Authors: Budi Setiyono and Ross H. McLeod
Soeharto era concern about corruption was deflected by the establishment of toothless anti-corruption committees, and by suppression of anti-corruption activism and media comment. With Soeharto’s demise, activists began to publicise their concerns more openly — at first speaking in general terms, but later making increasingly specific allegations. The sporadic activism of the Soeharto years was consolidated, first through cooperative action among similarly motivated informal groups, and later through establishment of formal civil society organisations (CSOs) intent on rolling back corruption. The CSOs have played a key role in pushing for new laws and institutions to help eradicate corruption, and many corrupt officials have been imprisoned. This paper finds little evidence, however, that corruption has declined significantly. It argues that further progress depends on CSOs gaining a better understanding of the underlying causes of corruption, and that these are to be found in public sector personnel management practices.
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