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Is There Potential for Increased Violations of ASN Neutrality in the 2024 Election?

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By : Jelita Chantiqa

There are only 2 years left of the simultaneous general elections and regional elections, there are 271 Regional Heads who will fill the positions of Acting Governor, Acting Regent, Acting Regent, Acting Mayor until the definitive election in November 2024, there will be many potential violations that may arise related to the neutrality of ASN in the 2024 General Election and Simultaneous Election. The potential for abuse of power will occur when the ASN will be appointed to fill the temporary position of the Regional Head.

Based on data from Bawaslu, violations of the neutrality of ASN in the 2020 Pilkada were 1,038 cases, with details of 934 Bawaslu findings and 104 community reports. While 938 cases have been followed up by KASN by issuing recommendations, 5 cases have been processed and 95 cases are not violations. Some forms of ASN violations include influencing citizens with money politics to choose certain pairs of candidates and prohibiting/blocking the installation of campaign props for certain candidates, the use of state facilities and budgets, influencing village officials to side with certain pairs of candidates, abusing their authority in planning programs and distributing social assistance. In addition, they are involved as a campaign team or candidate success team, making policies in the form of decrees, and moving the bureaucratic structure/influence/intimidating subordinate employees in their ranks.

The 2024 election will be quite complicated to deal with because there are elections for the President, DPR RI, Provincial DPR and Regency/City DPD. The government has formed the State Sipul State Apparatus Committee (KASN) which is tasked with maintaining the neutrality of the ASN, supervising and fostering the ASN profession and reporting it to the President. The existence of the KASN which was formed in 2015 has not been able to optimally maintain the neutrality of the KASN, even though it has built a repressive supervisory system.

The democratic system that takes place in Indonesia has not been able to substantially encourage bureaucratic reform. In addition, the prevailing political system costs very high. The Regional Head has the authority and power in managing ASN resources, including mobilizing the support of ASN employees who have authority over state/regional budgets and assets. This makes it difficult for ASN employees to be neutral.

Regulations regarding the neutrality of ASN employees are relatively numerous and clear, but at the level of policy implementation there are many weaknesses. The system of government and politics in Indonesia causes the bureaucracy to be unable to move professionally. Very weak supervision resulted in violations of ASN neutrality not being dealt with firmly. Supervision of ASN is currently carried out by KASN, involving several related K/L, including the Kemenpan RB on aspects of policy formulation and determination, Bawaslu, Kemendagri and BKN and the RI Ombudsman.

There are several factors that cause ASN not to be neutral, including wanting to get/maintain a position, primordial relationships, ASN’s lack of understanding of regulations related to neutrality. Even though socialization related to these regulations has been carried out by KASN in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of PAN-RB, and Bawaslu since 2016, there are still many ASN employees who do not understand the existing provisions because they are not socialized again in their internal agencies. Other factors such as pressure from superiors, low integrity of ASN, perceived neutrality are commonplace, and sanctions given do not have a deterrent effect.

The monitoring system for violations of ASN neutrality is not optimal due to the limited ability of KASN which does not have representatives in the regions and is only supported by employees and a limited number of budgets. The KASN recommendation was ignored by the Personnel Development Officer (PPK). As a result, sanctions for ASN who commit violations become ineffective and do not cause a deterrent effect.

If this problem occurs, there are at least two impacts, namely first, the occurrence of service discrimination, division of civil servants, conflicts of interest, and civil servants becoming unprofessional in carrying out their duties as apparatus whose roles and functions are as a unifying tool, servant, government administrator.

Second, it will increase political intervention in the management of civil servants which causes the process of procurement, placement and promotion of employees to be no longer based on competence and performance. The politicization of the bureaucracy hinders efforts to improve government performance and the delivery of public services.

In response to this, the Kemenpan RB and KASN are developing a centralized digital government that facilitates public monitoring of ASN neutrality, such as through e-report applications, WA centers, SMS centers or through a social media-based complaint system (twitter, fb, IG, youtube). As well as an information system that facilitates the search for violation data (e-tracking of ASN neutrality violations) to be used in making decisions regarding employee career development.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kemenpan RB apply punishment to Regional Heads who do not apply the recommended punishment to ASN.
The author is an observer of government issues. Lives in Manado.

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