Watchdog not surprised it took 1 year for House to start dealing with ITE Law revisions

Source – November 19, 2022
Formappi Chairperson Lucius Karus Matraman Raya, Jakarta – December 19, 2019 (Kompas)

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – The parliamentary watchdog Forum of Concerned Citizens for Indonesia's Parliament (Formappi) says that the delay in the House of Representatives (DPR) dealing with a presidential letter (surpres) on revisions to the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law is not surprising.

According to Formappi researcher Lucius Karus, the DPR is indeed always slow in processing draft laws (RUU) related to the public interest such as revisions to the ITE Law.

"On matters of discussing RUUs where the public interest appears urgent, the DPR is always rather slow. It's different from the fate of other RUUs where the elite's interests are quite significant, the DPR deliberates them very fast", said Karus on the evening of Friday November 18.

Karus gave the examples of several laws which were finished lightening fast such as the revisions to the Corruption Eradication (KPK) Law, the Omnibus Law on Job Creation and the Law on the New Capital City.

He is pessimistic that the DPR will finish the revisions to the ITE Law anytime soon. Because, according to Karus, the focus of DPR politicians will be absorbed by preparations for the 2024 legislative and presidential elections.

"Moreover the ITE Law can be very effectively used during politically competitive climates such as elections. With the ITE Law as it stands at the moment, there is always the possibility [of using it] to put pressure on political rivals through the catch all articles in the ITE Law", said Karus.

Karus is of the view that the different attitudes of the DPR in deliberating draft laws cannot be separated from the factor of the interests of House members.

"With the many advantages which exist in the current ITE Law for politicians, it's most likely that they won't be pushed to quickly revise this luxury, never mind that the competitive climate in the lead up to the elections which demands the availability of many 'weapons' to weaken rival parties", he said.

As has been reported, the presidential letter on revisions to the ITE Law was only recently read out at a DPR plenary meeting on Thursday November 17. Yet the government handed over the letter to the DPR on December 16, 2021, almost one year ago.

Deputy DPR Speaker Lodewijk F Paulus said that the presidential letter was only recently read out because the DPR was still focusing on deliberating the Draft Private Data Protection Law.

Paulus said that now the letter has been read out, deliberations on revisions to the ITE Law will proceed quickly. "Hopefully we will soon be able to discuss it because it is already included in the priority Prolegnas [National Legislation Program]", he said on Thursday.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was " Surpres Revisi UU ITE Baru Diproses Setelah 1 Tahun, Formappi: DPR Selalu Agak Lemot...".]