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Another Ploy to Weaken the KPK
The new Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building at Jalan Kuningan Persada, Kuningan, Jakarta. TEMPO/Eko Siswono Toyudho
Tuesday, 09 May, 2017 | 05:58 WIB
Another Ploy to Weaken the KPK

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The decision by the House of Representatives (DPR) to use its right of inquiry against the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is excessive and contrived. The right of enquiry, as laid down by Law No.17/20014 on Legislative Bodies, is the right of the House to investigate the implementation of a law or government policy or a non-governmental organization that is important, strategic and has an extensive impact on the public. Instead of investigating with the motive of improving the performance of the KPK, this right of inquiry is more of an endeavor to gag the anti-corruption body.

It all started with a fact-finding meeting between the DPR Legal Commission and the KPK last April. At the meeting, several legislators asked the KPK leaders to release the recording of the questioning of Miryam S. Haryani, a Hanura Party lawmaker who was caught in the corruption case involving the provision of electronic ID cards (e-KTP). During her interrogation, Miryam said that she had been threatened by five DPR members not to say that bribe money had been distributed at the DPR. Because of this, Miryam retracted her testimony in court.

The five DPR members allegedly putting pressure on Miryam are Bambang Soesatyo from the Golkar Party, Desmond Junaidi Mahesa from Gerindra, Sarifuddin Sudding from Hanura, Aziz Syamsudin from Golkar and Masinton Pasaribu from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). It was these five who were most eager for the KPK to release the recording of Miryam¡¯s questioning.

The KPK stood its ground, refusing to release the recording because it was part of an investigation and could only be played in court. This refusal angered the legislators, and they threatened to launch a right of inquiry which subsequently happened. It is not difficult to understand why the House was so "eager" to attack the KPK: several of its members are strongly suspected of involvement in the mega-corruption e-KTP case.

The request to release the recording was clearly an abuse of authority. This is a ploy of the DPR, clearly aimed at obstructing, or at least interfering with, the e-KTP case, which is now on trial.

The decision by the DPR leaders to approve the use of the right of inquiry was also invalid. DPR Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah, who chaired the plenary session deliberating the right of inquiry, hastily banged his gavel while there were still interruptions from House members. This was a violation of the DPR rules, which state that if a decision cannot be passed by acclamation because there are still interruptions or disagreements, a vote must be taken.

The session chairman also ignored the requirements for the use of the right of inquiry, namely that at least half the DPR membership must be present and that a decision must be approved by more than half of those attending. Fahri did not count or announce the number of legislators in attendance. As a result, it is not clear whether the use of the right of inquiry meets the requirements or not.

If this is allowed to go ahead, the right of inquiry could be grossly misused. What is worrying is the possibility that this might lead to the revision of Law No. 30/2002 on the Corruption Eradication Commission, ultimately aimed at weakening the KPK. This would not be the first time the DPR has sought to revise this law, despite repeated opposition from the public. If that is the aim of the DPR right of inquiry, it will be clear that the legislature wants to incapacitate the KPK.

This anti-corruption agency, which is currently afflicted by internal problems among them a conflict between investigators is being kicked while it is down. Instead of addressing the disunity within its ranks, the KPK leadership complained to the legislators at Senayan. This internal problem is now being used by the DPR as a weapon against the KPK.

Given the flawed way in which the right of inquiry passed muster, it must be cancelled. The DPR should reconvene a plenary session to revoke it. The party leaders must act firmly and discipline their members who have been misled and are thinking only of their personal interests. The price of using the right of inquiry is too high to simply satisfy a small number of rotten and corrupt politicians.

(*)

 



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