Over the past few years, public and media continue to highlight corruption as the interplay between power and capital to abuse power and public resources. The Global Corruption Barometer 2013, published by Transparency International, for example, alarms a distressing signal. The report measuring the effectiveness of corruption eradication and identifying prone-to-corruption public sectors finds that 72% people in Indonesia think corruption is increasing and 65% see that corruption eradication efforts have not been effective. In addition, people also see that the police, parliament, judiciary and bureaucracy are the most corrupt institutions in Indonesia.

The high abuse of political and bureaucracy positions, and the weak law enforcement in transactional and predatory political-economy system, continue to make Indonesia's performance in the Corruption Perception Index moving very slowly. In 2013, Indonesia score 32, the same as the previous year score, despite moving to 114th ranking out of 177 countries from 118th rank in the previous year. The score reflects that corruption is still systemic, especially in politics and legal affairs.

The figure is in contrast to condition of laws, regulations and policies in Indonesia. This Scorecard Assessment Report by Transparency International Indonesia even indicates that the legal framework ensuring transparency, participation, and accountability has provided a solid foundation to implement open governance principles. In each measured dimensions and sectors of governance, the indicators are always met more than a half. Around 58% of the indicators are fully met, 22% are partially met, while only 20% that are not met at all. We may say that only the tool indicators that are still weak.

Why is corruption still rampant and, in turn, citizens remain impoverished? The answer is that the implementation of these principles faces serious obstacles, namely political-economy oligarchy that has become stronger during the last ten years. In addition, legislators and bureaucracy have produced or potentially produce contra-policies to the progressive legal framework previously built. The parliament continue to deliberate and issue new regulations against the spirit of open governance, such as the Intelligence Law, the State Secrecy Bill, the Mass Organization Act, the MD3 (MPR, DPR, DPRD and DPD) Bill, the Code of Criminal Procedure and Criminal Code Bills and various other. In the same tone, we can understand the lack of policies governing technological innovation which are under the bureaucracy power.

Some progressive legal frameworks should be seen as the legacy of the Reformasi since 1998. However, how these laws and directives perform in reality remain to be seen These achievements will be pushed back if the strategic state institutions with supervisory functions are co-opted and controlled by corrupt forces.

The report is a modest contribution to the discourse of open governance and corruption eradication which gain an increasing popularity in recent years. It reflects progress and loopholes in laws and policies, as it provides recommendation to open governance advocacy.

Once we conclude this assessment, the next question remains the same: How the laws and policies are enforced and implemented? Considering our position in the recent CPI and GCB, we can say that the parliament and government have yet optimally performed in implementing requirements established in the Constitution and other legal frameworks. Therefore, efforts to reform the laws and regulations must be coupled with  democratizing political spaces and combating corruptive actors whose agenda to sabotage the direction and outcomes of the reform. []

Jakarta, March 28, 2014

Dadang Trisasongko
Secretary General