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Give your assessment of Corruption in Indonesian Politics in Impervious to Reforms
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In recent years, Indonesia has consistently figured among the most corrupt countries in the world as per the Corruption Perception Index listed by Transparency International. Endemic corruption has been described as the prime reason for the economic problems of the country (Transparency International, 2015). The extent of the problem is as bigger as it has even shadowed the extraordinary work done by the Corruption Eradication Commission (popularly known as KPK) ever since it started in the year 2003. Before examining the specific root of the problem, it is imperative to realise the effect of the 'democratic rule' on the issue of corruption. As a nation, if Indonesia were asked what the seven-decade of democratic rule has taught to its spirit, it must admit contritely that it did have the experience of democracy in a letter but somehow, it could not experience it in spirit (Feith, 1962).
The governance structure of the country has been dominated by politicians who may be best-described as-'Kleptocrats'. They have manipulated the system to advance their economic interest in every possible way. The problem was having exacerbated rulers who adopted the model of a centralized Indonesia which would embrace the rationality of a command-control economy (King, 2000). With this quaint introduction to political history, the following is an analysis of the causes of the continued problem.
As described earlier, the embrace of a controlled economy is regarded as a prominent reason for the pervasive corruption in Indonesia. The country's economy continues to be dominated by the public sector which is managed by public officials (Krueger, 1974). These officials have never been observed to shy away from exercising the wide ambit of discretion to their advantage in discharging their function. Moreover, the legal machinery to regulate the economy operates in a way that it is impossible to carry out any commercial activity in an honest manner (McLeod, 2000). The officials in charge of regulating the economy seldom encourage any law promoting accountability and transparency.
Post-Suharto, it was being expected that Indonesian politics would be transformed in a manner that it would no longer be a subject of special interest groups. However, recent events have shown that the legal framework governing financing political parties and elections is not insulated from manipulations (Mietzner, 2014).
A country as large as Indonesia cannot be governed by a centralized model. Therefore, there is a greater need for decentralization than ever to enhance the role of grass-roots institutions in the governance of the country (Olken, 2005).
The Indonesian political economy needs a massive overhaul in terms of deregulation and liberalization of essential sectors of the economy along with a sound electoral finance system.