Coalition parties warn that Jokowi could be impeached for annulling KPK law

KBR – October 4, 2019
Student protest against ratification of KPK Law (KBR)
Student protest against ratification of KPK Law (KBR)

Heru Haetami and Resky Novianto, Jakarta – The nine political parties backing the government have agreed that they do not want President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to annul the recently revised Corruption Eradication Commission Law (UU KPK).

United Development Party (PPP) Secretary General Arsul Sani revealed that this was conveyed to Widodo when five political party leaders met with him at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Monday September 29.

“The political party leaders conveyed their views on the Perppu. The request by the nine parties was the same that we don’t want a Perppu. Basically the political parties in the Working Indonesia Coalition don’t want the president to issue a Perppu”, said Sani at the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Thursday October 4.

Sani insisted that the KPK Law must remain in force. This is because it has already been discussed by the House of Representatives (DPR) and the government so if there are articles that are considered problematic then they could be revised.

“But we must be open to the public’s wishes. If the public is criticising the law because they think it weakens [the KPK], we can discuss it. What’s also not allowed is people in the DPR who don’t want to revise the law”, said Sani.

Earlier, National Democrat Party (NasDem) Chairperson Surya Paloh said that Widodo would not issue a Perppu before a judicial review by the Constitutional Court (MK).

According to Paloh, if Widodo issues a Perppu at the same time as a judicial review, then he could be impeached because it would be a violation of the law.

“Perhaps for the moment there won’t be one [a Perppu]. There’s no thought about issuing a Perppu. The problem is that it’s already at the MK so why should we issue a Perppu? It’s already entered the realm of the law, the judicial realm. It would be wrong. Meaning that perhaps if the students and the public don’t know it has gone in that direction, and our president is forced to issue a Perppu, it could be politicised, it would be very wrong, a president could be impeached for that”, he concluded.

Meanwhile National Mandate Party (PAN) Central Leadership Board Chairperson Yandri Susanto believes that the discourse on issuing a Perppu to annul the KPK Law is the president’s prerogative.

Susanto said that all parties can provide input or suggestions to the president but Widodo has full authority over whether or not to issue a Perppu.

Aside from the president, said Susanto, the DPR also has the right to evaluate a Perppu and then decide whether to accept or reject it.

“So it depends on Pak [Mr] Jokowi’s position, if he considers it critical and urgent or there is a particular need to issue a Perppu. So it all depends on Pak Jokowi. But I remind you once again, the DPR can decide to accept or reject it”, he said.

Susanto added that the political party faction’s position at the moment is to wait for the president’s next move.

According to Susanto, for those parties who don’t agree with the revised law they should challenge it through a judicial review with the Constitutional Court.

He added that a Constitutional Court ruling on a judicial review is final and binding so it is stronger in the eyes of the law. Conversely, a Perppu can be agreed to or rejected by the DPR.

“The president’s right is not over whether it is in accordance or not, it is the president’s prerogative if he wants to issue [a Perppu], it’s up to him to issue one, up to him. If it is issued then of course the DPR has the right to assess it, if it isn’t issue yes well there’s no follow up, right, to those parties which disagree with it please take it to the MK”, he concluded.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Sembilan Parpol Larang Jokowi Keluarkan Perppu Pembatalan UU KPK”.]