Haeril Halim and Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Mon, February 24 2014, 10:34 AM
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has issued a strong statement condemning the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the House of Representatives for ignoring its demands to drop the plan to amend the Criminal Code (KUHP) and the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP), which it deemed would weaken anti-corruption efforts.
KPK deputy chairman Busyro Muqoddas blasted Yudhoyono on Saturday for applying “double standards” to corruption eradication efforts.
Busyro said that Yudhoyono should have understood that the effects of massive corruption scandals, which hit numerous institutions — including the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas), the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Youth and Sports Ministry, the House of Representatives and regional to central government — were “far more devastating than those of natural disasters”.
“What’s the point of the President always visiting victims of volcano eruptions if he has no empathy toward millions of Indonesians who have long suffered from the ‘eruption of corruption’? This is an example of political hypocrisy,” he said.
Busyro said that the government was playing the same old trick as it had in the past when trying to “cut one leg [off the] KPK” by proposing to amend the Corruption Law, a proposal that was withdrawn by the government due to resistance from the public.
“At that time, the proposal was dumped after we screamed out our rejection, but this time even when dozens of academics have [voiced] their rejection, the government and the House still go ahead with amending bills that will cut the KPK’s neck,” Busyro said.
He warned that the decision to go ahead with the amendment could generate bad publicity, which could turn voters away from political parties at the House that supported the plan.
The KPK, the government (represented by the Law and Human Rights Ministry) and the House have engaged in a public spat over the planned amendment of the two laws.
The KPK said that the draft bills were an attempt to weaken the KPK. The KUHAP bill no longer sees corruption as an extraordinary crime.
On Friday, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin accused the antigraft body of playing a political game by summoning support from civil society and social media. House Speaker Marzuki Alie reiterated on Sunday that the discussion on the bill would go on despite criticism.
“We have to expedite efforts to endorse the bills as law. If we can’t finish them before the election, then we will finish them after the election,” Marzuki said.
Anti-corruption watchdogs have rejected the planned amendment of the bills, which they believed would diminish the power of the KPK.
The bill on the KUHAP features a number of particularly contentious articles, including the removal of law enforcement agencies’ right to perform preliminary investigations, which the KPK called the “heart of corruption eradication efforts”.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad said earlier that, even if the government and the House insisted on amending the law, the antigraft body would continue prosecuting corrupt officials — “even with only one leg”.