Saber Extortion Do More 43K OTT

Every time we read news about Operation Catch Hands (OTT), our minds will turn to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). In fact, there are other institutions that are more diligent in carrying out OTT, because in their five years of age, they have recorded nearly 44 thousand prosecutions.

The agency is the Illegal Charges Sweeping Task Force (Satgas Saber Pungli), which was formed by President Joko Widodo at the end of 2016. According to the Head of this Task Force, Komjen. Pol. Drs. Agung Budi Maryoto, M.Si, in the period from October 2016 to August 2021, they have received 37,854 reports or complaints from the public.

“Operation Catching Hands or OTT as many as 43,953 activities, with 62,375 suspects. Conducting intelligence activities as many as 63,483 activities. Carrying out judicial proceedings as many as 6,838 activities, with OTT evidence throughout Indonesia, amounting to Rp 325, 019, 446,521,” said Agung, Friday (24/9) in Yogyakarta.

Extortion is indeed familiar to the public. A simple definition of extortion is a request for money from a person, civil servant or state official that does not comply with regulations. Usually, extortion is carried out with a promise to simplify bureaucratic matters that are not simple. However, extortion could also occur as an attempt to extort the state apparatus, from various levels, by taking advantage of their power.

Head of the Saber Extortion Task Force, Komjen.  Pol.  Drs.  Agung Budi Maryoto, M.Sc.  (Photo: PR DIY)

Head of the Saber Extortion Task Force, Komjen. Pol. Drs. Agung Budi Maryoto, M.Sc. (Photo: PR DIY)

Agung stated that extortion resulted in high economic costs, hampered development and harmed the community. To eradicate it, the challenges faced are quite large.

“So it is necessary to innovate to realize efforts to eradicate extortion, including implementing a policy of implementing a city model without extortion, which is one of the preventive strategies for eradicating illegal levies,” he continued.

Agung is in Yogyakarta for the declaration of an extortion free area. Apart from Yogyakarta, a number of cities in Indonesia also took part, such as Deli Serdang, Asahan Regency, Palembang City, Bandung City, Malang City, to Mataram in West Nusa Tenggara. In total there are 15 districts or cities involved.

Considered a Fair

The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, Mahfud MD, admitted that extortion has now connotes being a natural thing, in the process of public service. At least, according to Mahfud, such actions were still prevalent in the last few years, before the government issued Presidential Decree 87 concerning Saber Extortion.

“This is carried out by state apparatus officials, and currently it is not only happening at the level of ministries and institutions, but has developed at the local government level, even to the smallest level, RT and RW though,” said Mahfud.

Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, Mahfud MD.  (Photo: PR DIY)

Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, Mahfud MD. (Photo: PR DIY)

He even recounted that one of the advisors in the Saber Extortion Task Force himself had recently become a victim of extortion from a RW head. He was asked to pay a sum of money, when he intended to build a fence for his own land. After being checked by the Saber Extortion Task Force, according to Mahfud, the incident actually occurred.

Such conditions make the existence of the Saber Extortion Task Force increasingly needed.

Mahfud admits that this Task Force is not law enforcement, even though its job is part of efforts to build a government that is free from corruption. The Saber Extortion Task Force focuses on efforts to clean up government institutions, from the habit of individuals asking for money directly from the public related to the bureaucracy.

“However, even so at Saber Pungli, the chairman is Irwasum, who is law enforcement. There is a prosecutor, it is law enforcement,” continued Mahfud.

With the role of officials in the Task Force, Mahfud conveyed a message to the bureaucrats, that every act of extortion will be punished by law. Mahfud confirmed that extortion is one of seven forms of corruption.

One of the toughest challenges, said Mahfud, is the cultural factor. There is a kind of tradition, that extortion is believed to expedite matters related to the bureaucracy. The community then considers it reasonable when they have to pay a fee that is more than what is specified. The practice is very broad, ranging from paying to officers to outsmart queues at a bank or hospital, to the process of making a driver’s license (SIM) in the past.

The government, said Mahfud, has made many efforts to suppress this practice in the bureaucracy.

Cultural Reforms Needed

The Governor of DI Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubowo X mentioned a number of things that made efforts to eradicate extortion difficult. He took the parable, to clean the house needed a clean broom. But what happens more often is like a fence eating plants, where those who have to clean up actually deny their duties. On the other hand, society is generally permissive to deviation, because it is considered a custom.

“Cultural heritage, ‘sexual intercourse, ning aja sex’. Which means, “you can collect, but as long as it’s not excessive. We have to leave this passive culture behind and get rid of it,” said the Sultan.

The Governor of DI Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubowo X. (photo: PR DIY)

The Governor of DI Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubowo X. (photo: PR DIY)

For this reason, the Sultan hopes that civil servants will dare to cut old habits in service. He reminded ASN that they had pledged and signed the Integrity Pact.

“Don’t be like what usually happens, after the Integrity Pact was signed, it wasn’t long before there were individuals who consciously violated their own vows,” added the Sultan.

In carrying out bureaucratic reform, the government has been able to carry out structural reforms. However, according to Sultan, cultural reform has not yet taken place and requires a leap to dare to break out of the old mindset.

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