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Preventing Corruption by Involving Youth to Better Understand Democracy

Photo: Doc. Kemitraan

Surabaya, August 26 – KEMITRAAN through USAID Indonesia Integrity Initiative (INTEGRITAS) programme, collaborating with Universitas Muhammadiyah (UM) Surabaya conducted the book discussion of ‘Demokrasi di Indonesia dari Stagnansi ke Regresi’, attended by 100 participants in person at UM Surabaya campus and 270 online participants.

USAID INTEGRITAS is a 5-year program (2022-2027) implemented in consortium by KEMITRAAN, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), Transparency International Indonesia (TI-I) and the Basel Institute on Governance that supports the government of Indonesia (GOI) in its corruption prevention efforts through enhancing civic engagement and strengthening a culture of integrity for both the public and private sectors. The program uses a dual-tracked approach of systems strengthening and public engagement that facilitates local civil society efforts to address systemic corruption vulnerabilities and conflicts of interest.

This book discussion is an attempt of USAID INTEGRITAS program to support Road to the 5th Anti-Corruption Summit (ACS). ACS is bi-yearly forum conducted by anti-corruption activists with different universities in Indonesia and also the summit conference between Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi-KPK) with university that held for the first time in 2005. UM Surabaya is the host for the 5th ACS and the first private university which selected as ACS organizer. 

In his remarks, the Deputy Chancellor of the UM Surabaya, Ma’aruf Sya’ban, said that this activity strengthened coordination between university and civil society. “Through this book discussion, it is expected that a momentum of consolidation among universities is happening. Collaborative event between UM Surabaya and KEMITRAAN through USAID INTEGRITAS programme is expected to be able to raise awareness regarding democracy and its challenges.”    

Thomas Power, author and editor of ‘Demokrasi di Indonesia dari Stagnansi ke Regresi’ book as a speaker in this book review discussion said that democracy in Indonesia is in crisis. According to him, there are several factors that drive democracy regression in Indonesia. One of them is structural weakness in the process of consolidating democracy, including those related to extreme economic inequality/oligarchy, political control over legal and security institution, and widespread institutional corruption practices.    

Thomas highlighted as well that over the past few years, civil society has seemed powerless in dealing with various forms of policies that weaken democracy and government accountability. 

The KEMITRAAN’s Executive Director , Laode M. Syarif together with Bivitri Susansi, academician from Jentera Law School Institute (Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Hukum) were also presents as source person in this book discussion. 

“It is difficult to achieve democracy if those who are elected are close to corrupt practices. The quality of political parties are vulnerable due to political power that concentrate on particular elite groups. Based on the Corruption Perception Index, the corruption situation and condition in Indonesia which is always low is related to the quality of law enforcement and political parties corruption,” Syarif responded.        

Besides appreciating the book which provides an in-depth academic critical reflection on democracy in Indonesia, Bivitri also said that the decline of democracy through the law is terrible since it seems do fine. 

The discussion took place interactively which was mostly attended by college students. One of the participants asked about correlation of high political cost and the increasing cases of corruption in Indonesia. Laode M. Syarif responded by stating the importance of internal reform of political parties and the sources of funding for political parties must be explained. According to him, students have power to drive these changes because changes always moved by students, learned from the history of Indonesia.  

Meissy Sabardiah, a representative from USAID INTEGRITAS who was present at this discussion expressed the hope that this activity would be beneficial in the effort of universities to prevent corruption.  

“We hope that this activity gives us a benefit and be a good start for collaboration between KEMITRAAN, UM Surabaya and another university partners in enhancing the role of campuses/universities to prevent corruption. Not only internally within the campus itself, but also to prevent corruption that occurs in political sector and public services in general,” said Meissy.    

This book review discussion opened a series of activities such as webinars about the university role in corruption prevention and elections with integrity which would be held on October 2022. Last, a seminar about Political Party Integrity System planned to conduct on February 2023.

Watch full video in youtube KEMITRAAN Indonesia: