RI losing ground in graft battle

Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia scored worse on the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI), but the figure is still better than five years ago, an annual global survey by Transparency International revealed Wednesday.

Of the 180 countries in the survey, Indonesia placed 143 with a CPI of 2.3, a slight decline from 2.4 in the 2006 survey, which featured 163 countries.

The CPI, ranging from zero to 10, reflects public perception of a country's commitment to fight corruption involving government officials.

The index is defined as a perception by analysts and businesspeople about corruption levels in a country, especially in the public sector.

The survey is a compilation of results from 14 surveys by 12 independent agencies worldwide.

Indonesia, along with 71 countries scoring below three, is considered among the most corrupt.

The country received its lowest score of 1.8 in 2002.

Denmark tops this latest list with a score of 9.4, together with Finland and New Zealand.

The lowest score was 1.4, by Myanmar and Somalia.

Todung Mulya Lubis, head of the organizing committee at Transparency International Indonesia, said this latest survey indicated people were losing faith in government efforts to handle corruption.

"The public still considers the government has yet to do its best to tackle corruption, seeing there are still many 'untouchable' corruptors, those who are not being sentenced at all or are being acquitted," Todung said in a press conference.

"And it is not easy to change such perceptions, which have shaped for years.

"It will require the government's consistency in tackling corruption. But in fact, the government is consistent in being inconsistent."

"We have enough laws against corruption, we have enough institutions. But the main problem is the lack of integrity."

"Efforts by police, prosecutors and the Corruption Eradication Commission to fight corruption have not been seen by the public as a great achievement."

He said after three years of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's term, there had been few success in the corruption fight, despite the President's promise to make it his top priority.

He urged the President to directly lead anti-corruption programs and to actively monitor their implementation.

Todung said bureaucratic reform and transparency in the country's financial management also need to be improved to minimize the opportunity for corruption, notably in public services.

Corruption Eradication Commission head Taufiequrahman Ruki said Indonesia was once again being embarrassed by the results of the international survey.

"Our movements in handling corruption have been very 'noisy' but with few results," Ruki said.

"Learning from other countries, strong political will by the President and support from law enforcers are the key to combating corruption."
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