The most logical course of action is often the easiest one to do. That is perhaps why, amid intense condemnation towards filthy rich public servants in the country, the government’s message to them is that they should avoid parading their wealth in public.
Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas today told reporters that, as instructed by President Joko Widodo himself, public servants are now forbidden from flaunting their wealth.
The implication in Abdullah’s statement is that the prohibition applies to those with ill-gotten wealth or otherwise.
“It’s clear now from the president that public servants are not allowed to flaunt their wealth, and that they are compliant with LHKPN,” he said, referring to the official wealth report all public servants must submit annually.
That said, Abdullah added that the government will press on with bureaucratic reforms and strengthen institutions’ financial audit capabilities in order to aid the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) drive to combat graft.
In recent weeks, Indonesian netizens have been relentless in naming and shaming public officials who are allegedly living well above the means of their modest pay. The online witch-hunt came after an aggravated assault carried out by the son of a Jakarta tax official led to intense public scrutiny towards the family’s lavish lifestyle.
While the tax official, Rafael Alun Trisambodo, was fired this week after auditors found that he had hidden his wealth and avoided paying taxes, it seems that any suspiciously wealthy public official can be publicly called out at any moment.
In late February, the focus turned towards Yogyakarta Customs and Excise Office Head Eko Darmanto, who routinely posted photos and videos of him posing in classic cars and motorcycles, as well as flying a Cessna airplane. He was questioned by KPK on Tuesday over discrepancies in his LHKPN.
And then it was Makassar Customs and Excise Office Head Andhi Pramono’s turn to face the music this week. Footage emerged showing his mansion in Cibubur, East Jakarta, which was followed by pictures and videos of his daughter living the high life here and abroad. Netizens also unearthed an Instagram post from 2020 from an account that rates people’s outfits by value, featuring Andhi’s daughter wearing a supposedly IDR22 million (US$1,422) Balenciaga turtleneck top.
Andhi is set to face KPK questioning next week.
Looking at recent social media activity of accounts who have taken it upon themselves to call out filthy rich officials, it seems that there will be more unusually wealthy public servants in the firing line. This is just the beginning.