Monday, December 26, 2005

Meeting the Wrath of the Pharaoh?

Having faced relentless angry responses from the community for their "comparative parliamentary study" to Egypt, the legislators (who went on this so-called study) have decided upon their arrival in Indonesia to ask for "forgiveness" from the people for their mistake.

However, because of the gravity of what they have done, forgiveness is not an option. Impeaching them from their positions would be the best option. It is now up to the Working Body of the House of Representatives (BK-DPR) to act.

Recently in India, a videotape of MPs taking bribes by some undercover TV journalists resulted in the expulsion of eleven of the MPs. The journalists, posing as rich individuals, had come to ask favors from the MPs to raise questions for them during the parliamentary session. Each question posed by the MPs was worth of some thousands of Indian rupees.

It was during the meeting between these MPs and the journalists that the bribe transactions were captured on a hidden camera. The videotaped transaction was broadcast on a prime-time TV show that later resulted in swift action by the Indian parliament to summon the MPs over their alleged involvement in the case. The video resulted in the immediate expulsion of the MPs from the House.

The question now is: Can the BK-DPR bring the same justice to the 15 of its members like the Indian Parliament did to its eleven members for their involvement in corruption? The fifteen members of the House of Representatives who visited Egypt on "official duty" have, in my opinion, crossed the line and should be charged with corruption. Public money spent during this visit should be returned and they should be held accountable for their actions. In other words, the guilty must be punished.

The failure of the BK-DPR to act will only degrade its position in the eyes of the Indonesian people and add to the woes and miseries of the people.

Published in The Jakarta Post Online on 26 December 2005
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