From: Japan Focus

Peter King, “Corruption Ruins Everything”: Gridlock over Suharto’s Legacy in Indonesia (Part I)


Indonesia since the fall of Suharto in 1998 under reformasi remains subject to powerful tendencies for disintegrasi–both province-based “separatism” and general socio-political decay. These tendencies are greatly aggravated by the failure of democratically elected presidents and parliaments to effectively tackle endemic corruption or reform the armed forces, which continue to enjoy near-total immunity as a major practitioner, guarantor and enforcer of corrupt business practice and extortion. This article notes the activism of civil society and liberal media on the corruption issue and the commendable new array of anti-corruption institutions. But it argues that reform efforts have been virtually nullified by broad collusion of Indonesia’s political, bureaucratic, military and business elites in sustaining–while “democratizing” and decentralizing–the system of corruption inherited from Suharto. The reform effort is now subject to political stasis or gridlock induced by money politics. Some reformers believe that politics in Indonesia has been effectively replaced by “transactions”.

Peter King is a research associate in Government and International Relations and convener of the West Papua Project in the Centre for Peace and Confict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney.

This article was posted at Japan Focus on March 3, 2008.

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Peter King, “Corruption Ruins Everything”: Gridlock over Suharto’s Legacy in Indonesia (Part II)

Indonesia since the fall of Suharto in 1998 under reformasi remains subject to powerful tendencies for disintegrasi–both province-based “separatism” and general socio-political decay. These tendencies are greatly aggravated by the failure of democratically elected presidents and parliaments to effectively tackle endemic corruption or reform the armed forces, which continue to enjoy near-total immunity as a major practitioner, guarantor and enforcer of corrupt business practice and extortion. This article notes the activism of civil society and liberal media on the corruption issue and the commendable new array of anti-corruption institutions. But it argues that reform efforts have been virtually nullified by broad collusion of Indonesia’s political, bureaucratic, military and business elites in sustaining–while “democratizing” and decentralizing–the system of corruption inherited from Suharto. The reform effort is now subject to political stasis or gridlock induced by money politics. Some reformers believe that politics in Indonesia has been effectively replaced by “transactions”. See Part I of this article.

Peter King is a research associate in Government and International Relations and convener of the West Papua Project in the Centre for Peace and Confict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney.
 
This article was posted at Japan Focus on March 3, 2008.

Read more…