The Hijacked Dreams of ‘Reformasi’


April 4, 2016 15:02 GMT+7

The corruption of public policy

JAKARTA, KOMPAS — Reformasi, which aimed to rearrange a corrupt system, is now controlled by a business-political complex that exploits public policy for its own corporate interests. If left unchecked, this will monopolize the power of national competition while simultaneously expanding the social and economic divide in the country.The arrest of the head of the Jakarta Provincial Legislative Council’s Commission D, M Sanusi of the Gerinda faction, by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), on Thursday last week, testifies to the existence of this business-political complex in the field of public policy. Sanusi is suspected of receiving Rp 2.14 billion in two stages from PT Agung Podomoro Land (PT APLN), in connection with discussions over regulations of the coastal and small islands reclamation projects in North Jakarta. In this case, the KPK has named three suspects, namely M Sanusi, Trinanda Prihantoro, an employee of PT APLN, and Ariesman Widjaja, the president director of PT APLN. The KPK has also prohibited the chairman of the Agung Sedayu Group, Sugianto Kusuma, alias Aguan, from leaving the country.

Before all of this, in May 2014, West Java regent Rachmat Yasin was nabbed by the KPK in a Rp 4.5 billion bribery case connected to the push to make a 2,754 hectare protected forest into company land for PT Bukit Jonggol Asri.

Vice chairman of the KPK Saut Situmorang in Jakarta (3/4) on Sunday judged that the level of serious corruption and bribery in the private sector directed toward public administrators to influence public policy reached a number of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. He came to this conclusion after visiting some provinces and speaking with various stakeholders such as district heads, the leaders of state-owned enterprises and government administrators. “Because of this, the knot of organizations, people, and corrupters, must be untangled. If not, this country will not have business competition, and the environment will keep getting worse, and our natural resources will be drained,” Saut said.

In response, he said, aside from following up on all suspected bribery cases in connection with Jakarta’s reclamation regulations, the KPK would also prepare preventative measures by developing detailed standard operating systems.

A lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Trisakti, Abdul Fickar Hadjar, argues that the space offered by reformasi was exploited more forcefully, and successfully, by corporate business interests because they had more control over resources than other factions within society. According to Fickar, even though there are some companies that are not simply orientated toward the accumulation of the profit, the basic character of business is primarily orientated in this way, and this can be dangerous if it coincides, or mixes in, with politics.

“The danger is if policies are not directed toward the interests of the majority of society. Instead, policies describe the field of play among business interests. The victims of development will fall with each other, the general quality of life will be destroyed and the country will become poor,” he said.

The KPK will investigate other developers linked to the Sanusi bribery case. The ban on Sugianto, according to the KPK’s public relations head, Yuyuk Andriati, was imposed because his company was also suspected of having a stake in the discussions over regulations connected to the reclamation projects in North Jakarta.

The travel ban on Sugianto is needed so that he will not be abroad when the KPK need a statement from him. The KPK proposed the ban on Sugianto to the director general of immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry on Friday, last week.

Heru Santoso Ananta Yudha, head of the public relations division at the immigration office, said that immigration received permission for the ban on Friday at 10:45 p.m. However, he could not say whether or not Sugianto was still in Indonesia.

PT Agung Sedayu, through its subsidiary PT Kapuk Naga Indah, is listed as one of eight companies that are involved in the reclamation projects in Jakarta Bay. PT Kapuk Naga Indah, based on a permit from the Jakarta Development Planning Agency, will work on five islands, which together are as wide as 1,329 hectares. Meanwhile, PT APLN, through its subsidiary PT Muara Wisesa, will reclaim one island as wide as 161 hectares.

Separately, Sanusi has denied that the Rp 2.14 billion offered to him by PT APLN constituted a bribe to influence policy in the creation of regulations related to reclamation projects in Jakarta Bay. Sanusi’s attorney, Krisna Murti, said that as head of Commission D, his client did not have the authority to draft regulations for the reclamation of Jakarta Bay.

“He was only asked for technical help because he has an engineering background. That money is sort of like a bonus that was offered to him for his expertise,” said Krisna. However, Krisna admitted that he did not know why PT APLN wanted to give as much as Rp 2 billion to Sanusi just for consultation purposes, and not to a professional consultant.

Marine expert at the Bandung Institute of technology, Abdul Muin, noted that the reclamation projects would disturb the environment and life in the mangrove forests around Jakarta Bay.

Reclamation will also increase the rate of sedimentation because it will reduce the speed of the flow of water. The effect of which, aside from increasing the potential for flooding in Jakarta, will accelerate the desiccation of the river, which is in dire need of financing for routine dredging work. Widodo Setiyo Pranowo of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry said that aside of ecological and technical issues, the reclamation project should also pay attention to social aspects, and take into account the effects toward the fishermen who will be evicted.


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