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Governance in Indonesia: Some Comments (Policy Brief)


15 pages

Governance is often a difficult process. Proper governance ideally involves formulating an overall operational strategy, translating this strategy into specific policies and decisions, and then implementing the decisions through selected activities. This process is challenging for nations even when things go smoothly. It can be complicated when leaders fail to muster support for their plans, or when circumstances change as a result of financial or natural disasters.

This paper offers some thoughts about the governance of Indonesia, a nation of over 220 million people and the fourth largest in the world. The topic is vast and complex. However, the focus of this paper is more modest: it aims to outline several strategic issues of governance in Indonesia and to suggest some options for change.

This policy brief is a condensed version of a discussion paper of the same title, published in September 2005.

The views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), its Board of Directors, or the governments they represent. ADBI does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB official terms.

Download this Paper/Presentation [ PDF 683.7KB | 13 pages ].

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There are [2] comment(s) for this entry. Post a comment.

  1. Peter McCawley, author of this paper
    (posted 30 March 2007 / 11:47:39 AM)

    Peter McCawley, author of this policy brief responds to the comment below:

    There seem to be at least two important points which arise from these observations. The first is that while it is certainly true that the three constitutional arms of government are the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive, it is also true that relationship between these three arms of government in Indonesia is as yet rather uncertain. In many areas, the true relationship (that is, the true balance of power) between these three arms in Indonesia is still vague. The relationship between the three arms has varied dramatically in the six decades since Independence in 1945. At times, the executive (in the shape of the President) has been very strong while the other two arms have been weak. More recently, since President Soeharto resigned in 1998, the legislature and the judiciary appear to have expanded their real powers. In short, the definition of the relative powers of real influence and authority in Indonesia between these three arms of government is still, more than is that case in many other countries, a 'work in progress'. The relationships are evolving, and are likely to continue to evolve in the coming decades.

    Second, in practice, other parts of society are important players in the process of governance in Indonesia as well. These other parts of society are generally not specifically mentioned in the Indonesian Constitution but in practice they exercise (to a greater or lesser extent) influence in the broad governance of Indonesian. These groups include the military, the media, and broader parts of civil society (religious organisations, professional groups, trade unions, producer organisations, universities, non-government organisations, think tanks, and so on). Any discussion of governance in Indonesia needs to allow for the role that these other organisations, some of which may be called "non-state actors", play in Indonesian society.

  2. golding imoh
    (posted 23 March 2007 / 12:08:30 AM)

    The government legislature, judiciary and the executive are the three arms of government we have. The executive that we refer as the president in a country, while the legislature they are the people who enforce the law. Take for instance, if the executive enforces law on the people without passing it to the legislature to confirm it, will it be law? If the legislature makes law and passes it to the executive to sign it, if the executive refuses to sign after 30 days in his office it becomes a law. If the legislature enforces law on the people they want the people to benefit from it and also for the satisfaction of the country.

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