Jokowi Promises to Eradicate Illegal Extortion Fees

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has promised to eradicate the practices of extortion fees, known locally aspungli, from the top down as a part of the government’s public service reform agenda.

President Jokowi reiterated the government’s commitment to reforming public services after a sting operation at Transportation Ministry last week, which saw the arrests of three ministry officials and seizure of more than Rp 90 million cash ($6,900) and Rp 1 billion in bank receipts.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said police would investigate irregularities and alleged extortion related to the issuance of driving licenses and the payment of vehicle taxes, to support the government’s institutional reforms.

“It is not limited to the matters of land certificate, driving license, ID card and other permits, I will monitor everything. Just be careful. I have reprimanded you,” Jokowi said during his remarks in a handover ceremony of 3,232 Strategic Land Certificates in Solo, Central Java, on Sunday (16/10).

Jokowi said the reforms are aimed at creating a better and transparent public service, adding the total amount of illegal fees across the country may reach trillions of rupiah. The president will also monitor extortion practices.

“Not merely the Rp 500,000 or Rp 1 million, I will also take actions on the illegal fees worth only Rp 10,000,” Jokowi said, adding that several teams have been formed to monitor and report irregularities and illegal fees in government’s public service sector.

“All complaints on illegal fees should be delivered through Facebook, Twitter and text. I will read and inspect in the field,” he said.