JAKARTA — When Indonesian President Joko Widodo was elected last year on a platform to clean up rampant corruption in the nation of 250 million, no one thought it would be easy. Well, it's proving to be even harder than that.
The country's powerful Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) has targeted members of the Indonesian parliament, with more than 100 members winding up with prison sentences in recent years. Now, as the Jakarta-based newspaper Kompas reports, Parliament is ready to fight back, with a recently proposed bill that aims to sharply reduce the KPK's powers.
Most of the parties in the governing coalition — including Widodo's PDI-P party — have signed off on the proposed law, which would abolish the KPK in 12 years time and set limits on what kind of graft cases it could pursue. If signed into law, this would leave high-profile investigations in the hands of the Attorney General's Office and the notoriously corrupt National Police.
The English daily Jakarta Globe writes that Widodo, who was elected in July 2014 as a political outsider promising to transform Indonesian public life, has blocked similar bills in the past. But his party is fiercely pushing the legislation as being necessary to rein in the KPK.
In a recent poll, President Jokowi, as he is commonly known, has seen his public approval rating fall below 50% for the first time in his administration. He has been notably mum on the debate over the KPK's powers.