Indonesia: Luhut blasts Prabowo over claims of corruption

  • A senior minister and close aide to Indonesian President Joko Widodo has blasted former army general Prabowo Subianto over “lies” about corruption during a campaign rally on 7 Apr 19.
  • Mr Prabowo had charged that the people were being “robbed” because of corruption. He also criticised what he described as the Jokowi administration’s too-liberal stance towards foreign investors.
  • But Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan on 8 Apr 19 emphasised that the government had complied with all laws, including investment laws.
  • “We work together with investors from China, Japan, the United States. If anyone says foreigners are the sole beneficiaries of our resources, that is not true. They have been paying taxes, trillions of rupiah,” Mr Luhut told a media briefing.
  • He reiterated the government’s four main conditions on foreign investments. These were the use of environmentally friendly technology; adding value instead of just tapping raw materials; creating jobs for Indonesians; and the transfer of technology. If local expertise was found to be lacking, foreign investors were duty bound to provide the training necessary to build up the required skills.
  • “Why do we live with lies? From one lie to another. Political elites should not do that. Everything the current government is doing has been based on laws – the laws that were created before the current government was installed,” said Mr Luhut.
  • He also took issue with Mr Prabowo’s assertion that data from Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had uncovered huge losses in the state budget.
  • “Prabowo said the state budget had a IDR2,000tr leak, which doesn’t make sense, because the size of our state budget is IDR2,400tr. Such a leak would have bankrupted us,” he said.
  • A senior aide to Mr Luhut said Mr Prabowo had misunderstood a KPK report when he cited the figure, saying the agency was merely referring to the opportunity cost to the government in taxes.
  • A top KPK official, deputy for prevention Pahala Nainggolan, separately told online economic news portal Kontan, a unit of Indonesia’s largest newspaper Kompas, that the figure represented a full compliance scenario in which IDR2,000tr would be the amount in additional revenue available to the state budget if every citizen in the country paid his taxes.

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