Youth Pledge Day protest in Surabaya says oligarchy has betrayed reform

CNN Indonesia – October 28, 2019
Students and workers protest in Surabaya – October 28, 2019 (CNN)
Students and workers protest in Surabaya – October 28, 2019 (CNN)

Surabaya – Hundreds of workers and student from various different organisations calling themselves the United People’s Struggle Alliance (APPR) held a demonstration at the East Java governor’s office on Jl Pahlawan in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya.

APPR spokesperson Abdurrokhim said that the group made at least 10 demands during the action, one of which is calling on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to immediately issue a presidential regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to annul the recently revised Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law.

Not only that, the protesters also asked Widodo to withdraw the mandate of the new batch of KPK commissioners, namely KPK Police Inspector General Firli Bahuri and his colleagues who will begin their duties in December.

“We urge the president to issue a Perppu KPK and withdraw the mandate of newly selected KPK leadership which is problematic”, said Abdurrokhim during a break in the action on Monday October 28.

Furthermore, the groups also rejected a number of draft laws which they say are problematic and fail to side with the interests of the ordinary people.

These include the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHIP), the Draft Land Law, the Draft Law on the Management of National Resources (PSDN), the Draft Coal and Mining Law (Minerba), the Draft Law on Agriculture, the Draft Law on Palm Oil (Perkelapasawitan) and all draft laws which fail to side with the interests of the ordinary people.

“We urge the government to withdraw all legislation which does not side with the interests of the ordinary people through a Perppu or other constitutional means”, added Abdurrokhim.

In addition to this they also urged the government to immediately ratify the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) and the Draft Law on Asset Seizures.

Abdurrokhim also said that the government must fully investigate the ecological damage occurring throughout Indonesia, prosecute the corporations setting fire to forests and destroying the environment and revoke their business licenses.

The groups also rejected the dual socio-political function of the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police) and their involvement in civilian posts.

They also demanded that the government withdraw all troops from Papua, end all forms of human rights violations, guarantee democratic rights and open access to international journalists in Papua and West Papua provinces.

Abdurrokhim also said that they reject a recent increase in Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) Healthcare contributions and the commercialisation of education.

“We also urge the government to protect human rights, environmental and anti-corruption activists and guarantee the democratic rights of the people”, he said.

All of these demands said Abdurrokhim, are evidence of the people’s resistance and at the same time the people seeing, hearing and feeling the pain and suffering of the country under the heels of the oligarchy.

“Thus it is indeed clear that reformasi [the reform movement that began in 1998] is back at point zero, because it has been corrupted by the fake reformists who have instead betrayed the ideals of the nation”, he said.

According to CNN Indonesia’s observations at the rally, students and workers continued to arrive while the police maintained tight security in front of the East Java governor’s office. Also visible was a water cannon and a recently installed razor wire fence. (frd/DAL)


On October 28, 1928, Indonesian students and youth gathered in Jakarta to declare the Youth Pledge – generally accepted as the first open declaration of Indonesian independence – which called for a united independent Indonesia under the theme of “One Nation, One People, One Language”.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Massa Aksi 28 Oktober di Surabaya Bawa Isu Perppu KPK”.]