Former chief of the National Police, Gen. Sutarman. (JG Photo/Fajrin Raharjo)

Sutarman Dropped as Benched Budi Waits to Be Picked

JANUARY 21, 2015

Jakarta. The National Police bade farewell to Gen. Sutarman in an official ceremony on Wednesday, after which the outgoing police chief said he would spend his retirement years farming.

During the ceremony Sutarman officially signed papers to hand his authority to Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, the acting police chief.

"I wish Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti good luck in carrying out such a large responsibility," Sutarman said. "The replacement has sparked polemicism among the public but I hope it won't happen within the National Police corps."

The changing of the guard at the National Police has sparked impassioned commentary since reformist President Joko Widodo nominated Budi Gunawan, a corruption suspect, to lead a police force which Indonesians believe to be the most corrupt institution in the country, according to successive Transparency International surveys.

The outgoing chief said he had been preparing a handover to his junior officers for some time.

"To Badrodin, please carry out an internal consolidation," Sutarman said. "Hold the corps' integrity tightly, and stay professional and united. I'm ready to help and be open to discussion should you meet any obstacles. To the others, please refrain from talking among yourselves too much. That will only lead to disintegration."

Sutarman also said goodbye to the force with customary modesty and apologies for unfinished business.

"During my tenure as chief, I haven't been able to bring justice, both to the internal National Police and to the general public," Sutarman said. "I know there have been many violations and I haven't been able to fix them. I truly apologize for what I've done during my leadership."

President Joko was rumored to be lining up a top job as an ambassador or state-enterprise executive for Sutarman, but the outgoing police chief brushed off such suggestions on Wednesday, emphasizing that after more than three decades as a public servant he was looking forward  to the quiet life.

"I will help my father farming for social causes," he said. "I will spend my life helping those who need our help. I've spent almost 34 years in the government. I will use the rest of my life helping the people and the government to increase the food stock."