I was really stunned when reading yesterday’s news. An MP from an Islamic party (PPP, United Development Party) namely Al Amin Nasution was caught red-handed by Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) in Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Jakarta at dawn at 3 AM.
He was caught by the apparatus at hands with 71 million rupiah (around S$11,000) of total deal 3 billion rupiah. It was a bribery from Bintan’s (Riau Islands) local official, the provincial secretary. In addition to the bribery was a woman as a ‘bonus’ .
The bribery was meant to tweak a law on forestry being discussed in the national parliament. The law was supposed to protect some forests not to be used for industrial purposes. But with the bribery involved, the other way around took place. The MP and Bintan official tried to strike a deal of changing it into a law for protecting forests for industrial purposes.
In the hindsight, the Bintan local government must have struck another deal to give the forest concession to, perhaps, a mining company in Bintan. And the MP must have generated a lot of money to prepare for another re-election next year.
I learnt that Al Amin’s case is not in a vacuum. I believe that many of Indonesia’s laws being drafted in the Parliament both by MPs and the Government in Jakarta have been a trading arena for MPs, government officials, and (multi-national) companies.
The difference is that some case are ‘unfortunately’ exposed in the media, some are well-kept and hidden in the closet. The business of purchasing law by MPs, government, and companies has been more common now in Indonesia even under the so-called anti-corrupt Yudhoyono government.
With this case of Al Amin, KPK seems to show its muscle that everyone regardless their positions, even MPs with political immunity , could be raided. I support this movement.
KPK may have recently also managed to raid outlaw conglomerate Sjamsul Nursalim’s right-hand Artalyta, Attorney Urip, and others. But KPK should not blind their own eyes that government and companies trading the laws, just like abovementioned MP was doing, cannot be probed with KPK’s sophisticated mechanisms. (KPK can tap on the (mobile) phones, KPK can do what police can do now).
Government could be the biggest corruptor but elusive to track by conventional mechanism. It will always justify itself that what the government is doing is a policy, not a corruption.
What about Yudhoyono’s decree 2/2008 in support for changing preserved forest to be industrial forests not long ago? Using our healthy rationale, it just should not be done by him. But why he did it? Isn’t it basically the same as what the MP was just doing? I smell the government is trading the forest law as well with those foreign mining companies. There are thirteen of them. Australia’s Newscrest is one of them.
What about the fate of central bank’s abused liquidity case? It is a big case but suddenly stopped after attorney Urip and his colleague, Kemas Yahya, were fired? And what about Soeharto’s family case which was just dropped invalid few weeks ago? What happened to all those bigger cases, KPK?
Yudhoyono government and KPK have left too many questions unanswered. In an exam, those should be graded NIL! Failed! Not passed! Dropped out!
By the way, Al Amin’s case is now just a hype by media. What is more disappointing regarding the MP’s case is how media (detikcom, kompas, and perhaps others starting today) has been framing this issue as just a matter of “who is the bonus woman, is it part of gratification, what about Al Amin’s wife who is a celebrity (a dangdut singer), how would Al Amin’s party (PPP) react, and alike”.
“Amazing”. I guess this is why voters are always fooled. They are made by such cheap journalism to think about gossips rather than the crux of the problem: the business of law, the purchase of law, the trading of law.
I guess SLANK, an Indonesian rock band, is more highly-educated than those journalists. They put it very nicely in their song that
“in Senayan (the place where MPs and government are drafting the law in Jakarta)
there are lawmakers drafting law (UUD)
but money is what they actually want (Ujung-Ujungnya Duit)…”
My recommendation to SLANK: they should also add government’s role in the “UUD”. It takes two to tango.