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The importance of political integrity in eradicating corruption in Indonesia

Wawan Heru Suyatmiko

The results of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2019 show that more than two-thirds of the countries surveyed score below 50 out of 100, with a global average of 43. In the Asia Pacific, the regional average of 45 fares only slightly better. After several years of stagnation on the CPI, the region continues to make very little improvement in tackling corruption.

Indonesia, an example of improvement

With a score of 40 out of 100, Indonesia improves two points on the CPI to earn its highest score since 2012. Indonesia’s score is a symbol of its anti-corruption improvements in government, including through the country’s anti-corruption commission, Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK), and in the financial and business sectors.

Worker’s union rally in 2019 (Source: Transparency International Indonesia)

However, despite these improvements, the country’s score is still well below 50, and an indicator of serious corruption issues. In order to build on its short-term gains, the country must make more progress in its anti-corruption efforts and agenda.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building in Jakarta, Indonesia (Image: Heri Mardinal/iStock)

Strengthening the independence of the KPK must remain a priority for preventing and eradicating corruption in Indonesia.Undoing legislation and policies that promote a strong anti-corruption commission are dangerous and counterproductive. Considering the KPK’s effective track record, the country needs more progressive and impactful anti-corruption regulations, not fewer.

Support for KPK outside the constitutional court in 2015 (Source: Transparency International Indonesia)

Political corruption and campaign finance

Despite the successes of the KPK, the heavy task of tackling corruption across Indonesia’s political system remains a challenge. Specifically, rooting out corrupt relationships between state officials, public servants, law enforcement and business people should be a priority.

Political parties must also demonstrate greater commitment to transparency and enforcement of anti-corruption measures, and do more to end impunity. To promote transparency, political parties should be open about their political funding.

Keeping big money out of politics is essential to ensuring political decision-making serves the greater public interest. According to the CPI, countries that perform well on the index have strong enforcement of campaign finance regulations, while countries the perform poorly have weaker enforcement.

Transparent contributions from businesses to political campaigns are important in creating a climate of integrity in Indonesia. The implementation of business integrity systems and anti-bribery management for companies are also critical to the anti-corruption movement.


To make real progress against corruption, the Indonesian government must strengthen the integrity of its institutions, ensure efficient use of public services and improve internal supervision and law enforcement, including police, prosecutors and inspectors. The government must also support and protect civil society and media in their efforts to disclose corruption.

This blog is part of our “countries to watch” series from the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).