Post Reform: Localized Corruption, Inequality, and Public Policy

Decades of long systemic corruption conducted by Soeharto and his cronies was one of the major causes of contention that brought the people’s power spearheaded, led by university students,to rise up in Indonesia’s reformasi of 1998 that demand to bring down the regime. Soeharto’s Orde Baru or New Order era, established an intricating system of centralized corruption, effectively turning the public services and bureaucracy into money grabbing machine to serve themselves and whoever who stood at the top of the food chain. It had systematically created inequality by establishing an inverted society in which tax-paying citizen serves the bureaucracy and policy makers and not the other way around. Corruption was established in all aspects of society, not only in all the three pillars of government (executive, legislative, and judicative) but also in military, police, civil society, business, basically everywhere.

Following the fall of Soeharto, the new era reformasi quickly established corruption as a major threat and works its way to fix it. But the era has gone for more than a decade, and corruption is still heavily rooted in all aspects of life in Indonesia. Reformasi brought a lot of progresses and differences in the process. Indonesia now has much more free press, a more democratic system of election, and an independent anti-corruption body, all comparably better than what we had during Orde Baru. However corruption has gone through changes as well, mutating from a highly centralized act into a decentralized act of greed. With the intention of changing the once very corrupt centralized government, decentralization unintentionally created a new breed of corrupted local leaders. The new breed of corruptors, localized and served themselves rather than the country, further created inequality in the society. Highly decentralized corruption negates access of society from the quality of education, health care, infrastructure, and createsa far worse gap in the society.

This panel invites papers to discuss examples of corruption in localized context, identifying its core problem and the main stakeholders, and to present sound arguments on how to effectively build public awareness to fight it.

Panel Coordinator:

Frenky Simanjuntak


  1. How Are We Supposed to Situate Corruption? [Muhammad Damm]
  2. “A Necessary Given” or “Social Illness” in Society? Public Policy Perspective on Inequality [Ubaidillah Nugraha]
  3. ‘In the Name of Welfare ’: From Social Protection to Rupture of Society (Case Study about  the Local Leaders and Their Role in Implementation The Social Protection Programs in Gampong Blang Pulo, Lhokseumawe, Aceh) [Pangeran P.P.A. Nasution]
  4. Reducing Poverty via Decentralisation on Forest Management [Hizkia Respatiadi]