Let’s normalize corruption little by little, shall we?
An Indonesian lawmaker has triggered outrage over his comment insinuating that a little bit of ill-gotten money is acceptable in politics – but not too much.
Golkar Party politician Melchias Marcus Mekeng, who represents East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), made the statement during a parliamentary meeting with the Ministry of Finance on Monday, during which they discussed the ministry’s current mediocre reputation on account of allegedly unscrupulous officials.
ICYMI, Ministry of Finance officials have been under intense public scrutiny, with the public meticulously poring over and exposing their suspiciously lavish lifestyles despite their modest public servants’ pay, stemming from widespread public anger after the son of tax official Rafael Alun Sambodo nearly assaulted another boy to death in February.
Offering his two cents on the matter, Melchias implied in the meeting that dirty dealings here and there are unavoidable in politics.
“I told my children, ‘if we eat too much from haram money, then God will direct his wrath on us.’ That’s what happened [to Rafael],” he said, using the Islamic term to refer to any forbidden acts, goods, or, in this case, money.
“If we eat from a little bit of haram money, that is fine.”
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) slammed Melchias’ statement, saying that it was completely inappropriate coming from a lawmaker.
Melchias yesterday sought to clarify himself, saying that it’s practically impossible that the money we earn and spend had not been previously used in dirty deals.
“That’s what I mean by a little bit [haram], because we never know where our money came from,” he said.
At any rate, local media have reported that Melchias has accrued more than a little bit of wealth, having a net value of IDR73.3 billion (US$4.8 million) as of 2022. One can only hope that most of that is clean.
Every election season, Indonesia produces countless stories about “politik uang”, which literally translates to “money politics” and involves politicians being uncharacteristically generous in that they give money and goods to… Read more.
March 27, 2023
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