Yesterday, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) offered up some important advice for voters going to the polls today in the country’s regional elections: Maybe don’t vote for candidate who are suspects in ongoing corruption cases.
“If [the candidate] is a suspect, then certainly it is not recommended that they be elected, because the KPK has sufficient initial evidence to question their integrity,” said KPK Vice Chairman Saut Situmorang yesterday as quoted by Merdeka.
This advice may surprise some people unfamiliar with Indonesian politics, who might rightfully ask, “Uhm, how is somebody who is a suspect in a corruption case even allowed to run in an election?”
In fact, there is currently no rule preventing those who have been charged with corruption, or even those who have been previously convicted of corruption, from running for office in Indonesia.
(The country’s General Election Commission is trying to introduce a rule for next year’s elections that would prevent those convicted of corruption from running, but have met opposition from both the parliament and even President Joko Widodo’s administration.)
As it turns out, the KPK’s recommendation to voters about not choosing candidates who are currently corruption suspects is very pertinent to this year’s regional elections as no less than nine of the candidates competing in today’s races have been charged with graft:
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Ahmad Hidayat Mus, candidate for Governor of North Maluku: Named a suspect over his role in an allegedly crooked land procurement deal estimated to have cost the state IDR3.4 billion while he was the regent of the Sula Islands.
Mustafa, candidate for Governor of Lampung: The current regent of Central Lampung, Mustafa was charged with bribing six members of the Central Lampung Regional Representatives Council (DPRD) to the tune of IDR9.6 billion in order to ensure his regency’s IDR300 billion loan to a PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur.
Marianus Sae, candidate for Governor of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT): Named a suspect for allegedly accepting IDR4.1 billion in bribes while regent of Ngada in order to fund his campaign for governor.
Asrun, candidate for Governor of Southeast Sulawesi: The former mayor of Kendari, allegedly received a bribe of IDR2.8 billion from the president director of PT Sarana Bangun Nusantara in exchange for his company being awarded a IDR60 billion infrastructure project.
Imas Aryumningsih, candidate for regent of Subang: Charged with accepting billions of rupiah in bribes from companies wanting licenses to build factories, he is currently being held in Sukamiskin Prison.
Nyono Suharli Wihandoko, candidate for Regent of Jombang : Charged by KPK investigators in May, Nyono allegedly collected graft money from 34 puskesmas (public health clinics) in Jombang to finance his campaign.
Syahri Mulyo, candidate for Regent of Tulungagung: Named a suspect for allegedly receiving a IDR2.5 billion in bribes from a company so that he would grant them a major road improvement project.
Mochamad Anton, candidate for Mayor of Malang: Anton along with 18 members of the Malang DPRD were charged by the KPK for accepting bribes related to the city’s annual budget allocations.
Yaqud Ananda Gudban, also a candidate for Mayor of Malang: A member of the Malang DPRD, charged as part of the same case as Mochamad Anton.
With exit polling results coming in now, we should know very soon if voters heeded the KPK’s advice or if any of these candidates managed to win their elections despite their suspect status.