February 26, 2024

The Ethics of Funding in the Local Election

Our nation has approved that democracy is the best option for us in organizing our nation. One of the elements of democracy that is very fundamental is the regular election. Through election, the people can judge the contract that (once) given to the representatives in the past, and after that, will decide the people to trust in leading the country in the future.

The representative system that becomes the basic logic for election, often times reduce the sovereignty of the people, because in its turn, the system produces a layer of political elite. Various forms of negotiation in elite level is often times formulated and set as the common interest, even though it is not seldom, what truly happens is the importance of the elite group and ignore the importance of the people. The most obvious example is shown by the behavior of our political elite, by using the country”s facilities and also money—that belong to the people—they only focus on wining their group or their party, but their job in making the country right is almost none.

Relating to this, we need a strong ethical base that can handle in every election, in fulfilling this democracy”s demand. Moreover, our democracy is now has eroded the substantial values of democracy itself and only grows procedurally. Elections have been interpreted as only the place to seek power and importance, and because of them every form of transaction seems legal. In other words, we are in democracy realm with non-existent ethics.

Indeed, one of the hard problems that we face is ethics crisis. Prof. Dr. Jimly Asshiddiqie stated that moral crisis has given contribution negatively towards the corruption practice, collusion and nepotism (KKN) in the country (17/1, 2014 in Merauke, Papua). This ethics crisis has also shattered the values of our democracy.

As the impact, the process of democratization after the 1998 reformation does not bring a significant change to the majority of the people in the bottom layer. This process is more pleasing for the elites and the politicians. Democracy that is assumed as the people”s way to prosperous life, in reality becomes the publics” burden. Instead of making the nation prosperous, many democracy foundations that exist since 1988 only erode the wealth of the country. Democracy is indeed benefiting the doer of “industry” democracy. The people are “forced” to fund the cost of democracy that ironically, resulting in something that is far from the people”s hope

This thing starts from the reality that the procedure that is undergone by the country or the contestant in the election needs a lot of money. It brings another consequences: taking various sources to fund the process, legally or illegally. The conversion of the country”s forest (even the protected forests) become industrial ones (HPH), the arbitrarily region broadening and the emersion of various law products that only fulfill the thirst of particular groups is the small picture of the many practices of the

Back to here I want to emphasize the importance of ethical base that is strong to uphold democracy, especially in the election. The pride and honor of a nation is seen from the existence of ethics, and not law. That is why the people in developed countries are mostly strong on proper ethics, they know which one is right or wrong, even though it is not embodied in the regulation. It is true that formally and normatively, the behavior of human is regulated and is limited by law; however for the civilized people, ethics always comes first before law. This is what is missing from our elite politics that tends to hide behind the procedure and law, even come together in protecting each other even though they violate the law, justice and ethics, with many politics maneuver. This, one more time, is the characteristic from the people that is uncivilized or the characteristics of traditional people who always take cover behind communalism. And this is the source of the disaster, because the natural resource is gone, and it is not fully for the importance of the people, however to fund the greed of the elite has zero ethics. This is a form of constitutional crime, because the 1945 Law states that the natural resource must be used for the people”s benefit. Our house of representatives (DPR) exists because the constitution and as well as to preserve constitution. If the thing that exists nowadays is constitutional crime, the people must make a move.

Why is ethics important? Doesn”t everything covered in regulation? It is true that everything must be able to be regulated through regulation or law. However, we also learn from the reality of history: even though law is ordered logically, it does not mean that it is right. Law is a political product and therefore it does not mean it is ethical. Here is where the role of ethics is needed.

Unfortunately, the attention towards democracy ethics, engaging in politics ethics, or the ethic of using election fund seems to not get enough attention, even though we already have the TAP MPR/VI/2001 about nationhood ethics, which is hoped to give realization of the importance in ethics and morals in our nation, including the usage of election fund.

This decision by MPR and other regulation that comes from it will only end in vain without followed by ethics and moral that is based on the faith in someone. The Christian Political Ethics, for instance, always states that to be engaged in politics is a call, and because of that, it is the God”s blessing that must we must feel thankful of; answer it in the proper manner; it is a mandate and must be accountable for; it is a form of observance and because of that it must be run rightly and seriously; it is a form of service and must be handled with humbleness; it is a form of self-actualization so that it gives spirit and creativity; as well as an honor that must be done and be accountable for.

Christian ethics is also based on spiritual frugality that has three dimensions, that is very relevant in the usage of election fund: a). The ability to say “enough!”, by not taking what”s not theirs, b). The willingness to share so that one does not dominate the sources for his or her needs and also his group, and c). The willingness to participate in fighting for a more equitable system, that allows every one to fulfill their needs.

And the most effective way to plant and grow ethics is by early education.


Priest. The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI)

*The writing was delivered in the Law Codification Seminar in PGI (2/6, 2016), Central Jakarta.

Translated by Andina