Friday, 05 Jun 2020

The House of Representatives passed the new KPK bill into law in a plenary session


The House of Representatives passed the new KPK bill into law in a plenary sessionThe House of Representatives passed the new KPK bill into law in a plenary session -  Despite widespread criticism from activists and experts, the House of Representatives passed the new Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) bill into law in a plenary session on Tuesday, in a speedy turnaround that stands in stark contrast to the legislative body's usually protracted deliberations.

Experts and activists see the bill as part of a concerted effort to weaken the antigraft body, with its passing coming hot on the heels of the selection of Insp. Gen. Firli Bahuri as the new KPK chairman for the 2019-2023 term. Firli stands accused of "gross ethical violations" during his time as KPK law enforcement deputy in 2018.

"Can [...] the revision of Law No. 30/2002 regarding the Corruption Eradication Commission be approved as a law?" House Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah, who chaired the session, asked the lawmakers in attendance. 

"Yes," the lawmakers replied in unison. 

The bill mandates the formation of a supervisory council to oversee the KPK, require all KPK employees to be civil servants -- effectively turning it into a government body -- and requires the KPK to obtain wiretapping warrants from the council.

In accordance with the government's objections, the final bill removed the requirements that the commission consult the Attorney General's Office for sentencing, the provision that KPK investigators should only come from the ranks of police or prosecutors and retains the KPK's authority to manage wealth reports.

In an uncharacteristically speedy fashion, the bill, first proposed by the House's legislation body (Baleg), was agreed upon by all parties in 4 minutes without interruption during a plenary session on Sept. 4. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo sent a presidential letter that kickstarted deliberations on the evening of Sept. 11 and Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly came to the House to participate in a previously unannounced meeting regarding the bill on the evening of Sept. 12.

The bill only needed six days and five meetings to be passed after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo sent a letter to the House approving the bill's deliberation.

Baleg deputy chairman Supratman Andi Agtas said during his speech on the plenary that based on the Monday meeting seven of 10 political parties approved the bill to become law, while the Gerindra Party and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) were against it. 

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, who was also present at the plenary session, said the law was intended to push for corruption prevention and eradication while not neglecting human rights and expressed the President's approval of the bill.

Eddy Prabowo of the Gerindra Party said the party objected to only one aspect on the bill, specifically about the establishment of the KPK supervisory council.

"We oppose the provision that states the members of the council should be chosen by the President. It's not like the proposed draft, where we requested that it should be the House that selects the members," he said.

Ledia Hanifa Amaliah of the PKS said besides the President's authority to select council members, the party also objected to a provision that required the KPK to obtain a wiretap permit from the council.

"We proposed that the KPK should only provide a written notice beforehand and later the council should evaluate the activity," Ledia said.

Despite disapproval from Gerindra and the PKS, the House speakers passed the bill as most parties were in support of the bill.





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