Talking Indonesia: the fight against corruption

Since its formation in 2003, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has established itself as one of Indonesia’s most trusted and popular institutions, owing to its prosecution of a string of powerful figures for graft. Indicative of the Commission’s strong public support, in 2014, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo initially courted then KPK Chair Abraham Samad as his vice-presidential running mate, although ultimately the pairing did not proceed. Once Jokowi was elected, he also asked the KPK to vet potential members of his cabinet, resulting in the exclusion of several potential ministers.


But much has changed over the course of President Jokowi’s five years in office. No invitation was extended to the KPK in 2019 to vet Jokowi’s second-term cabinet. The president also agreed in September to amend the KPK Law, significantly curtailing its distinctiveness and independence. What accounts for this shift? And what are the prospects for the KPK and Indonesia’s fight against corruption?


In this week’s Talking Indonesia podcast, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues with Dr Laode Muhammad Syarif, one of five commissioners of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Appointed in 2015, Dr Syarif will complete his term in December 2019.


The Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and the Australia-Indonesia Centre, Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Singapore Management University and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.


Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight.  Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Image by Novrian Arbi for Antara.


Dave McRae is a Senior Lecturer at the Asia Institute in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. He is also an Associate at the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society.