Workers, farmers and students protest Omnibus Law, ‘anti-people regime’

CNN Indonesia – July 16, 2020
Workers, farmers and students protest against Omnibus Law at DPR – July 16, 2020 (CNN)

Jakarta – Labour, farmer and student groups opposing the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation (RUU Cipta Lapangan Kerja) held a protest action on the left side of the House of Representatives (DPR) building’s front gates on Thursday July 16. The groups said that the government and the DPR have failed to grasp the public’s wishes.

“We refer to it as the RUU Cilaka [Draft Disaster Law] comrades. This regime is an anti-people regime”, shouted one of the speakers through a megaphone in front of the DPR building’s front gate.

Farmers unions from West Java and nearby Banten province as well as the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) also took part in the rally. The KPA said that the Omnibus Law threatens millions of farmers because it will facilitate the theft of land on the pretext of creating employment.

In addition to this, the agenda of fighting for land for the ordinary people through agrarian reform will also be sidelined by the legislation. Land will become a commodity which is used in the interests of private (swasta) and state-owned enterprises (BUMN).

“We believe that the government and the DPR have failed to grasp the ordinary people’s aspirations and are ignoring the fate of the ordinary people who are currently facing a pandemic and multi-layered crisis as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic”, said KPA Secretary General Dewi Kartika in a press release.

The protesters from the KPA are also asking the DPR to immediately implement People’s Consultative Assembly Decree Number IX/2001 in order to resolve the overlapping regulations in the agrarian and natural resource sector.

“[We’re] asking the government to immediately resolve agrarian conflicts, to ensure that the security forces and companies (swasta and BUMN) immediately stop the intimidation and repression and efforts to criminalise [people] in agrarian conflict areas, the terror, violence and criminalisation against farmers and traditional communities in the midst of the current pandemic”, they said.

They also asked the government to genuinely ensure that the centers of agricultural production, food, plantations and livestock are protected by the state, particularly during the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Because it has been proven, in a crisis situation like this it’s actually them [farmers] who maintain [economic activity]. Not an economy based on investors”, the group said. (yoa/mel/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pekik Massa Aksi Tolak Omnibus Law di DPR: Rezim Anti-rakyat”.]