Talk of Corruption in Eastern Indonesian Communities: Reactions to Local Government in the Post-Suharto Reform Era

in Asian Journal of Social Science
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Abstract

Eastern Indonesia, most notably Nusa Tenggara Timor province, has been frequently referred to as the poorest region in Indonesia and claims have recently been made that it is the most corrupt as well. The spread of corruption in the post-Suharto period, with the introduction of regional autonomy and decentralisation, has often been commented on; but what is corruption? How do people define it? This paper uses an anthropological lens on corruption to suggest that with the spread of ideas of ‘good governance’ and ‘democracy’, one significant way that local communities in NTT province engage with the state and define corruption is as an abuse of power and non-consultation with the populace. This has become particularly acute with the government belief that new investment opportunities in the reform era will become a road to development and prosperity for local communities, who are, however, seen to be unable to provide for themselves or seek their own ways out of poverty. Several regional governments in NTT province have taken advantage of new laws put into effect in the reform era to award mining concessions to domestic and foreign mining companies. A swell of protest has arisen across the province, however, and an increasing critique of poor government and corrupt practices focuses on these mining contracts.

Talk of Corruption in Eastern Indonesian Communities: Reactions to Local Government in the Post-Suharto Reform Era

in Asian Journal of Social Science

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