Law Must Continue to be Upheld in the Year of Politics

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto appealed to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to postpone the handling of cases involving candidates for regional heads in the period of regional heads elections (Pilkada). This appeal was conveyed after a meeting with the General Election Commission (KPU), Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu), and the Election Ethics Board on Tuesday (13/03/2018) in Jakarta.

According to Wiranto, the appeal was aimed to prevent chaos during the elections process. “We want the simultaneous Pilkada to be safe, orderly and resulting no chaos”. In addition, it was apparently intended so that the Commission was not accused of politics, maintaining neutrality and professionalism in handling cases. “This is so as not to cause suspicion or allegation of KPK’s involvement in the political sphere.” According to Wiranto, the determination of suspects after their being established as candidates can cause public dissatisfaction.

Wiranto's statement was responded by several state institutions and civil society organizations. KPK, through Vice Chairman Saut Situmorang, stated a rejection to the appeal and suggested that the government makes a Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) about the substitution of candidates for regional heads who become suspects.

KPU also had an opposing view to the Coordinating Minister. According to KPU Commissioner Wahyu Setiawan, his institution respects KPK in conducting legal process against regional head candidates who become suspects. KPU does not want to interfere in the legal process being conducted by KPK.

The request of the Coordinating Minister is regarded as a poor example of state craft according to the Director of Center for Pancasila and Constitutional Studies (Puskapsi), Faculty of Law, University of Jember Bayu Dwi Anggodo. The reason is that in a state of law, the law should be upheld and must take precedence over any interests, including political interests.

Wiranto, who other than holding the position of Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, is also a member of the board of trustees of a political party, shows a vulnerability to conflict of interests. This can be seen from how the political party led by Wirantois active in carrying and supporting candidates for regional heads.

The government’s position should be in firm and clear, supporting the eradication of corruption. Such statements that do not support the anti-corruption movement should be avoided. As the holder of executive power, the government cannot ask to accelerate, delay, or even stop the legal process conducted by the KPK.

What Minister Wiranto has stated is an attempt to confuse the political process with the legal process. The Pilkada is a political process that cannot rule out legal process. The Constitution has affirmed that Indonesia is a state of law.

Pilkada should be an event for people to choose their clean leaders for the next five years. The legal process undertaken by the KPK is part of the way to bring local leaders who have the qualifications and integrity; the legal process can help the community to choose the correct persons as their regional leaders. (Jaya/Ade)

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