Public Satisfaction and Trust in Government Declines
The public satisfaction and trust in the current administration has fallen again. The government should use the public assessment as a guide for improvement.
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JAKARTA, KOMPAS - The level of public satisfaction and public trust in the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has significantly declined. The decrease in the satisfaction rate occurred in the aspect of law enforcement. There needs to be a leap of improvement so that the nation does not fall into a disorientation that hardens public distrust of the government.
Referring to the results of the Kompas Research and Development survey for the October 2022 period, the satisfaction level with the Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin’s government was recorded at 62.1 percent, down 5 percentage points from the level in the June 2022 survey. In fact, in the January 2022 survey, the satisfaction level amounted to 73.9 percent, the highest level recorded during the Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin administration.
The fall in the level of satisfaction was followed by a decline in the level of public trust in the performance of the government. The survey results for the October 2022 period showed that the public trust fell to 52 percent, the lowest since the start of the government. In the June 2022 survey, the public trust rate was 63.5 percent and in January 2022 it was 70.5 percent.
Of the four aspects surveyed, the public trust in the law enforcement saw a steep decline from 57.5 percent to 51.5 percent. The decline was in line with the erosion of public trust in in agencies related to law enforcement. The decline in the public trust in the National Police (Polri) dropped the most to 49 percent, down 17.2 percentage points. The public trust in the Supreme Court dropped by 10.2 percentage points to 52 percent.
For the other three aspects -- politics and security, economy and social welfare -- there were slight increases in public trust, although not significant.
Responding to the survey results, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said in an interview at the end of last week that the decline of the public trust in law enforcement was mainly caused by incidental events, not due to the security situation, which was generally in a good condition. The events in question include the murder of Brig. Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, the Kanjuruhan soccer stadium tragedy and the alleged bribery in managing the legal case involving Supreme Court Civil Court Justice (MA) Sudrajad Dimyati.
If disintegration occurs, it will not be able to be [re-]united.
The survey results should be used as material for reflection upon improvement. Improvement efforts must be made immediately because if not, Indonesia could enter into a disoriented state, which usually triggers public distrust, disobedience and leads to disintegration.
"If disintegration occurs, it will not be able to be [re-]united," said Mahfud.
For this reason, there needs to be an arrangement of all state institutions so that they have the same view on the problems facing the state and the direction needed to improve them. The executive cannot work alone, but needs support from the legislature, in addition to the judiciary, which must also improve.
For the Police, mental and cultural reforms are needed. This involves obedience, discipline, example and firmness. Reforms are also needed related to the lavish lifestyle of members of the National Police, which has been strongly criticized by the President.
As for the Supreme Court, according to Mahfud, the government cannot step in directly in fixing it because there is a principle of independence of the judiciary. However, through the State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform Minister as well as the Law and Human Rights Minister, the government can improve the management of the state civil apparatus within the Supreme Court. Every year, civil servants can be transferred to prevent them from becoming intermediaries in bribery between judges and litigants.
In addition, the role of the Judicial Commission (KY) also needs to be fortified. Currently, the recommendation for sanctions for judges issued by KY can be rejected by the Supreme Court at any time. In fact, KY in other countries can not only recommend the dismissal of judges, but can also monitor their behavior.
In line with Mahfud, the head of the Presidential Staff (KSP), Moeldoko, emphasized that the government would continue to seek improvements.
The role of the political elite
Lecturer of constitutional law at Gadjah Mada University, Zainal Arifin Mochtar, emphasized that the reform of the National Police should not only be limited to a matter of lifestyle, but should be a cultural reform.
There are many other things that need to be highlighted, such as the establishment of a system to prevent illegal levies, ensuring cases are handled properly, to preventing tampering with cases.
In addition, reform of the structure and substance of the regulations is also needed. Structural reform is related to the organizational restructuring of the National Police, while reform of the substance of the rules is aimed at ensuring an improvement in the culture of the National Police.
"All of those are actually the main tasks, but they are ignored," added Zainal.
What is also important is that reform cannot completely depend on the Police. Quoting the dissertation “The Rise of Polri: Democratisation and the Political Economy of Security in Indonesia” (2012), written by a researcher from the London School of Economics, Jacqueline Baker, the political elite has an important function because it plays a role in making policies that will affect security institutions.
For this reason, Zainal hoped that all parties would use a number of recent cases, both those that occurred in the police and the Supreme Court, as an opportunity for improvement. Repair efforts should not merely provide a momentary fix, with the mistakes to be repeated again. "Improvement of this institution should not only look at the current state of affairs, but also requires the seriousness of the actors. There must be a significant leap forward," he said.
Meanwhile, regarding the economic aspect, despite a slight increase in satisfaction with the government's overall performance, two issues should be highlighted due to the high percentage of respondents expressing dissatisfaction: the government's performance in controlling the prices of goods and services (62 percent) and the performance in reducing the unemployment rate (55 percent).
In this regard, the executive director of the Center of Reform on Economics Indonesia, Mohammad Faisal, said that the government must optimize the use of the limited budget by determining spending allocations more carefully. Social protection should be a priority over other non-urgent programs.
"Indeed, next year our economy is predicted to be safe, but that is not enough. It is possible to normalize [fiscal] policies, but the grassroots economy must be the biggest consideration. We need to be extra careful in reducing social-assistance spending and incentives," he said.
In terms of job creation, he highlighted that there would be a lack of decent jobs. "This is not just a matter of more jobs. Unemployment may drop, but people work with lower incomes or work in in the informal sector," he said. (BOW/DEA/INA/WKM/AGE)
This article was translated by Hendarsyah Tarmizi.