Bribery as Usual

Many Indonesians still think it is normal to bribe government officials and police officers to process civil registry documents or driving licenses, according to a national survey released Thursday.

The 2013 Anticorruption Behavior Index, published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, was at 3.63 on a scale from zero, meaning “very permissive towards corruption,” to five, meaning “highly anticorruption.”

According to the survey of 10,000 households in the country’s 33 provinces, 43% of respondents consider giving extra money to government officials to have their identification cards and other civil registry documents processed as normal, while 37% consider it normal to bribe police officers to have their driving licenses or other papers quickly processed.

Corruption is still rampant in Indonesia despite President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s political platform to eradicate graft. Many of the perpetrators are even members of his own Democrat Party and party-linked government officials, hurting his popularity.

Last month, Transparency International ranked Indonesia 114th out of 177 countries in its 2013 Corruption Perception Index. Among other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore ranked 5, Brunei 38, Malaysia 53, the Philippines 94, Thailand 102, Vietnam 116, Laos 140, Myanmar 157 and Cambodia 160.

“The fact shows that Yudhoyono’s administration has not optimized its efforts to push its strategic programs in eradicating and preventing corruption,” the Berlin-based organisation said.

“It has not touched political sector and other strategic sectors, such as judicial and public service sectors,” it added, referring to lawmakers, politicians and police officers as the most corrupt figures and institutions in the country.