General principles of public administration can be defined as a tool for the government to cope with the unavoidable legal uncertainties, in which it deals with administrative discretionary powers and judicial controls. It is developed for executive bodies and it is considered as a sub-system of a good governance. Good governance itself is the proper use of the government’s power in a transparent and participative way, in which in essence it concerns also the fulfillment of three elementary tasks of the government, which are to guarantee the security of persons and society, to manage an effective and accountable framework for the public sector and also to promote the economic and social aims of the country in accordance with the wishes of the population.
Good governance is a broad concept, involving properness, transparency, participation, effectiveness, accountability and human rights while general principles of public administration is a much narrower concept involving the prohibition of misuse of power, prohibition of arbitrariness, legal certainty, legitimate expectations, equality, proportionality, carefulness and reasoning.
There are eight principles that can be considered as the general principles of public administration. The first principle of general principles of public administration which is the prohibition of misuse of power or defense de detournement de pouvoir means that according to public law, an administrative authority or other legal entity may not use its power for another purpose than it was meant to be used for. The second principle would be the principle of prohibition of arbitrariness, in which administrative orders should result in a balancing interest. The third principle would be the principle of legitimate expectations. By enacting policy rules, directives or circulars, expectations have been created which has under certain conditions to be followed. The fourth principle would be the principle of equality, which provides equality for the law, equality for the administrations, elements, elimination of positive or negative discriminations and made in general interest.
The next set of principles would be the principle of proportionality, principle of carefulness, principle of reasoning and principle of legal certainty. The element of proportionality is implying that the government should be proportional, in which it can be applied to offenses and sanctions however it is also considered as applicable in terms of rights and obligations. Principle of carefulness concerns the obligations that the administrative bodies must research related information before taking any decision, must give opportunities for the interested parties to inform their concerns and views and last but not least must identify facts and interests concerning the decisions.
The seventh principle is the principle of reasoning, in which decisions should include reasons related to facts, interests and rules and there should also be recognizable motives or reasons when administrative bodies issues decision. And the last would be the principle of legal certainty, which includes two dimensions. The first dimension is that the norms, the rights and the duties must be formulated in such a way that this are recognizable for the addresses and the second dimension would be no infringement of rights without legal base. That also means compliance to the rules and non retroactivity.
It is safe to say that the application of the eight general principles of public administration in Indonesia can be improved in a lot of ways and that it is not the best that Indonesians can receive yet, as a lot of aspects are still lacking various factors and therefore the government shall reflect on this to serve the citizens better.
One biggest example of the violation of such general principles of public administration that is still exist and still not fully eradicated yet in Indonesia would be corruption. Corruption cases are daily fares in Indonesian people’s lives as major corruption cases such as Gayus Tambunan who is charged with pocketing at least $2.7 million from dozen big companies to the most recent case of Angelina Sondakh getting arrested for her relation with multiple corruption cases in various construction projects such as the Wisma Atlet.
Corruption is in essence violating the principle of prohibition of misuse of power as the state officials act beyond their capacity and use their authority to obtain money that does not belong to them, as well as clearly violating the principle of prohibition of arbitrariness as the state officials are obviously acting in an arbitrary way without a clear rationalization in using the people’s money. The decision to corrupt is of course not considering reasons related to facts, interests and rules even though the motive is recognizable in this case.
Another serious problem may include violations of principle of equality, shown by the case of Ahmadiyah
as well as the possible cancellation of Lady Gaga’s concert due to eroticism and sexuality putting aside the fact that local singers are often singing erotically without getting the same response from the state officials
On top of every other problems of public administration in Indonesia, corruption is probably the most urgent and the most grave obstacle that the Indonesian government shall eradicate in a very stern manner, as without this being treated soon, more and more assets of the country will be lost and therefore the benefit of the people will not be given optimally.