Why #SaveKPK alone will not do

Kudos to those who braved the heat today to demonstrate to save the KPK. But it is not only the KPK that needs saving right now but the Government, and by extension Indonesia.

Important as it is the KPK issue is but a symptom of a larger malaise afflicting Indonesia today – the dearth of leadership.

One can easily understand the type of pressures that President Jokowi must be facing where the KPK-Police issue is concerned and can even empathise with the indecisiveness, lack of explanation and seemingly string of bad choices. Jokowi’s actions here, disagreeable as they may be, may even be the best under the circumstances.

But what about areas where Jokowi does not have his hands tied? Specifically, how his ministers and officers of high office are acting and saying? Surely he has the leeway to get them briefed, chastened and aligned to deeds and words worthy of high office?

Yet what we see are ministers and mayors shooting off their mouths and making suspect decisions without even a rap in the knuckles from the Headmaster-in-Chief.

Transport Minister Ignatius Jonan dishonoured himself and his office when making rash decisions to ground 60+ flights after the Air Asia crash. He also berated Air Asia for flying their plane without a physical briefing from the air traffic controllers, when the world has moved on and currently use emailed updates of weather and atmospheric conditions.

Then Jonan’s ministry came up with the decision to stop the sales of air tickets at airports.

And now Jonan, who is known for his lion-like roaring when berating his minions, suddenly turned mouselike when the Lion Air King’s airline is involved. He’s now asked Angkasapura to refund the passengers because Lion Air did not have the funds. Must he use state revenue for such things when a simple promissory note from Lion Air to refund or change the flights would have solved most if the needs of the affected passengers?

Then there is Risma, the high-profileMayor of Surabaya. Her latest contribution to the welfare of Indonesians. Getting convenience stores to stop selling condoms. How that will help stop the spread of HIV and other general diseases, and reduce backroom abortions is a mystery to one and all.

There are many other instances but the point here is that they all are contributing to the perception that this government has no adult supervision, so the children go about saying childish things and take childish actions without any consequences.

Perception is difficult to change when set, and Jokowi has already squandered almost all of the goodwill and adulation he received as mayors of Solo an jakarta and as the Last Great Hope Against Corruption.

He would do well to bring the ministers and other officers together, knock some heads, align them to a common point of view and provide guidelines on what they should and, more importantly shouldn’t, say.



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