In the last few weeks, the cacophony surrounding the court of the Parliament’s Council of Honor (MKD) at the House of Representatives (DPR) dominated almost every news outlets. The court was organized to look into the report filed by Sudirman Said, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), about an alleged misuse of President Joko Widodo’s name by Chairman of DPR Setya Novanto to arrange contract extension for PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) on November 16, 2015.

According to a widely-circulated transcript of the meeting, Setya allegedly arranged a renegotiation of PT.FI contract extension. During the meeting, Setya allegedly asked PTFI to allocate 11 percent of their shares for President Joko Widodo and another 9 percent for Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Up until today (10/12), nearly every individual that are summoned by MKD to provide testimonies have had their examinations. However, the public are quickly let down after seeing MKD’s examination process, particularly when MKD decided to have a closed examination for Setya Novanto. This process contrasted with the other examinations on Sudirman Said, the whistle-blower, and President Director of PTFI Maroef Sjamsoeddin, a witness, both of whom were examined openly.

Indonesian law guarantees the secrecy and security of whistle-blowers, and in this case, Sudirman Said should have his legal rights protected as a whistle-blower. On the contrary, MKD protected the accused and harassed the case informer. It’s not too much if the public sees this court to be inundated with irregularities.

In addition to Setya’s closed examination, another irregularity is explicit when MKD pursued Sudirman with irrelevant questions. For example, MKD questioned the legal standing of the case informer with the argument that a Minister does not have a right to report a parliamentarian’s ethical violation to MKD. Analysts see this as an ignorant argument, since the Law provides space for all citizens to file their reports to MKD.

Moreover, MKD also questioned the legality of the recording evidence acquisition which was not carried by law enforcement officers which they argue makes the evidence illegal in court. It seems that MKD have forgotten that they were conducting an ethical examination, not a criminal trial. In order to find the truth, MKD can easily confirm all parties, the accused and the witnesses.

Public expectation in the unveiling of this case is unusually high and public response on the MKD examinations is unprecedented. Whenever a process is considered to be misguided and an insult to logic, the public promptly respond. For example, in one day, alumnus of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) Anti-Corruption School (SAKTI) could get more than 8,300 signatures to support a petition for MKD. In a week, there were already 43,831 signatures that endorsed the petition. The petition called for MKD to open their examination sessions for the people to see. Public resentment was also manifested with viral videos. Aspeech composing video by Eka Gustiwana that satirized MKD’s closed sessions was viewed 488,658 in a week.

MKD’s sessions have become more than a mechanism to determine whether Setya Novanto have breached the parliament’s ethical codes. Furthermore, it has become an arena to wager the parliament’s credibility for the umpteenth time. The public was already let down by MKD’s decision in the “Trumpgate” case, where it can only muster a light reprimanding for Setya Novanto. Setya’s presence in his capacity as Indonesian speaker of the house at Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to claim support from the Indonesian people should have been penalized harder than a light reprimand.

The hashtag #pertanyaanMKD which was instantly popular on Twitter bullied MKD’s sessions as a farce. The public have lost their confidence in the parliament and they can only express their disdain on the Internet. Nonetheless, MKD still have a last chance to salvage and revive its image, only if MKD have the mettle to give a strong sanction for Setya Novanto.***

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Photo credit : Almas Sjafrina

One thought on “A farce at the parliament’s court

  1. he Scottish Parliament descended into farce over official guidelines stating that MSPs are banned from discussing the pros and cons of the European Union before next week’s referendum.

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