Indonesia’s democracy is dilapidated, many universities are “cheating” the authorities

Ahead of the 2024 general election, various universities in Indonesia are busy "plugging" the ears of the authorities through petitions, edicts, and manifestos regarding the current condition of Indonesian democracy.

This year, Indonesia will hold its five-year democratic party, namely the 2024 general election. Ahead of the 2024 general election, various universities in Indonesia are busy “plugging” the ears of the authorities through petitions, edicts, and manifestos regarding the current condition of Indonesian democracy. Voices of concern about the condition of democracy and political dynamics are increasingly resounding. Not only civil society, but academics also voiced their concerns.

The academic community, from students to professors, must “come down from the mountains” to express their stance and “fight” the current dilapidated condition of Indonesian democracy. Many state universities issue petitions, edicts, and petitions, such as the University of Indonesia, Diponegoro University, Padjadjaran University, Universitas Negeri Semarang, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Andalas University, and so on.

Not only state universities, but private universities have also expressed their attitude towards the current condition of Indonesian democracy, for example, the Islamic University of Indonesia, Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta, Ahmad Dahlan University, Muhammadiyah University of Bangka Belitung, all campuses of Philosophy Colleges in Indonesia and so on.

As academics and intellectuals, universities have a moral responsibility to actively participate in maintaining and fighting for democracy. Higher education is not an ivory tower isolated from political and social realities.

The voice of higher education, whether in the form of a statement of attitude or real action, can be a catalyst for positive change in society, so this statement of attitude is expected to be able to make all universities in Indonesia a bastion of democracy and critical of all forms of oppression.

A Strong Warning to the Rulers

Several universities in Indonesia have issued petitions openly criticizing the current state of Indonesian democracy – under the rule of President Joko Widodo’s government. This petition contains firm criticism and calls on Jokowi to maintain state ethics and democracy.

For example, the University of Indonesia condemns actions that suppress freedom of expression, demands honest elections, and calls on all universities to supervise the implementation of voting. Gadjah Mada University, Padjadjaran University, and the Islamic University of Indonesia also expressed similar criticism, highlighting ethical violations and injury to democratic values ​​ahead of the 2024 elections. The petition is a moral appeal and response to concerns about the condition of democracy in Indonesia.

Towards the end of the term of office as ‘captain’ In this Republic, many of the policies or decisions of President Jokowi and his government are reckless, causing the decline of democracy. These policies, such as weakening of the Corruption Eradication Commission, Job Creation Law, Perppu on Mass Organizations, etc.

In the end, the academic community, especially professors, had to ‘come down from the mountains’ to give a strong warning to the authorities not to be careless in running the government. Perhaps the government has forgotten that the people hold the highest power in this Republic because democracy is of, by, and for the people.

Indonesian Democracy is Broken

Looking at the existing reality, it is not surprising that Indonesian democracy is said to be dilapidated. A study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that Indonesia’s democracy index in 2022 is a flawed democracy, so Indonesia only achieved a score of 6.71 out of 10 and still maintains its position as a country with imperfect democracy.

In the global ranking, Indonesia is in 54th position out of a total of 167 countries, experiencing a decrease from the previous year’s ranking which was in 52nd position. Thus, an assessment of Indonesian democracy shows significant weaknesses. Index of democracy that achieves status flawed democracy This indicates that there are various problems in the democratic system in Indonesia.

Several factors that can cause this decline involve various aspects, such as corruption, inequality, human rights violations, and lack of transparent political involvement. One of the main challenges faced by Indonesian democracy is the high level of corruption at various levels of government. Rampant corrupt practices can hinder the healthy growth of democracy, fuel public discontent, and create inequalities in the distribution of resources.

Apart from that, violations of fundamental human rights and political tendencies that lack transparency also hurt the health of democracy in Indonesia. Restrictions on freedom of opinion, freedom of the press, and public participation in decision-making can harm the essence of the democratic system itself.

Efforts to improve and reform the political system are the key to improving the quality of democracy in Indonesia. Concrete steps need to be taken to combat corruption, increase transparency, strengthen institutions democratic, as well as encourage active community participation in the political process. Only with joint efforts from the government, institutions, and society can Indonesian democracy emerge from its status-flawed democracy and head in a better direction.

Indonesia Must Improve

Indonesia must improve to improve the condition of its democracy, which continues to show weaknesses and defects. Indonesia’s ranking as a country with an imperfect democracy indicates that there is a lot of homework that needs to be done. For this reason, change cannot only rely on one party but must involve all elements of society and related institutions.

First of all, the government needs to take concrete steps to combat corruption, which is one of the main factors hindering the health of democracy. Steps to eradicate corruption must be more than just political rhetoric but must be accompanied by firm action and the application of fair and transparent laws.

Second, transparency in the political process and decision-making must be increased. The public must have wider access to information regarding government policies and programs. Government institutions must also be more open to criticism and input from the public and supervisory institutions.

In addition, the protection of human rights must be strengthened. Every individual must have the freedom to express and express opinions without fear of repression or persecution. Protection of press freedom is also important to ensure that there is ample space for the media to provide objective information to the public.

No less important, active participation of the community in the political process must be encouraged. The public must feel that their voices are heard and have influence in policy making. This can be done through the development of participatory mechanisms that enable communities to be directly involved in making decisions that affect their lives.

By carrying out these steps seriously and consistently, Indonesia can improve the condition of its democracy in a better direction. Only with hard work and commitment from all parties, Indonesia can realize the vision of a democracy that is stronger, fairer, and more resilient to the challenges of the times.

The conclusion is that Indonesian democracy faces serious challenges that result in a dilapidated state of democracy. Various universities, both state and private, have been vocal in their condemnation of democratic violations and criticism of the authorities, especially ahead of the 2024 general election. Issues such as corruption, human rights violations, and lack of transparency in the political process are of primary concern.

Indonesia’s ranking as a country with an imperfect democracy shows that there is a lot of homework to be done. Improvements in the political system, eradicating corruption, increasing transparency, protecting human rights, and increasing public participation are the keys to improving the quality of democracy.

Only with hard work and commitment from all parties, including the government, related institutions, and society, can Indonesia improve its democratic conditions towards a better direction. Joint efforts are needed to ensure that democracy in Indonesia becomes stronger, fairer, and able to face the challenges of the times.

Raihan M. Hatta
Raihan M. Hatta
I am studying at the Faculty of Law as well as the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences in Indonesia. I also work as a freelance writer, discussing political, legal, human rights issues and so on.