Shariah Does Not Lower Corruption: Study

By Dyah Ayu Pitaloka on 12:26 pm Mar 15, 2014
Police officers stage a Shariah raid in Banda Aceh in this file photo. (EPA Photo/Hotli Simanjuntak)

Police officers stage a Shariah raid in Banda Aceh in this file photo. (EPA Photo/Hotli Simanjuntak)

Malang. A survey in three provinces found that young people’s level of understanding of corruption and their willingness to obey the law did not correlate with Shariah, poverty or living in a multicultural society.

A survey by Transparency International Indonesia found that an understanding of corruption in the Shariah-based Aceh province was lowest compared to East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and East Java.

“It shows that there was no correlation between the implementation of Shariah law, living in one of the poorest provinces, or living in a multicultural society, with the level of understanding of corruption and breaking the law. Young people in these provinces understand what corruption is, and they also have experience in bribing officials,” Transparency International Indonesia’s youth program coordinator, Lia Toriana, said in a discussion at the secretariat of Malang Corruption Watch (MCW) in Malang, East Java, on Thursday.

A survey conducted between July and December last year found that only 31 percent of respondents in Aceh had a high level of awareness of the negative effects of corruption on society, compared to 54 percent in East Java and 55 percent in NTT.

“Their level of understanding of the bad effects of corruption is a measure of their integrity, which means no lying, no cheating,” Lia said.

She said even though the respondents claimed to be aware that corruption was wrong, most of them have committed bribery or cheated someone before.

Most of the corrupt practices they had committed, were related to police, getting a job, getting business permits or passing a  school examination. A small number of them admitted to having bribed officials at community health centers or hospitals to get quick and better service.

“Eighty-six percent of the respondents in Banda Aceh have bribed police when they got a ticket [for a traffic violation], while 87 percent in East Java and 83 percent in NTT had done similar,” she said.

Emphasis on morality

Lia said Islamic law imposed in Aceh placed more emphasis on morality and the bodies of residents.

“Shariah law emphasizes morality and the body. It’s not used to fight corruption. Take for instance, the [regulation] that bans women from straddling motorcycles or the cutting off of a thief’s hand. They do not apply Shariah to cases of corruption, and instead still use the anticorruption law for corruption cases,” Lia said.

The survey involved 2,000 respondents ranging between 15 and 30 years of age in the three provinces. The survey was conducted in those provinces because they were considered to be very different.

Transparency International Indonesia chose Aceh to see the correlation between the level of understanding of corruption with the implementation of Shariah law. NTT was chosen because the World Bank once named it Indonesia’s poorest province, while East Java was picked because of the multicultural background of its people.

The survey also showed that respondents trusted the police and military the least, with only 23 percent in Aceh, 44 percent in East Java and 20 percent in NTT saying they did.

“Most of the bribery involved the traffic corps when issuing a fine. We submitted this survey to the police as reference in an attempt to carry out internal reformation,” Transparency International Indonesia
director Dadang Trisasongko said.

Dadang added that corruption has not only become an inter-regional problem but also an inter-country problem.

“The readiness to commit bribery is the same for young people in villages where the level of access to information and services is lower than for those who live in cities. Many cases of inter-country money laundering, for instance, are from developing countries to developed countries,” he said.

Previously, Uchok Sky Khadafi, investigations and advocacy coordinator at the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra), said Aceh was the most corrupt province in Sumatra over the past five years with the Supreme Audit Board (BPK)
having found budget irregularities in the province of more than Rp 10 trillion ($880 million) in the 2009-2013 period.

“Findings of budget irregularities in the provincial level in Aceh reached Rp 7.4 trillion with 331 cases, while budget irregularities on the district and city level in Aceh reached Rp 2.9 trillion with 2,068 cases,” Uchok said.

“The BPK does not normally perform audits on 100 percent of the budget, and the cases represented in the findings constitute  only 20 percent. You can imagine if the audit was carried out 100 percent,” he said.

Askhalani, coordinator of Aceh’s
People’s Movement Against Corruption (GeRAK), said most of the corruption in the province involved grants and social aid.

He also blamed the rampant corruption in the province on the failure by legislators to properly carry out their supervisory functions.

“Some legislators even participated in   the corruption, or demanded a fee to be donated to their political parties or for their own interests,” he said.

Askhalani said he could not understand the large extent of the corruption in Aceh because the province adopted Shariah law.

In terms of corruption, Aceh is followed by oil-rich province Riau with potential losses of around Rp 708 billion, Jambi (Rp 604 billion), North Sumatra (Rp 565 billion), West Sumatra (Rp 249 billion), Lampung (Rp 108 billion), South Sumatra (Rp 101 billion), Bengkulu (Rp 91 billion) and Bangka Belitung (Rp 27 billion).

  • sumdood

    The headline cracks me up. Obviously religion will not stop unscrupulous people from doing what they know best.

  • Melissa Augustina

    This surely had to be read by bigots Indonesian who fight for Khilafah /Sharia to be implemented in Indonesia. Screw them!

    • YoPs

      Just post it in their facebook page

  • Max Headroom

    Absolutely no surprise there. On the contrary – as reported the level of understanding regarding corruption is even lower by quite a margin in those ultra-moral areas which implemented Sharia and are actually doing nothing else than forcing the twisted mindset of a few onto many who are not so really interested in it. Just a game of power, nothing else.

    What’s funny though is that in regards of trust to the police/army the level seem to vary between 22 to a maximum of 44 percent. Those are rather devastating numbers which just show how disregarded due to their very own doing those two institutions are. Now, reaching the data forward will of course not help at all – to ingrained is the level of power abuse with the police as well as with the army. What both need (and in particular the police as they are the ones in daily contact with the general population – or so it should at least be) is a COMPLETE reformation – from the top down!

    Stupid Sharia!

  • Vash

    In their national ID cards, they should write ‘Money’ as their religion.

    Its closer to the truth.

  • MadWorld

    Aceh numero Uno in corruption scale,, really. Let me explain. Aceh have 2 laws.
    1) The constitutional law of Republic Indonesia, which they abide when it is convenient for Aceh.
    2) The Sharia, created by the pious-Insya-Allah clerics.
    But, both the constitutional’s law & the chosen Sharia’s di.kheads representatives loves bribery & corruption.
    Summary :::the people of Aceh have a double whammy corruptors.

  • Josef

    even in middle east countries with sharia law, there’s no such thing anti-corruption. Leaders are immune to sharia law, the law is only for the ordinary people not for those in power.


    As always, I ask the question: How many people were interviewed to achieve your percentages? 10; 100; 1000 or 10,000 people? In the absence of reasonable figures I would say that the gist of your case sounds weak or without merits.
    No matter how one looks at the topic of corruption, takes whatever sampling from the young and old; from whichever province; the practice of corruption in Indonesia will still continue. This is due to the underlying fact that with the ongoing arrests and prosecution of corrupt officials (year in and year out) from every cross section of society, the young people has learned the tricks of the trade i.e. to perfect their corrupt practices. They have seen it and have done it at some time or another – like an old card game. Obvious to them, they found the Traffic Police and Military as the most corrupt – who acted as their latent teachers. Thus, with the passage of time, the young are not totally aware that corruption is an evil practise and is HARAM to their religion! And therefore, what needs to be done is surely by introducing deterrents or by alternative Sharia bylaws (as done in Aceh) to this effect.
    If I am not mistaken, Aceh, which has special Autonomy under the 1999 Aceh Admin. Law; it has issued 54 of 59 bylaws scheduled for passage by 2012 and yet the bigwigs are going on to more ambiguous and rankle demands e.g. hijab to be worn by non-muslims, no straddling on motor cycles; no selling or wearing tight fitting jeans……and what have you – to fill up the possible figure of 59 bylaws! But watch out, Dangdut shows on TV will soon be scraped due to over exposure on obvious curves of the body by some dexterous females!
    What is important for Aceh officials is to consider if they want the province to march forward or backwards. Laws, ordinances and bylaws will never change peoples’ perceptions or mentalities regarding corruption, affluence and modernity happening in Jakarta and elsewhere, despite bypassing the Freedom given to individuals as per the Constitution.
    In the last paragraph, you listed in terms of corruption, a number of Cities in Sumatra and Riau with “potential” losses of Billions of Rupiahs. What, when and how did these figures emerge? Please elucidate. I have never seen them before. How about advising the KPK that the Supreme Audit Board (BKP) had found some Rp10 Trillion missing in their 2009 to 2013 budgets – absolutely obscene and shocking news!
    Finally, we have educated our people to tertiary levels and the prime object of education is to allow the individual to think and not to be led by the nose. There may be some traces of fear but if we are to take our place in the world we must be seen as a nation that thinks and not regurgitates. Where there is justice and equity, and where the freedom of expression is not fallaciously seen as absolute must now be seen and properly addressed by the Aceh Government.
    16 March 2014

  • Diederik

    Why is this not reported in any Indonesian language newspaper?

  • conan_drum

    Where Islamic nations appear on corruption index (public) 2012 figures
    27th Quatar, UAE
    46 Brunei
    54 Malaysia, Turkey
    58 Jordan
    61 Oman
    66 Kuwait, Saudi A
    118 Egypt, Indonesia
    139 Pakistan
    144 Bangladesh, Syria
    156 Yemen
    174 Afghanistan
    Mind you a lot of so called christian nations (especially eg. Russia and Ukraine) do not do well either but if Sharia is as wonderful as they claim
    Islamic nations should be near the top!


    So what has the Govt.done to retrieve the stolen sum of Rp10 trillion from 2009 to 2013?
    Nothing or don’t want to take any action by the Central Govt as Sharia rules supreme in Aceh?
    3 May 2014