Indonesian President Joko Widodo faces a no-confidence motion from society comes from universities, anti-graft research centers, and legal aid institutions after he ratified the controversial revision of the law overseeing the Corruption Eradication Commission - Photo by TheInsiderStories

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo faces a no-confidence motion from society comes from universities, anti-graft research centers, and legal aid institutions after he ratified the controversial revision of the law overseeing the Corruption Eradication Commission (CEC), one of the country’s most respected agencies.

The moves have begun from Indonesian Islamic University in Yogyakarta on Thursday (09/12) as soon as Widodo announced he has ratified the revision of the Law Number 30 Year 2002 overseeing by parliament.

Having successfully prosecuted hundreds of politicians and officials since its formation in 2002, the CEC has become one of the country’ most respected agencies. There have been repeated efforts by politicians and police to undermine the commission and last week parliament passed a motion to debate amendments to the 2002 law that created the commission.

The proposed changes include placing the agency under the oversight of an external board which would have the right to decide whether the anti-graft commission could run wiretaps.

“We stand against the anti-graft law revision. We are composing a motion of no-confidence to whoever supports crippling the CEC, this includes the president,” said Abdul Jamil, a dean at the university.

The proposed revision contains several controversial articles, including establishing a supervisory body to oversee the CEC, requiring that all the agency employees be civil servants – which would effectively turn it into a government body, requiring that the CEC obtain a wiretapping warrant from the supervisory council, authorizing it to drop and close cases whose investigations are not completed within a year, and revoking the anti-graft’ independence in recruiting investigators.

In the latest draft of the bill, Article 37 stipulates that a warrant from a high court was required for wiretapping all law enforcement institutions. This includes the State Intelligence Agency, National Narcotics Agency, the police, the Attorney General’s Office and the Judicial Commission, but excludes the CEC.

The university, its dean asserts, firmly rejects the revision that is widely considered to be cripple the anti-graft‘ task, function, authority, and independence. The motion will be announced once the parliament officially passes the law.

He also asserted that the faculty of law will take the constitutional alternative by filing for a judicial review to the Supreme Court.

Crucial areas within the revision against the CEC Law, Jamil argued, is the agency no longer be able to name independent investigators and the inability to wiretap suspected corruptors without the consent of House members.

“How would you be able to conduct sting operations if you have to ask for permission first,” he opined.

Earlier, thirty anti-graft research centers from various universities across the country have sent a letter to Widodo urging him to reject the revision.

“This is also a way for us to support the anti-graft commission,” Gadjah Mada University Center for Anti-Corruption Studies head Oce Madril told media last week.

In the letter, the researchers reminded Widodo of his promises and commitment to blocking any efforts to weaken th body. They also stated that the formation of the CEC had been a mandate of the Reformation, born from the people’s desire for serious efforts to eradicate graft.

“The materials in the CEC bill are fallacious and do not answer the commission’s needs but cripple it instead,” said Madril.

He added, that the revision would make the commission less independent because it would be under the control of the executive and legislative branches. The bill also contains an article that requires the agency to seek permission from a new oversight board before implementing wiretaps.

He also criticized the apparent rushed and secretive process to pass the bill into law, despite not being among the 2019 priority bills for the National Legislation Program. He opined, “House members whose term will end this month also do not have enough time to properly deliberate the bill.”

Meanwhile, Nisa Dayu Suryaningish of the Diponegoro University Center for Anti-corruption Studies said the bill would turn Indonesia into an “unjust” country and signaled the “destruction of civilization”. Then, the Civil Society Coalition is considering taking legal steps if Widodo insists on continuing discussions on the revision of the Law.

Coalition member who is also a researcher of the Center for Law and Policy Studies Agil Oktaryan claimed to have prepared to report the president to the Ombudsman or to file a lawsuit to the State Administrative Court.

The formal defect referred to by the coalition is one of the provisions in Law 12 of 2011 concerning the Formation of Regulations that require a number of stages. One of them, according to the coalition member who is also the Indonesian Corruption Watch researcher Kurnia Ramadhana, the bill that will be passed must first enter the priority national legislation program.

“If the parliament wants to pass a law, then the law must not only be in the five-year national program but also be included in the priority program. The CEC Law is only included in the 2017 program,” Ramadhana said.

Besides to be problematic in terms of formal procedures, the coalition also considered a number of changes in the bill to contain problems that actually amputated the CECs authority to eradicate corruption. He exemplified the article regarding the existence of the Supervisory Board that feared vulnerable to being misused to influence cases.

“If we read carefully, the supervisory board has a very large authority. Tapping, search and seizure permits, of which these three points are very closely related to law enforcement in the CEC,” he went on.

The CEC, he adds, does not need to have a supervisory board instrument because internally, there is a Deputy for Internal Control and Public Complaints. Plus, externally the CEC has also been responsible for the Supreme Audit Agency, the Parliament and President. So the coalition did not find the urgency for the government and the parliament to immediately ratify the bill.

Commenting on the CEC’ situation, President Widodo stated he doubted the leadership of the agency to combat the corruption in the country. He also rated the agency’ performance is good.

Responded on the three member of CEC’ statement to returning the mandate to president, Widodo argued, that’s not comply to the law. He stated, “In the CEC Law, there is no such thing as returning a mandate. Those who resigned, died, and were exposed to corruption.”

About the revision law, he urged, that the government is fighting for the substance in the revision law initiated by the DPR. “Let us watch together so that the CEC remains the strongest institution in combating corruption,” he concluded.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com