A National Survey of Corruption in Indonesia

04 Jan 2021

The Partnership for Governance Reform (the Partnership) is collaboration between Indonesia and the international community which aims to push and support a governance reform agenda. Support for the Partnership comes fromThe World Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the founder members of the Partnership, as well as from a wide range of bilateral donor countries. 

The Partnership has 10 defined sectors of work. These are: 

  1. Judicial reform
  2. Civil service reform
  3. Electoral reform
  4. Legislative reform
  5. Civil society
  6. Corporate governance 
  7. Police reform
  8. Anti-corruption 
  9. Information and media
  10. Decentralization 


The Anti-Corruption Program identifies the underlying problems of corruption in Indonesia as follows: 

  1. At the macro level, a substantial number of the policies and implementing rules and regulations of different laws were “captured” by vested interests in the New Order (who were usually cronies of then President Soeharto), resulting in the corruption of numerous policies. Although reasonable anti-corruption laws do exist, they are limited and not systematically enforced or discriminately enforced (for example, against political opponents of the prevailing leadership). When cases of corruption are prosecuted, the judiciary is often bribed into compromising the prosecution of those accused. The systemic nature of corruption is largely ignored except in rhetoric. 
  2. After more than three decades of this kind of “state capture” that have distorted laws and policies, corruption has become entrenched and society has largely been forced to accept the consequences of corruption. There is an absence of a shaming culture concerning corruption, as well as misperceptions and misunderstandings of the harmful impact of corruption to the country’s political, economic and social development (by discouraging investment, impoverishing the treasury, and accepting bad governance practices, for example). 
  3. Despite efforts by anti-corruption individuals and organizations in government, business, and civil society, there is widespread cynicism that corruption is an endemic feature of Indonesia and Indonesians. There are few documented or well-known examples of truly clean organizations or individuals that have been untouched by corruption over the years. 
  4. The long-standing collusion between business enterprises and government officials has resulted in a distorted economy that favors private economic interests over the broader public good. The situation is compounded by the patterns of non-transparent and illegitimate practices that sustain the culture of corruption. 
  5. In the civil service, employees are commonly allowed to mix their public roles with private interests. Sources of income for individual employees are unregulated and often arbitrarily determined through a patronage system that is linked to a culture of silence underpinning such patronage. This environment encourages and supports corruption. 
  6. Anti-corruption organizations and other reformists are generally limited in financial and technical resources and therefore address themselves more to individual cases rather than to combating the systematic and structural practices of corruption. 

Against this backdrop, the Partnership envisions being able to contribute to a national anti-corruption program that has the participation of all segments of Indonesian society. More specifically, the Anti-Corruption Program has the following objectives: 

  1. A national anti-corruption action plan - The Partnership will contribute to the development of a national anticorruption action plan through an in-depth study of corruption consisting of research papers and a national survey of corruption perceptions. The policy recommendations and implementation strategy will be developed with close advice from a high level steering committee and socialized widely throughout the country through national and regional workshops, dialogue and campaigns so as to build up consensus and acquire Indonesian ownership to the action plan fromgovernment, business and civil society. 
  2. A coordinated structure for donor support -  Donor support will be based upon the anti-corruption action plan together with more transparent exposure of corruption offenses involving donor funding. 
  3. Resource and informational materials - These will be produced in collaboration with a range of different groups to support their efforts to change corrupt practices systematically within their environments that are consistent with the anti-corruption action plan. These materials could include sections on (a) the harm caused by existing corrupt practices; (b) alternative and preferable practices; (c) ways to achieve such practices and (d) the resource organizations available to provide assistance. These materials would be targeted to government departments, private businesses, non-government organizations (NGOs), village organizations, and other interested parties. 

Strategically, the role of the Partnership is to facilitate an Indonesian approach to controlling corruption by working at three levels: 

  1. Grass roots – to support public mobilization and socialization of corruption issues 
  2. Politics and bureaucracy – to demand for legislative and regulatory reform 
  3. Legal and judicial – to provide tools to expose and control corruption 

The Partnership will do this by working with Indonesian committees in different thematic areas. The Partnership will concentrate on helping to build citizen pressure, as well as working with private and public sector initiatives at both the national and regional levels.