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(Jakarta Post) KPK’s TNI plan may worsen row with police


Jakarta Post - The House of Representatives, antigraft campaigners and several high-profile figures have rejected the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) plan to recruit Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel for several key positions and say the move will worsen institutional conflicts among the forces and the antigraft body.

Dwi Ria Latifa, a member of House Commission III overseeing legal affairs, accused the KPK of looking for an ally to defend it from the police following the standoff between the two institutions, which was caused by a case involving National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan.

The police went on the attack against the KPK after the antigraft body named Budi a suspect in a graft case. 

Although the suspect status was later dropped, the police have continued to target KPK personnel with various allegations. The latest was the police’s move to arrest one of the KPK’s top investigators, Novel Baswedan.

Ria further said that requiring TNI personnel to resign or retire from the military before applying for a job at the KPK would not eliminate the ties of those personnel to the TNI, a condition Ria said could create a potential conflict of interest.

“This is no longer about the police vs the KPK, but who can guarantee that the two [allies] will not get involved in any conflict in the future if the KPK wants to investigate an active TNI member? The KPK should not solve a problem by creating another one,” the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Ria said recruiting TNI personnel as KPK officials would violate the country’s Constitution, which granted no authority for soldiers to be involved in law enforcement activities.

“Article 30 of our 1945 Constitution says only the police and now the KPK and the Attorney General’s Office [AGO] have the right to enforce the law, not the TNI, which has been assigned to defend the country in a state of war,” Ria said.

“The Reform Era brought to an end the TNI role in any activities other than defense. Don’t use the [KPK-police] conflict as an excuse to return to a situation where the TNI has a tight grip on the country [like in former president Soeharto’s era],” Ria said.

Earlier on Friday, KPK chairman Taufiequrachman Ruki told TNI chief commander Gen. Moeldoko that military personnel were welcome to apply for several high-ranking positions in the antigraft body, including the agency’s director for investigation, the director for internal supervision and heads of the legal and the public relations divisions as well as prevention deputy.

Transparency International Indonesia secretary-general Dadang Trisasongko described the KPK’s initiative as “politically and legally incorrect”, adding that the move would not solve recurring standoffs between the KPK and the National Police.

“Going ahead with the plan will create chaos in the country’s constitutional system, which has been long established. The KPK will be strong if it receives support from [President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo] and the House,” Dadang told the Post on Sunday.

Jimly Asshidiqie, a member of an independent team assisting Jokowi to resolve the standoff, decried the plan, adding that it was better to employ civil servant investigators as KPK investigators rather than military investigators.

“People could interpret that the move is politically motivated. That will create more conflict. If politicking is used to fight politicking then the conflict will continue forever,” Jimly said.

He also reminded the police not to conduct any controversial moves against the KPK in the future, to fully solve the standoff.