I had the opportunity to be part of a high level government delegation, led by the Secretary of the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), U San Win to Indonesia to observe first-hand how the country is spearheading anti-corruption initiatives. The study visit came at a time where the newly appointed Anti-Corruption Commission of Myanmar under the leadership of H.E. U Aung Kyi, Chairman of the ACC, is determining its priorities and plan of action.
The new Commission was appointed in late November 2017 and is made of 12 members, three of which are women.
Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) hosted the visit and ensured that the Myanmar delegates visit key Government stakeholders involved in implementing the Anti-Corruption Strategy.
The Myanmar delegates had the rare opportunity to witness the KPK in full action. On Wednesday 13 December, the prosecution of the Speaker of the Indonesian Parliament formally started at the Anti-Corruption court in Jakarta. The Deputy Commissioner of the KPK, confided to the delegation that it was the KPK’s independence and the strong support it has received from the public that allowed it to investigate and prosecute several prominent political figures in the country. It was evident to the Myanmar delegation that the autonomy of the KPK from the executive branch of government had transformed it into the people’s advocate for a clean and effective public service.
While in Indonesia, the mission also met with civil society organizations active in the anti-corruption field such as Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) and the Indonesian Chapter of Transparency International (TI). This showcased the importance of public support to the anti-corruption agency in the country; the KPK had on repeated occasions been subjected to political and institutional pressures and several attempts were made to amend its law and curtail its mandate. It was the general public, the syndicates and the civil society that ‘protected’ the institutional and preserved its mandate and independence. The Myanmar delegates welcomed the involvement of civil society and consensually emphasized that civil society is to be seen as a partner in the process in Myanmar as well.
The mission also provided a detailed overview of the Indonesian’s Anti-Corruption Strategy, which is currently under review and renewal. The Indonesian KPK, the Ministry of Planning (Bappenas) and other government agencies stressed on the inclusive and collaborative process that is currently underway for the development of the new strategy, which focuses on professional integrity and accountability. All government agencies are collaborating in developing the new Strategy with inputs from civil society. The implementation of the new strategy will be led by the KPK and will be fully aligned with the Government’s development priorities.
The Indonesian stakeholders highlighted the importance of cross-agency cooperation and collaboration in the drive against corruption, and were very welcoming of the representativeness of the Myanmar Delegation. The latter included in addition to the ACC, a Member of Parliament and senior officials from the State Counsellor’s Office (SCO), the Auditor General’s Office (UAGO), the Bureau of Special Investigation (BSI) and the Ministry of Planning and Finance (MoPF).
The Indonesian experience inspired the Myanmar delegation - U San Win, the head of delegation, said “the new ACC is looking into ways to develop an Anti-Corruption Strategy that would ensure the involvement of all government agencies to combat corruption more effectively”. He assured the strategy would be developed in accordance with international standards with the support of international agencies and the involvement of the Myanmar civil society.
Indonesia and Myanmar have both been recording steady progress on TI’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), but their public sectors remain quite porous to corruption and the delivery of essential services still suffers. The Indonesian side committed to providing technical assistance to the Myanmar Government, bilaterally and through UNDP’s offices in both countries.
The study visit was undertaken as part of UNDP’s public administration responsiveness output supporting democratic governance in Myanmar. UNDP’s work in the area of anti-corruption is part of the regional ‘Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies’, supported by the Government of Australia and UNDP. Anti-corruption activities are part of UNDP’s broader support to democratic governance, which is funded by the governments of Australia, Finland, Sweden, the UK and UNDP.