Jakarta – The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and the Civil Society Coalition have highlighted the government’s bias towards employers and business in the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation.
They believe that the draft law being promoted by the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will worsen the inequality of law enforcement in Indonesia.
YLBHI Advocacy Division head Muhammad Isnur says that the Omnibus Law will reduce companies’ environmental requirements, make it easier to extend business license and abolish crimes for corporations that commit violations.
Isnur said that the law will worsen the inequality of law enforcement, particularly in cases of land conflict between communities and corporations.
“Aside from the implications for law enforcement which is already very weak for companies which violate rights and damage the environment, this also shows how law enforcement in Indonesia is truly biased”, Isnur told CNN Indonesia on Tuesday January 21.
The YLBHI has recorded that in 2019 there were 94 traditional farm workers, 74 farmers and 25 workers who were discriminated against in land conflicts. Meanwhile the big companies are free cut down and set fire to forests.
In addition to this, Isnur highlighted the central government’s added authority in managing mining permits. This law goes against the concept of regional autonomy which has been developed since reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998.
“The government’s plan to shift all authority for licensing to the president is not in accordance with the spirit of regional autonomy as a product of reformasi. One of the examples is that the Omnibus Law which will abolish the authority of regional governments in managing mineral and coal [resources]”, said Isnur.
Isnur said that at the moment the government’s authority in managing mining is only delegative, but the central government will later have the power to take over mining permit administration at any time.
In his second term in office, President Widodo has promoted the concept of the Omnibus Law on the pretext of trimming down the number of regulations in Indonesia to attract investment.
As many as 1,244 articles in 79 laws are currently being considered in the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation.
Benefiting mining companies
Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) Coordinator Merah Johansyah meanwhile says that the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation will only benefit a handful of coal company owners.
Johansyah says that the law will make it easier for coal mining companies whose permits will soon expire.
“Behind them (the mining companies whose permits will expire) are the names of the coal political oligarchy”, Johansyah told CNN Indonesia.
Johansyah says that a number of companies will benefit from the Omnibus Law.
These companies will benefit because the Omnibus Law will modify Articles 35 and 36 of the Coal and Minerals Law (Minerba) and change Special Business Mining Licenses (Izin Usaha Pertambangan Khusus, IUPK) into a Special Mining Business Licenses (Perizinan Berusaha Pertambangan Khusus, PBPK) [different terminology but same English translation – JB].
“Why? Because they get automatic contract extensions. Second, they don’t need to take part in a tender process, and [the concession] isn’t returned to the regional government. Yet if a contract expires it should be returned to the state, right”, he said.
Mining companies will also benefit from the abolition of regulations on the 15,000 hectare maximum area of productions operations. The Omnibus Law will set no limit on the size of mining operations.
Johansyah also said that the Omnibus Law will also no longer limit the length of contracts because mining companies will get an initial 30 year contract which can then be extended by 10 years until the mine is depleted.
“This is dangerous, it will result in communities in areas nearest the mine being evicted. They will be defiantly be forced out and evicted, because there is no limit on the size of the area. They can continue mining until the mine is dry, completely depleted”, he said.
Earlier, House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani asked the public not to be influenced by the hard line of the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation (RUU Cilaka).
According to Maharani, the government has yet to officially submit the draft law to the DPR for deliberation.
She claimed not to know about where the copy of the RUU Cilaka came from which has been circulating publically. The leader of Widodo’s ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle Party (PDI-P) Central Leadership Board revealed that she is concerned that the draft law which has been circulating is giving the wrong impression to the public. (dhf/pmg)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “YLBHI Nilai Omnibus Law Perparah Ketimpangan Hukum”.]