Rector Election System to be Revamped After Bribery Claims

The Jakarta Post, page 3, Saturday, Nov 5

At a time when the country’s universities are still struggling to compete with the best in the region, unhappy news has emerged of reported bribery attempts in rector elections at a number of state universities.

The Indonesian Ombudsman recent revealed that it had received complaints about alleged bribery in the elections of rectors at seven state campuses in Sumatera, Java and Sulawesi. A political party executive and a Researcher and Technology and Higher Education Ministry official are believed to have orchestrated these illicit practices.

Possible bribery in what could be the most important transitional phase in any university has yet to be proved by the authorities, however, including the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

But the KPK has said a policy resulting from a 2010 minister’s regulation, which gives the researcher and technology and higher education minister the equivalent of 35 percent of the votes in a rector election, could feasibly create the conditions for bribery attempts to flourish in elections.

Because a decision from the minister could possibly determine the election results, many people have allegedly tried to trade their influence with lectures wanting to claim the position, saying they could lobby the minister to cast his or her vote in favor candidates.

Acknowledging the call by the antigraft body, Researcher and Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir has pledged to revamp the mechanism for rector elections to prevent any illicit practices from happening in the future.

A joint assessment team consisting of the ministry, the KPK, the Ombudsman and the State Bureaucracy Commission (KASN) has been established to determine what steps to take to make the institutions “transparent and accountable”

Nasir said, an assessment on the mechanism of rector elections in state universities is needed now because he wants rectors who have good qualities to lead the campuses.

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