World Bulletin / News Desk
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Thursday corruption is on the rise, even in parliament, in his most explicit comments yet on a scourge that he warned threatened economic growth in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Corruption is widely seen as holding back the economy and Yudhoyono has been criticized for letting the fight against it slow as he comes towards the end of his second five-year term.
A series of corruption scandals have rocked the president's Democrat Party, weakening it in advance of elections in 2014 when Yudhoyono will step down.
"The drum of war on corruption should not dissipate. Corruption should be completely eradicated," Yudhoyono said in a speech to parliament ahead of the country's Independence Day anniversary.
"I have to admit there are still many perpetrators of corruption even in the government, parliament, regional representatives and among law enforcers," Yudhoyono said.
There are few estimates of how much corruption costs Indonesia but watchdog groups say it is prevalent in the civil service, police and judicial system and that it adds to business costs in part by weakening confidence in the rule of law.
Despite rampant graft, resource-rich Indonesia has become a favorite of emerging market investors because of its large domestic market as the world's fourth most populous country, rising middle class, relatively stable fiscal framework and low levels of public debt.
Economic growth picked up to a stronger-than-expected 6.4 percent last quarter, defying a global downturn because of domestic consumption and investment.
Yudhoyono's wide-ranging speech ahead of Independence Day was the latest in a series to touch on corruption.
He said cooperation between the anti-graft body the KPK, the Supreme Court, police and the Attorney General's office was paramount in fighting corruption.
Yudhoyono said the government must provide a safe legal environment for investors if it is to promote economic growth, as well as removing hurdles to investment and promoting infrastructure growth.
One analyst said he was skeptical that the speech signaled any real stiffening of government resolve on corruption.
"This speech is normative because if you say such things you have to show concrete examples. The president mentions extraordinary action to face corruption but there is no realization on the ground," said Donal Fariz of Indonesia Corruption Watch, a graft watchdog.
Europe's economic crisis also provided a threat to growth in Indonesia, and that the government needed to cautiously give a fiscal stimulus, though he did not give any details, Yudhoyono said.
Economists say the government needs to spend more to overhaul infrastructure to drive long-term growth, though central government spending usually falls below target because of corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency.
Treasury reports central government debt stock in March rises around 15 pct year-on-year, reaching nearly $235 billion
Sales to foreigners amounted to 1,827, 15.8 pct rise year-on-year, according to official report
BIST 100 slips 0.15 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.0460
BIST 100 rises 0.01 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate drops to 4.0250
Fresh hopes that Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un will hold a historic summit within months also provided some much-needed optimism.
The fund cautioned that investors and financial markets expect a steady approach to monetary tightening based on the belief inflation will remain relatively tame.
Turkey's assets abroad go up 2.4 percent at end of February 2018, compared to end of 2017: Turkish Central Bank
BIST 100 decreases 0.12 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.1020
Hong Kong and China ended down after fluctuating through the morning on data showing the world's number two economy expanded in January-March at the same rate as the previous three months.
For Turkey, Germany is a very important, indispensable partner: Turkish Energy Minister Albayrak says in Berlin
BIST 100 rises 0.69 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.0830
The United States, Britain and France carried out attacks at the weekend on alleged chemical weapons facilities, in response to what they say was a toxic gas attack by the Russia-backed Assad regime a week before.
Excluding interest payments, central government budget balance saw surplus of nearly $500M in first quarter of 2018
London's FTSE 100 index fell 0.1 percent to 7,254.83 points, with UK advertising giant WPP diving four percent after chief executive Martin Sorrell resigned over the weekend.
The US, Britain and France carried out attacks at the weekend on alleged chemical weapons facilities, in response to what they say was a toxic gas attack by the Russia-backed Assad regime a week before.