Indonesian minister slammed for blaming women for corruption

Indonesia’s religious affairs minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin has been criticised after he said “materialistic” wives sometimes compel their husbands to engage in corruption. 

Lukman urged wives of officials not to be too demanding so that their husbands would not be tempted to take backhanders.

“Not asking too much in terms of worldly possessions would be an extraordinary contribution on the part of women,” he was quoted as saying in a report by Kompas Saturday.

“Corruption has many motives,” said the minister, who is popular for his moderate and tolerant Islamic views. “Sometimes there are demands that are not reasonable.”

The remarks drew criticism online.

“We’ve been researching corruption for 20+ years and it’s safe to say this idea is COMPLETELY ridiculous,” Transparency International said in a Facebook post. “Nothing justifies corruption and shifting the blame to women is senseless!”

“Absolutely! Materialistic wives make their high-ranking official husbands corrupt. So do women wearing skimpy outfits. They turn men into rapists,” Ines Indrati wrote on Facebook, sarcastically.

“It doesn’t explain the Porsche 911 in the garage, the Piaget on the wrist and the 21-year-old girlfriend shacked up in [a luxury apartment] but hey, the greedy wife is probably to blame!” said another Facebook user, Paul Dillon.

Indonesia has made progress in fighting endemic graft since an anti-corruption commission with the power to arrest and detain suspects was established in 2003.

The commission has prosecuted former ministers, governors, legislators and central bank chiefs, with a conviction rate of nearly 100 per cent.

Indonesia ranked 88th out of 168 countries in the 2015 corruption perception index released by Transparency International, with number one being the least corrupt.

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