Thursday, December 9, 2010

Youths voice pessimism over govt anticorruption effort

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 12/09/2010

Amid rampant corruption in Indonesia, young people expressed their disappointment and pessimism over the government’s effort to eradicate corruption.

Voices against corruption: The Last Child performs in front of
hundreds of youth at an event organized by Indonesia Corruption
Watch to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day and
raise awareness among young people. Courtesy of ICW
A University of Indonesia student majoring in state administration, Agnes Setyowati, 21, does not believe the government can tackle corruption. “I doubt it,” she told The Jakarta Post at a recent concert organized by the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) in Depok. “The government itself is way too corrupt and its efforts in eradicating corruption show no progress.”

She added, however, that it was important for the public to stay optimistic. “How can we solve the problem if everyone believes the country has no hope?” quipped Agnes, who instead puts her faith in the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to handle corruption cases.

The concert, which presented Efek Rumah Kaca, Melanie Subono and Last Child, among others, was named the GIPSI (Anticorruption Generation) concert. It aimed at gaining young people’s support and participation in preventing corruption, as well as to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day on Dec. 9.

“I think such an event is a good tool to raise people’s awareness of corruption. It also makes such a serious theme of corruption lighter and easier for the public,” Agnes went on.

A political sciences fresh graduate from the National University, Riski Adam, 23, who went to the event to see Last Child perform, said corruption was so rampant in the country that it happened within government offices. “I therefore doubt the government can eradicate corruption as long as the handling of cases is entrusted to it,” he said.

Riski added that corruption had become the norm in the bureaucracy, starting from the smallest unit. He said, for example, that the officials at the community unit in his neighborhood still collected illegal fees to process people’s ID cards.

“They make us pay around Rp 20,000 [US$2.20] for an ID card,” he said.

Unlike Riski and Agnes, younger students were unfamiliar with the anticorruption campaign and said they just learned about it at the concert.

A high school student, Reggy Giffari, 17, said he did not have any opinion about the anticorruption effort.

“All I know is the government is very corrupt and KPK is the good guy,” Reggy told the Post.

“But I know embezzling money, including that from our parents, is wrong.”

“We want to remind youngsters and youths to participate in preventing and also eradicating corruption.

Don’t let corruption affect the young generation,” ICW’s campaign coordinator Illian Deta Arta Sari said at the concert.

She added that it was urgent to have youth participate in the action against corruption. “Because at some point, many of them will enter the bureaucratic system or at least interact with bureaucrats. As we know, the system is prone to corruption,” she said.

Cholil, vocalist and lead guitarist of the Efek Rumah Kaca, said backstage that it was important to raise public awareness of corruption through a casual event like the concert.

His band performed a song called Mosi Tidak Percaya (Motion of Distrust), which is about people’s distrust of the powers that be in this country. (ipa)

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