The first time Yoyok Riyo Sudibyo, the 43-year-old Regent of Batang, Central Java, dealt with the bureaucracy was when he was sworn in for the position, but soon after he assumed the position in 2012 he decided to do away with it.

He took initiatives that led to breakthroughs and for the first time, the regency got tough on corruption.

When he took office in 2012, Yoyok refused to use the official car prepared for him, opting to use his own.

He also loathed the use of motorcades and most of the time went out unannounced.

In a first, he held a three-day “budget festival”, during which details of regency’s budget were unveiled to the public.

“If we can hold a fashion show or film festival, then why not a budget festival?”. People have the right to know how money is spent,” he said during an interview with The Jakarta Post recently.

His commitment to clean and transparent governance garnered him a Bung Hatta Anti-Corruption Award this year, along with former Surabaya mayor Tri Rismaharini. Past winners of the award include President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo while serving as the mayor of Surakarta, Central Java.

When asked about his reaction to receiving the award, Yoyok said, “It’s not my award. It belongs to the people of Batang. I was only able achieve the results with their support for a corruption-free environment.”

Well aware that the fight against corruption would be arduous and long, Yoyok made sure his legacy would continue.

To ensure that Batang would be free from corruption, he cooperated with antigraft watchdogs Transparency International Indonesia (TII) and the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) to monitor the implementation of the local budget and instructed all civil servants to sign an anticorruption pledge.

With his cost-cutting measures, Yoyok also saved between Rp 5 billion (US$360,000) and Rp 6 billion from the local budget by dropping meetings at hotels and only serving simple snacks to officials during meetings.

“Many officials consider me annoying because of that,” he told the Post, chuckling.

Yoyok found it easy to do away with red tape given that he did not have a background in bureaucracy or politics.

“I knew nothing about those. I didn’t even know why I was selected [winner for the Bung Hatta award],” he said,

Before running for regent, Yoyok served in the Indonesian Military (TNI) for 12 years, moving up through the ranks and serving as platoon commander several times in Jakarta before retiring early in 2006. He then started business as a local trader in Batang. “I was selling clothes. I went with the flow. I was just learning by working,” he said.

He also had a lot to learn soon after assuming office. Yoyok said he faced many challenges during his early years in office. “But the show must go on. It’s just a learning process,” he said.

When asked how he came up with creative ways to combat corruption, he said, “The ideas just come to me when I’m doing nothing. Then, I just go for it.”

To promote good governance, Yoyok said three components had to work in sync: the government, people and regulations.

He said that the government could curb corruption as long as regulations were obeyed.

“Eradicating corruption is not easy. The government should be very firm by imposing clear regulations and policies. Actions are the last option,” he said.

In spite of his many accolades and praise, Yoyok said that he would not seek reelection in 2017 as he wanted to go back to “selling clothes”.

He said that being a government leader was not the only way to serve the country.

Wrapping up the interview, Yoyok gave his definition of a good leader.

“A successful leader is one who can make the next generation successful leaders as well,” he said.

Sumber :The Jakarta Post