So, for the private company there is an attractive contract to deliver goods or services (paid by public money) while for the official (who fixes the deal) there is an attractive financial reward (a payment from the private company, or, part of public money goes into the official’s pocket, or, a combination of both).

In Indonesia, there has been a culture of corruption at the legislative, executive, and judicial branches that traces back for many decades, perhaps even centuries.

If we take a look at modern Indonesian society, then there seems to be one clear root cause of political corruption, namely the close link between politics and business in the nation, with many Indonesian politicians being businessmen. This consequently creates fertile soil for conflicts of interest.

Moreover, it is also widely known that in order for someone to get support from a political party (for example when running for a seat in the House of Representatives) candidates need to pay a lot of money to the political party. What this means is that candidates either need to have a lot of money themselves (typically as a result of a successful career as businessmen or businesswoman) or they need to have financial backers (typically businesspeople who expect something in return once their person is elected to office).

It all creates a situation that is far from ideal. The many high-profile corruption cases that have emerged over the decades serve as a very bad example for society at large. Not only because it could stimulate people to become corrupt themselves (especially as it is assumed that exposed cases in media merely form the tip of the iceberg), but it also triggers other issues, such as the reluctance for taxpayers to be tax-compliant. When people read media reports about huge sums of money ending up in officials’ pockets, then people are naturally demotivated to pay taxes. Moreover, with weak tax collection and widespread corruption, money that could –and should– have been used productively for the country’s social and economic development is not there to be used for the benefit of the people. It means missed opportunities for Indonesian society.


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