Asia Minute: Indonesian Parliament Rocked by Corruption Charges

Dec 12, 2017

Indonesia's former Speaker of the Parliament Setya Novanto
Credit Wikimedia Commons

In recent weeks, the political world in the United States has been focused on today’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama. But on the other side of the world, there’s a legislature that’s consumed by allegations of corruption. And it’s starting to take a political toll. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


One of Indonesia’s most powerful politicians is out of a job.

Speaker of the Parliament Setya Novanto has stepped down, a month after he was arrested in a scandal related to a project to come up with a national electronic identity card.

Novanto has been in custody since his arrest, but had asked to stay in office while he fought the charges.

The Jakarta Globe reports he’s accused of personally embezzling more than 40 million dollars from the government program.

Novanto is no stranger to allegations of corruption, he’s been implicated in at least 5 scandals going back to the 1990’s, but has never been convicted. 

This case may be different and it’s been dominating headlines and social media feeds around Indonesia for months.

The country’s Corruption Eradication Commission says other payoffs from this case were funneled to as many as 60 lawmakers.

Political payoffs and kickbacks remain an institutionalized practice in the country.

Transparency International ranks Indonesia number 90 out of 176 countries on its corruption perception index.

That’s the same neighborhood as Liberia and Colombia.

Indonesia’s parliament has been singled out for particular recognition.

Transparency International calls it the most corrupt institution in the country.