Friday, November 19, 2010

A Nation Under “Gayus” Emergency

"There is price tag, for anything under the sun".

Gayus Tambunan understands the true meaning of that line and knows exactly how to waste money for an envious-luxurious hobby: watching Hantuchova playing tennis. For a guy used to sleep in five stars hotels, it is so torturing to have only walls, empty walls, as scenery. Gayus spent hundreds of millions every month to get out of prison, to have a once-a-week-rendezvous with his family. What Gayus shown to us in Bali is not only surprising, but it has reached the stage of sickening, it has no definition. Totally outrageous. The longer he spent time on trial, the worse he ruined all what we think as dignity: law, pure conscious, and sensibility. This country is now under attack, we are in emergency. This is another disaster, a disaster that shut down people’s trust of authority to the legitimacy of the law and state.

Gayus, a former civil servant, knows exactly the vice of Kelapa Dua Mobile Brigade detention bureaucracy: MONEY. He knew very well to the affairs of money. He is the poster boy of deceit, bribery and “new-millennium Pak Ogah”. Pak Ogah is a character of an old Indonesian children TV series in the 80s. Pak Ogah will ask 100IDR for anything people ask of him. A character where money will make him do anything. Gayus know in this country, money will make any model of bureaucrat will compromise to almost anything; he has done it, and assured everyone else will. What happened here indicated that first, almost entire legal process in Indonesia can be arranged; second, Gayus is not the first and unfortunately won’t be the last; three, prisons and to be imprisoned in this country do not make people change; fourth, the more reasons for total bureaucracy reform. It is a very urgent need.

Gayus' behavior is not just talking about how corrupt our concept of morality and the state apparatus within its system, but it is also undoubtedly the most appropriate momentum to take radical, strict, and total intervention. Gayus is "wedhus gembel" of a failing system of our state authority. It is falling apart piece by piece and taking lives on its way down. This “wedhus gembel” is preparing for a bigger eruption, a catastrophe. This is very dangerous. We need fast decision, and must come from the very above. The President must immediately order a halt the exit-permit of anybody from prison or detentions. A nation-wide assessment and inspection must be done immediately. If this can happen in Depok, there is a bigger chance it may have happened in places farther more. Community groups and NGOs should be given access for information and have access to submit all evidence to the government.

Bureaucracy Reform restores dignity

The destiny of reforming our state bureaucracy is somewhat equal to what happened to “our commitment for bank supporting real sector development” to reduce poverty in Indonesia. We cried million times and memorized it by heart, heard them in any speeches from the palace to bupati. As soon as the microphone switched off, the idea vanished. It is a must in every conversation, used in any campaign as jargon. For crying out loud, you would be considered pro-liberal and neo-colonialist if your lips never sang the same song. However, only God knows whether it’s going to happen or not. The same kismet happened to bureaucracy reform.
Reforming the bureaucracy is not merely important to the effectiveness of development and civil administration, no it’s not. It is a must to restore public confidence to the government, the dignity to state system. Public officials, especially law enforcement agencies are the Himalaya of public trust. You can see them from everywhere, we put standard for everything else from here. Once you do not trust your police and legal system, there no rush in paying taxes; as simple as that. And we will see the numbers of people chose to stay at home during elections. We start to trust nobody. Therefore, improving the legal system is not only urgent, but the most effective way to quickly restore public confidence.

What Gayus and “his guards on retainer” showed to us is exactly their perspectives on the legal system. The view that law can be bought, that one saw his public-post is an opportunity, as a commodity. What they are doing just a simple transaction, and Gayus treating them as vending machine. The root-beer will never dry, as long as the coins still coming.

Commitment Formalization
Giving a significant remuneration increase to the finance ministry officials and some other institutions are good, but don’t just stop there. It still needs to be maintained with commitment formalization. Because honestly a tax officer is not so much in any difference than a security guard in a bank if we only give raises without responsibilities. They need an assurance that a dire consequences will fall unto them, once they rob things not belong to them. Law enforcement agencies also need to consider the remuneration increase gradually and immediately. Police, staffs in correctional facilities and detentions, court officials and prosecutors, and financial supervision institutions and development, they are entitled to a raise. Formalization of this commitment is needed in the logic of "increase remuneration-higher responsibility”. These public servants must agree to be terminated when they were found guilty in a corruption or misusing their authorities. How come a simple worker in a factory could get fired once they skip working for a couple of days or stealing something, but those who we pay with our taxes could stay at home for months, still get paid and pensions, and could still ask for a job replacement, just like Gayus’ wife did. They must understand that their job is a responsibility, not a luck, nor a heritage.

A Nation Under “Gayus” Emergency

What is missing in this story is, let me tell you: who will do it?. To make a revolutionary and radical change, we need a strong mentality and people who are proficient in working in an emergency, to take fast action in dire time. If you look at the government in power now, it seems to be a bit impossible. Not only in emergency, our leaders failed to prevent catastrophe, to plan for the worst scenario. In some place they made it worse. To travel for a make believe trip theme to a questionable places seemed to be better choice than traveling to Wasior or Mentawai. Building new office with swimming pool is better than finding blankets and clean water to the victims. Updating twitter status is more important than picking up the phone and coordinating aids.

Emergency is not only a concept that needs brilliance, but it needs heart. A heart that understands, the first two days after the incident, will determine the rest of the year. A decision in a meeting made one hour after knowing the fact is better to save lives then to broadcast the meeting and resulted to almost nothing. We are now in this momentum. What our incumbent election-winners decide this week must be very strategic, critical, radical, and firm. The weakest point of this “Gayus catastrophe” is public mistrust to the investigator, thus a clean and independent body, like KPK need to come forward.

We have been disappointed too long, our trust is dimming. This country is in emergency, our trust is dying. Believe me, the people are now screaming, but only in the heart, we are too tired of talking.

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