Monday, 21 December 2009

Readers' Hopes: Firm steps need to be taken

Mon, 12/21/2009 1:01 PM | Review & Outlook

The fight against corruption needs to be stepped up. During the Soeharto era, corruption became a way of life and has only accelerated after he stepped down. Three generations of absolute greed, thievery, fraud, embezzlement and gaining easy access to more riches, has grown out of proportion.

Educating the population that corruption is wrong will not be easy since many in the current administration are setting a bad example. Founding the KPK is a step in the right direction.

However, this institution should be thoroughly examined and cleaned of greedy officials. The KPK should be given more legal power, only then will corruption slowdown. The AGO and Police are unreliable and these two institutions should be cleaned, but where can we begin when officials from the top to bottom are dishonest.

This gloomy picture is not encouraging, yet we should begin to clean up the current administration from greedy and dishonest people. SBY should stop giving sleep-inducing speeches, a short and straight to the point explanation, showing a genuine intention for the welfare of the country. He should also make his words transform into reality instead of lip service only.

In environmental issues, the Forestry Ministry should stop issuing licenses and giving concessions to people to start deforestation. Even national parks are slowly losing trees due to illegal logging. Long jail sentences and steep fines should be extended to illegal loggers.

The government should educate people living in these areas about the importance of planting trees, and the forestry minister should take the lead when he carries out tree-planting.

In education, Indonesia is the only country in Southeast Asia where children pay exorbitant fees for a good education.

The government should tackle illegal additional fees which schools levy without remorse. These fees amount to many rupiah. Basic education until high school should be made available to each child without cost.

Teachers are paid low salaries for working long hours. This practice should stop. Well-educated children are the future of the nation. When will the government realize this?

Corruption is rife at all government institutions. It affects the above-mentioned issues. It is a vicious circle that needs breaking, and we should do it now.

Where would we be without the press. It is the only tool left in this country to fight against dishonest and corrupt officials. Supported by the public, it is a powerful weapon.

Lynna van der Zee-Oehmke
Bogor, West Java