Corruption in Indonesia

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A world map of the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International

While hard data on corruption is difficult to collect, corruption in Indonesia is clearly seen through public opinion, collated through surveys as well as observation of how each system runs.[1] According to 2016 results of Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, Indonesia ranks 90th place out of 176 countries.[2]

There are two key areas in the public sector in which corruption in Indonesia can be found. These are the justice and civil service sectors. Corruption within the justice sector is seen by its ineffectiveness to enforce laws, failure to uphold justice, hence undermining the rule of law. The areas of corruption within this sector include the police and the courts. In the 2008 Public Sector Integrity Survey, the Supreme Court ranked the lowest in integrity in comparison to the other public services in Indonesia.[3] The courts were viewed to make decisions unfairly and have high unofficial costs.

Evidence of corruption within the civil service comes from surveys conducted within the sector. Some surveys found out that almost half were found to have received bribes. Civil servants themselves admit to corruption.[1]

In January 2012, it was reported that Indonesia has lost as much as Rp 2.13 trillion (US$238.6 million) to corruption in 2011. A study conducted by Indonesia Corruption Watch, a non-profit organization co-ordinated by Danang Widoyoko, said that embezzlement accounted for most of the money lost and that “government investment was the sector most prone to gratification.”[4]

Companies are concerned about red tape and widespread extortion in the process of obtaining licences and permits, and they often faced demand for irregular fees or concessions based on personal relationships when obtaining government contracts. Companies have also reported regular demand for cash payments and expectations for gifts and special treatments by Indonesian officials.[5]

Economic and social costs[edit]

Corruption is an important development challenge that poses economic and social costs in Indonesia. Interference in public laws and policies for the sake of personal or private gain has weakened the competitiveness of Indonesia.[6]

About one-quarter of ministries suffer from budgetary diversions in Indonesia. Households spent approximately 1% while enterprises spent at least 5% of monthly company revenue on unofficial payments. Social costs due to corruption in Indonesia include the weakening of government institutions and the rule of law.[1] Increases in crime due to smuggling and extortion involve the institutions that are supposed to be protecting citizens. The people who suffer most are the poor[7] as they are pressured to finance payments through their already tight budgets and the effectiveness of social services are less accessible indirectly. These concerns were voiced by the poor urban communities of Indonesia themselves in a joint World Bank-Partnership for Governance Reform research project, entitled “Corruption and the Poor”.[8]

Efforts to curb corruption[edit]

There have been some efforts to battle corruption with the creation of the ombudsman and the Assets Auditing Commission (KPKPN).[9] It has been an important agenda and part of Indonesia's official reform program since May 1998. However, the efforts made are questionable as there has been limited success to reduce corruption. Some obstacles that impeded the improvement of corruption included political and economic constraints, and the complex nature of the corruption itself.[10]

Most recently, these efforts have taken the shape of ordering corruption convicts to pay back all the money they have stolen. On 6 March 2012, the Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Ridwan Sanjaya, an official from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, to six years in prison for rigging a tender bid for a home solar energy system project in 2009 worth IDR526 billion (US$57.86 million). This is an abnormal number in equation to other southeastern-Asian countries. The government isn't doing much for this case and the Indonesians are left to handle this on their own. [11]

Ridwan was found guilty of accepting IDR 14.6 billion in kickbacks, resulting in IDR131 billion in state losses. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) stated that it will use Ridwan’s verdict as material to develop the investigation on the graft scandal involving the Solar Home System project.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lateef, S. et al; Combating Corruption in Indonesia, World Bank East Asia Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit 2003 Full text
  2. ^ "Corruption Perception Index 2016". 
  3. ^ (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi, Integritas Sektor Publik Indonesia Tahun 2008: Fakta Korupsi dalam Layanan Publik, (Jakarta: Direktorat Penelitian dan Pengembangan Komisi Pemberatasan Korupsi, 2009), pg 10.)
  4. ^ Ezra Sihite (30 January 2012). "Corruption Costs Indonesia $238m in 2011". Jakarta Globe. 
  5. ^ "Indonesia Corruption Profile". Business Anti-Corruption Portal. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Vinay Kumar Bhargava, E. P. (2004). Challenging corruption in Asia: case studies and a framework for action. World Bank Publications.
  7. ^ Mauro, P. (1997). Why Worry About Corruption?
  8. ^ Hardjono, R. a. (2002). The Poor Speak Up; 17 Stories of Corruption, Partnership for Governance .
  9. ^ Stephen Sherlock, Combating Corruption in Indonesia? The Ombudsman and the Assets Auditing Commission, Volume 38, Issue 3, December 2002, pages 367-383
  10. ^ Natasha Hamilton-Hart. ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGIES IN INDONESIA Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Vol.37, No 1,2001: 65-82.
  11. ^ Ina Parlina and Apriadi Gunawan (7 March 2012). "Corruption convicts told to give back cash: Jakarta". The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network. 
  12. ^ TRI SUHARMAN – ISMA SAVITRI – SUKMA (7 March 2012). "Ridwan’s Verdict, KPK’s Investigation Material". TEMPO Interactive. 

External links[edit]