The country’s corruption-busting chief said in an interview this week – carried on page 6 of this edition – that it will likely take up to another two decades before the cancer that continues to eat away at this nation is killed off.
That’s too long, and despite the laudable work that Antasari Azhar’s Corruption Eradication Commission is doing in apprehending sleazy politicians and officials, there is a systemic failure that feeds the ill of graft: piteously small salaries.
For as long as those who are paid by the state – civil servants, police, the judiciary – receive a pittance upon which they could never survive, the will to take will forever be there.
Given the continual rise in the cost of living, it is all the more imperative to swiftly raise the salaries of such officials so that they are somewhat inline with that of foreign counterparts. Products and services may be cheaper than elsewhere in the region, but that does not mean salaries have to be entry-level low.
Until such time that this issue is properly addressed by those in Jakarta, battling corruption will largely be an occasional showcase viewed on the evening news.Filed under: Editorial