Dozens of people in Denpasar participated in a rally earlier today in support of the revised law governing the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). They are among the few who have demonstrated in favor of the revisions, which have otherwise been met with widespread public resistance across the country over fears that they will weaken the independent anti-graft agency.
Supporters of the revised law who took part in the rally today are reportedly part of the Bhinneka Sakti Alliance, who argued that the revisions were actually meant to strengthen the fight against corruption.
“We affirm that we are in support of strengthening KPK. We want those who are opposed to [the revisions] to not cloud public opinion, as if we are supporting the revision because we are in support of corruption,” said Rico Ardika Panjaitan, who coordinated the rally, as quoted by Radar Bali.
The House of Representatives (DPR) ratified the Revisions to Law no. 30/2002 (RUU KPK) on Sept. 17, just 13 days after it was first officially tabled for deliberation at the DPR. As reported by our sister site Coconuts Jakarta, RUU KPK contains nine seriously problematic issues that anti-corruption activists say will cripple the agency’s graft-fighting abilities.
Those include the establishment of an “oversight council” to monitor the KPK’s performance, removal of the agency’s independent status by making it a government body instead, and requiring KPK investigators to obtain permits from the oversight council to conduct wiretaps, as well as the removal of KPK’s ability to recruit its own investigators.
The new law, both before and after it was ratified, has been met with widespread criticism from activists, experts and members of the public, who view the revisions as part of a concerted effort to weaken KPK, which has often targeted powerful members of the DPR in the past.
According to a survey conducted by Tempo on Sept. 16, 82.6 percent of the public held the opinion that President Joko Widodo should reject RUU KPK. However, Widodo has so far defended the changes, saying that he would not compromise in the fight against graft.
Prior to the bill’s passage, Indonesia saw a number of mass protests in various cities rejecting RUU KPK. In Bali, one took place on Sept. 12, involving hundreds of people from the Bali Alliance of Students and Citizens Against Corruption gathered in Denpasar to voice their concerns about RUU KPK and the new leaders of the agency.
There were also those who demonstrated to show support for the revisions that week including more than a hundred people who gathered in front of the KPK headquarters in Jakarta on Sept. 14, according to a report from Tirto.
Tirto also reported having met several protesters then who claimed that they were paid to participate in the rally and were not aware of what it was actually for.