Hanging Up On Corruption
The world again this week got a taste of how things operate in Indonesia, with news reported on an American talkshow that an actor had apparently been asked by an immigration official for an expensive smartphone as he tried to enter Bali.
Taylor Kitsch, known to viewers as an actor on the television programme Friday Night Lights, arrived at Ngurah Rai International Airport on February 1, and planned to travel on to West Nusa Tenggara province for a shoot of an Oliver Stone-directed picture, Savages. But the 30-year-old did not have the required number of blank pages in his passport and was refused entry to Bali.
It appears the actor then attempted to convince the immigration officer of his profession, as though that would permit him to circumvent Indonesians laws. Kitsch told Late Show host David Letterman that computers at the Bali entry point were not operational and he therefore showed the officer a movie clip on his iPhone that featured him. It was at that point that the immigration official apparently issued his request, asking if the visitor had a similar high-tech phone for him. That was his mistake.
“I said, ‘I can show you something to prove (that I’m an actor)’ and then I’m looking on my iPhone because their computers weren’t working, and he is like, ‘Hey, can you get me one of those’…,” Kitsch said.
Now, the authorities in Jakarta have tracked down the errant official and are investigating, promising “sanctions” if they prove his actions were illicit.
While this high-profile incident is not as scandalous as others of recent years at Bali and Jakarta airports, it nonetheless underlines the continuing difficulties in all ranks of government agencies. While here, the alleged wrongdoer may have made a casual, throwaway remark, going on what Kitsch said, there is still enough of an aura of corruption about it to warrant investigation and possible reprimand.
The only way to remove officials’ temptation by money or expensive gadgets in allowing people to break the rules is to ensure they have enough cash themselves, which given government wages is certainly not the case. Until such time the government wakes up to this salient fact, the lines of corruption will remain firmly open.Filed under: Editorial