries, four spots higher than last year.
Indonesia was two points ahead of Timor Leste, but one point behind Kosovo.