Flawed Democracy

Dec 7th, 2006, in News, by

Indonesia ranks 65th in the 2006 Democracy Index, a flawed democracy.

Put out annually by the Economist magazine this year’s “Economist Intelligence Unit democracy index” ranks 167 countries, dividing them into four categories:

  • Full democracies
  • Flawed democracies
  • Hybrid regimes
  • Authoritarian regimes

Indonesia is grouped in the “flawed democracies” list and ranks 65th overall, equal with East Timor, with a score of 6.41 out of ten. The score broken down into categories:

  • Electoral process and pluralism – 6.92
  • Functioning of government – 7.14
  • Political participation – 5.00
  • Political culture – 6.25
  • Civil liberties – 6.76

Of the nation’s contemporaries and neighbours the Philippines is ranked at 63rd, scoring 6.48, Malaysia is at 81st with a score of 5.98, scoring poorly on the “political participation” level, with 4.44.

Moving down into the “hybrid regimes” list Singapore ranks at 84th and scores 5.89, with a woeful 2.78 for “political participation”. Thailand is at 90th/5.67.

The top ten were:

  • 1. Sweden – 9.88
  • 2. Iceland – 9.71
  • 3. Netherlands – 9.66
  • 4. Norway – 9.55
  • 5. Denmark – 9.52
  • 6. Finland – 9.25
  • 7. Luxembourg – 9.10
  • 8. Australia – 9.09
  • 9. Canada – 9.07
  • 10. Switzerland – 9.02

The list is available in PDF format at www.economist.com but it’s easier to view the Google html version.

47 Comments on “Flawed Democracy”

  1. Retarders says:

    In Indonesia we were told that Democracy = Main Hakim Sendiri, Pak!

  2. Enda says:

    it will be interesting to tied in this data with other economic index such as the Big Mac index and Economic Freedom Index and the Human Development UNDP index, Happiness Index and tries to compare how Indonesia is doing among the country in the region

  3. DianDoank says:

    As javanese, I would say…not bad at all 🙂 thanks God not number 100 as usual 🙂 But to be in the same level as East Timor hemm…need some check and recheck in our democracy system.

    However agree with Enda will be great to have it compare with other index. Perhaps the happiness index will be good one 🙂 and there’s also index of Freedom of Media (dunno if there’s any). As the democracy needs some encouragement and knowledge supply to form an opinion, then the role of mass media is significant in this regards.

    Quite surprised to see Malaysia in number 80’s.

  4. Tomaculum says:

    Indonesia has a very, very young democracy. So, why not number 64 or 84?
    It would surely be suspicious, if the democracy in Indonesia is now already working compeletly. Let’s hope, that it will be better (I don’t mean in the ranking, but in the practice).
    Btw: functioning of a government as a standardisation for a democracy? As example: in Netherlands is this better than in Germany? Many questions, many nebulous criteria.
    Hong Kong? Isn’t it a part of China with a so called autonomy?
    Further: how cn we score a political culture?
    Again one of the doubtful ranking indexes.

  5. DianDoank says:

    I guess with these kind of index, some assumption and decision needs to be made. So yes it does doubtful for some countries due of the assumption behind it. Well number 64 and regarded as flaw democracy certainly mean that Indonesia’s level of “democracy” is needs to improve within the boundaries of the assumptions that are made for this index.

    In regards to functioning government as an element of democracy hem I think without a functioning government in a fact you don’t have democracy. For instance Italy in the past, average timespan of government was less than a year, it resulted in a situation where the government couldn’t execute policy. Therefore the democratic elected government couldn’t perform its task. So it didn’t represent the will of people. Therefore democracy is not a democracy when the government doesn’t work.

    For political culture…actually I have the same question..how do they measure it 🙂 too bad they don’t put their assumption or their measure on political culture.

    If you want to see other publications on civil liberty, go to http://www.freedomhouse.org/

  6. Dimp says:

    hang on, can we be sure that this ranking is not based entirely on assumptions? we still rank better than Malaysia, Singapore and thailand. it doesn’t meant Indonesia is better though, so what’s the point of this ranking then?

  7. Karlira Kanakahuko says:

    I don’t satisfy about the democracy in Indonesia. It is a democracy implementing Sharia law in Indonesia? This is a liar! If Indonesia is in full democracy, Indonesia have no Islamic law and no RUU-APP entire Indonesia, at all.

  8. Ronald says:

    it’s about the people of Indonesia. We will never get to top ten if some Indonesians (they have power) still have narrow minded.

  9. Dimp says:

    hang on isn’t it up to the people if they want sharia law, if it is truly a democratic country then people who want sharia law to be implemented can have their opinion, people who are against it is also free to have their opinion. same as RUU APP, although any law that is applied in Indonesia sums up to nothing to those with power and money anyway.

  10. Deacon says:

    One of the problems with Indonesia’s electoral system is that for a political party to be legal it must have its head office in Jakarta. This has contribuited to the marginalisation of groups of people in poorer areas e.g. West Papua.

    Another problem is the unitary state structure. A unitary state structure may be good for some countries but has problems for larger and more ethnically diverse countries like Indonesia. What most of one group (Papuans, Javanese, Balinese, Acehinese etc) want may be very different from what the other groups want. A two tiered federal structure could have the benefits of a unitary state as well as the benefits of decentralisation. If Indonesia had a federal structure then maybe it would be less prone to separatism.

  11. Paguh Renata says:

    At this time, I don’t believe in Democracy for Indonesia. Look at Malaysia and Singapore, it is better to have a strong leadership without democracy. Of course, I do believe “Power tends to corrupt”. But as long as the leader has guts to eliminate corruption and develop the country properly, many Indonesian will not object. It is something that may only exist in our dream. Merdeka.

  12. Dimp says:

    It doesn’t matter what system is implemented in Indonesia, as long as the government is corrupt then we have no future.

  13. Rudy Hendra says:

    You know, in Indonesia, anything can be bought.
    Law can be bought.
    Policemen can be bribed.
    The man at the ‘Kecamatan’, the government office in rural areas, want money. They don’t want to work.
    Driving license can be bought.
    KTP (Citizen card) can be bought.

    Maybe the whole world think that this is bad.
    But I think it is very good. It makes everything simple.
    Need Driving License? USD 25.
    Break the traffic rule? USD 5.
    Need KTP? USD 25-50 is enough, depending which town.

    We don’t care much about democracy.

  14. Dimp says:

    A little off the topic,

    So maybe we need to stop paying these people, corruption is a two way street, as long as we think that we can use money to cut corners then I don’t think corruption can end.

    If you try to bribe government officials some countries you will get into trouble yourself.

    So maybe KPK need to consider prosecuting people who are trying to bribe Indonesian government officials as well. Once these people are to afraid use money to cut corners then even if these officers are demanding money they won’t be given any.

  15. Tomaculum says:

    Rudy Hendra,
    such people like you are the problem.
    You know the meaning of corruption?
    To the corruption belong two persons. The corruptors, who pay money to get what you need, and the corruptible, who take the money. According to this definition you belong to the group of the corruptors, aren’t you?
    Poor Indonesia.

  16. Dimp says:

    Hear, hear…..

  17. Rudy Hendra says:

    Who cares?

  18. Dimp says:

    Hi Rudy,

    Apparently you did, if not, then just shut up and stop complaining. If you cannot contribute something positive to this community then the community does not need people like you.

  19. Rudy Hendra says:

    Why you told me to shut up? There is a freedom to speak, right? Or are you just jealous?

    You know brothers and sisters.

    If you are living in Indonesia, and especially if you are involved in business here.
    You will know, that sooner or later, you will involved in corruption.

    I work for a shipping company, ship owner.
    I have experience in dealing with PERTAMINA. The one and only oil company in Indonesia. We need fuel for our ship. And you know, if we don’t give money to those people in PERTAMINA, we don’t get the fuel. So? Is there any choice for us?

    Can you give us a solution?

  20. Ihaknt says:

    Dear Rudy

    Need Driving License? USD 25.
    Break the traffic rule? USD 5.
    Need KTP? USD 25-50 is enough, depending which town.

    Providing us with something to pick on? priceless…you sound like a credit card ad 🙂

    Long live korupsi…sad but true

  21. Rudy Hendra says:


    I really love it if we here could live as you are in other country…
    Corruption free…

    But, before that, can you answer my question above?


    There is many more worse example.

    My friend have a business in Bandung.
    And his building get on fire.
    He called up a firefighter.
    And guess what”¦
    The firefighter will not shoot the water to your building, if you don’t give them money first.
    My friend told me that the firefighters ask for Rp 1 million, cash. That time is around year 1985. You can calculate the value that time Rp 1 million is big money.
    My friend give the money to them.
    No choice for us.

    And also another example :
    If you get an accident here, traffic accident.
    You are walking and a motorbike hit you, or a car hit you, and you collapsed on the street, and you broke your arms or legs. If there is a policeman there, the policeman (yes, I repeat, the policeman) will first take your wallet, before he helps you. And then he will help you.
    My IT-Manager in my former company, has experienced that himself.
    And many more has told me that.
    If there is people ‘pribumi’ help you first before the policeman, they will take your wallet first before they help you, and before the policeman take it.

    Any choice for us?
    What do you think?

  22. Ihaknt says:


    I really love it if we here could live as you are in other country”¦
    Corruption free”¦

    there’s no such thing. Corruption is everywhere. But in Indo it’s rampant and it’s a public knowledge. And as much as people hate it, it’s the system that works there. Why? Bureaucracy. To cut thru the red tape, to go thru the system. If you have money then why waste time? Cos normally when you have money you work, work = time, time = money.

    In other countries, it’s not as bureaucrytical, and other system works. Because the community (most of them anyway) uphold the laws. The laws are mostly black and white. There are some grey areas, but corruption free? No. Until the top government do something about it, all you can do is just go along with whatever works for you. It’s a sad fact, but to really fight it in Indonesia? It won’t happen, at least not in our life time.

  23. Tomaculum says:

    I really love it if we here could live as you are in other country”¦
    Corruption free”¦

    In every country you will find corruption.

    The cases you told, are known. It is sad enough. But with your current attitude (which you share with most of the Indonesian citizen) you will never move anything. You protest the situation, but you take part in this misdeeds.

    Hahaha”¦Who cares?

    Rudy Hendra, in a democracy you don’t just have rights, you also have duties. But I know, that many of the Indonesian think like you, especially the Chinese minority (not all, but most of them).

    They think, the “pribumis” are corrupt/lazzy and they hate the chinese. Like the other ethnic groups in Indonesia, the chinese minority don’t have the competency to seek the causes of these problems in their own deeds too.

    Who cares? And when the next SARA turbulences come up, let’s ask: who cares?

  24. Rudy Hendra says:

    Well, after all of your explanation…

    Do you have a solution for PERTAMINA cases that I describe above?

    If you are in my position, what will you do?

  25. Tomaculum says:

    Start with small things in your daily life.
    I spend my youth time in Indonesia (most that time in Bandung), I know about the “friendship” of the chinese and I know enough about the corruption. And I can tell you, I have always refused to take part in this sh*t , so that I have experienced enough difficulties (I have chinese blood too, not 100%).
    I live now in Europe, and in the retrospective I’m proud of my constancy.
    That is not my job to seek a solution for the Pertamina problem, this is the problem of your bosses. They earn the money, so they have to do something. Or they think also like you do: Who cares?

  26. Rudy Hendra says:

    And I can tell you, I have always refused to take part in this sh*t

    Ok. Maybe PERTAMINA problem is too difficult for you.

    How about the problem of my friend?
    His building is on fire, and the firefighters ask money.
    If you are in his position, what will you do?

    Choice No. 1 :
    Give the money to the firefighters, and being called a corruptor also.

    Choice No. 2 :
    Refuse to give money, and watch your building burnt into ashes.

    Just pick pick…
    It’s not hard…

    And what all you guys think?
    Which one will you guys pick?

  27. Tomaculum says:

    Rudy Hendra,
    let’s see: the Pertamina problem is not my problem, why don’t you tell your bosses to do something, if you have so many complains about the corruption?
    The problem of your friend is more difficult, surely. I would name it as an extortion (as a special form of corruption).
    In such case is the most important thing primarily to save your life/house, isn’t it? Maybe you should give them the money in front of witnesses and then accuse the culprit. Isn’t there in Indonesia nowadays some good lawyers fighting for human rights?
    Why not trying this way? Or is it more comfortable to pay and to be silent?
    Democracy and fighting for rights is never comfortable, even in a democracy like in Europe.
    There is nothing just black and white. Even chickens can still choose (in their frames) things they pick, aren’t they?

  28. Rudy Hendra says:

    Maybe you should give them the money in front of witnesses and then accuse the culprit.

    Aah…then you are a corruptor also, my friend.
    Case closed.

  29. Dimp says:

    Hi Tomaculum,

    Unfortunately there are people who still think that they don’t have a choice.

    They complain about all the problems not knowing that they are part of the problem.

    And when they are presented with some solution, they don’t listen and say “who cares”.

  30. Dimp says:

    Hey Rudy,

    There is a different between initiating a bribe and actually extorted for money.

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