We would like to exercise our right to respond to The Jakarta Post’s editorial Tax officials under suspicion published Dec. 20, 2010. The Directorate General of Taxation (DGT) truly welcomes and appreciates any constructive criticism. However, there are some statements in the editorial that need to be clarified in order to give more balanced and accurate information.
The statement related to the tax campaign concerning the flow of tax payments has been judged as covering huge scandals involving ex-tax officials, and thus it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. This claim has several serious flaws. The publication made in this media and some others are part of the DGT’s ongoing campaign to educate people or the public on a continuous basis. Based on our experience in disseminating information on tax, there is still a lack of understanding on how tax payments are processed, how taxes are administered and how they are utilized for public spending. We believe that the public has a right to obtain accurate information on how tax payments are collected and administered. In this case, we aim at improving public understanding, not building our public image.
To some extent, some people may still perceive most tax officials as corrupt. However, we believe that more people still have good faith that the DGT is consistently improving its performance to be an institution that practices good governance. This is evident in the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) Integrity Survey released on Nov. 9, 2010, which gives the DGT an integrity score of 6.77 out of 10 (above the minimum score of 6.00).
In addition, the Assessment of Anti-Corruption initiative by the KPK released Nov. 29, 2010 puts the DGT in fourth rank (scoring 8.18 out of 10) among 13 main units with scores of more than 6.00. We hope the public will also help us to continuously improve our performance and avoid any misconduct by providing input through whistle-blowing channels.
The DGT acknowledges that the reform that has been undertaken since 2002 is not yet finished and there are aspects that need further improvement (e.g. treatment for misconduct by particular tax officials). However, we hope that all stakeholders (including the media) give a chance to the DST to improve its performance and refrain from stereotyping all tax officials as corrupt people. A positive perception of and less prejudice toward tax officials would greatly help accelerate the process of the DGT reform.
M Iqbal Alamsjah
Director of Dissemination Service and Public Relations, Directorate General of Taxation
Opini The Jakarta Pos 24 Desember 2010