KPK Faces Lawsuit by Former Staff for National Civics Test

Jakarta – On 10 March (Thursday), the Tim Advokasi Selamatkan Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Saving Corruption Eradication Commission Advocacy Team), of which AMAR is a part of, represented members of the IM57+ Institute – a non-governmental organization established by former staff of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) at Jakarta Administrative Court (PTUN Jakarta) in the first instance of the lawsuit – a preparatory examination conducted against five heads of KPK, the Indonesian National Civil Service Agency (BKN), and the Indonesian President – Jokowi.


It was filed on 1 March with Case No. 46/G/TF/2022/PTUN.JKT and Case No. 47/G/TF/2022/PTUN.JKT on the basis that the Ombudsman’s and National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) recommendations for improvement were not carried out despite the fact that maladministration was suspected to have been involved in the case. The second instance of the examination took place on 17 March and the third instance took place on 24 March. However, in both instances, the five heads of KPK, the representative from BKN, and Jokowi failed to attend.


This matter stemmed from the controversy of KPK employees having to take a national civics test  (TWK) as a consequence of the transition of KPK from being an independent institution to becoming a state institution under the executive branch. On 31 May 2021, 75 employees were announced to fail the test. On 30 September 2021, 58 employees were promptly fired from their jobs. The test was suspected to have been a planned operation to get rid of certain employees in the KPK’s transition from an independent institution to an institution under the Executive branch.


The Supreme Court (MA) had been called by the public to conduct a judicial review of the legal basis of the test. However, the MA dismissed the request as it was outside of their jurisdiction, pointing out that it was within the jurisdiction of an executive body. This prompted the public to turn their attention to the head of the executive body in Indonesia – the president. In a video posted on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube account on May 17, 2021,  President Jokowi had stated that the TWK should not have been a basis for the dismissal of KPK employees. However, he had chosen not to take part in the legal process despite having the capability to do so. His response proved to dismiss the recommendations of Komnas HAM and Ombudsman, this has become the basis of the lawsuit at PTUN Jakarta.


This issue raises an important question – what is the point of the existence of State Auxiliary Bodies such as the Ombudsman and Komnas HAM if state actors refuse to comply with their recommendations? Furthermore, wouldn’t this refusal constitute a violation of Law No. 37 of 2008 concerning the Indonesian Ombudsman and Law No. 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights? Remember, the 1945 Constitution itself stipulates that no state actors may operate without legal grounds and consequences – they are not above the law and they must abide by it just as any other Indonesian citizen would.


We hope for the cooperation of all parties involved in the proceedings. Moreover, we expect the final decision of the court to be granted in the former employees’ favor. They deserve it; after all, they were once part of KPK – a commission aimed at eradicating corruption within the government and thus fighting for the justice of the people. A right decision by the court can go a long way, it will allow Indonesia to continue its steps forward in its efforts to eradicate corruption.