Civil Society Coalition calls on President Widodo to drop rushed Omnibus Law

CNN Indonesia – March 4, 2020
Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson Asfinawati – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition is calling on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to withdraw the Draft Law on Job Creation (RUU Cipta Kerja) which has been submitted to the House of Representatives (DPR). The Coalition is also asking the DPR to halt the deliberations into the draft submitted by the government.

The groups say that the draft law has many problems both in terms of process as well as substance and will conflict with many other existing laws.

“The Civil Society Coalition Against the RUU Cipta Kerja is urging the president to withdraw the presidential letter (Surpres) and the RUU Cipta Kerja which has been sent to the DPR”, said Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson Asfinawati in a press release on Wednesday March 4.

Asfinawati said that the coalition is highlighting the government’s actions in blocking public access to the law during the drafting process. They say that only a handful of the political elite were given access to the draft when it being discussed by the government.

They are concerned that the lack of transparency and super fast deliberations into the revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission Law (UU KPK) last year will be repeated with the Omnibus Law. Moreover Widodo has set a target of completing the law within 100 days.

“With the stripped down and hurried approach shown by the DPR and the president, it is quite possible that when the RUU Cipta Kerja is enacted it will make history as a law whose effectiveness will fail”, said Asfinawati.

In terms of the substance of the law, the Coalition says there are a number of problems. One of which is related to wages which will harm workers as well as giving the government the authority to revise legislation through government regulations and the simplification of environmental permits which have the potential to trigger environmental damage.

“Instead of fixing the problem of hyper-regulation, the RUU Cipta Kerja will in fact add even more implementary regulations to [support] its implementation, without a clear process of evaluation and monitoring”, said Asfinawati.

The Civil Society Coalition Against the RUU Cipta Kerja is made up of a number of non-government organisations including the Nusantara Traditional Community Alliance (AMAN), the environmental group Auriga, the Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (ELSAM), Greenpeace, the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta), the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers), the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), the Nusantara Traditional Community Defense Association (PPMAN), the Centre for Legal and Policy Studies (PSHK), the Sajogyo Institute, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the Civil Society Alliance for Democracy (Yappika) and the YLBHI.

The Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation – which was previously named the Draft Omnibus Law on Employment and has now begun to be known as the Job Creation Law – has been dubbed by labour groups who oppose it as the RUU Celaka or Calamity Law.

The draft law as an initiative of the Widodo administration with the president claiming it will trim down the number of regulations and attract foreign investment.

The government submitted the draft law to the DPR on Wednesday February 12 but as of the parliament going into recess, the law has not yet been discussed by the DPR.

“It’s difficult. Although as the deputy chairperson of the Korpolkam [Coordinator of Security and Political Affairs] who is from the Golkar Party leadership I have conveyed that it want it to be immediately taken to a plenary session, but other leaders have yet to agree, they’re still waiting”, said DPR Deputy Chairperson Azis Syamsudin speaking at his office in the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Tuesday February 25. (dhf/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Koalisi Sipil Minta Jokowi Tarik Lagi Omnibus Law Ciptaker”.]