Security chief claims mass opposition to Omnibus Law ‘politically cooked up’

CNN Indonesia – March 10, 2020
People’s Movement Alliance (ARB) protest against Omnibus Law in Yogyakarta – Undated (Antara)

Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD says that opposition to and negative views about the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation are because they have been “politically cooked up” (gorengan politik).

Mahfud said that the governments’ intention from the start was to draft a law to simplify existing regulation so investors can easily enter Indonesia.

“It’s what’s called politics, which can be cooked up, wow it’s for this interest, wow it’s for the interest of a takeover, so that citizens will be pushed aside, all kinds of things like that”, said Mahfud at the Sari Pacific Hotel in Central Jakarta on Tuesday March 10.

This political manipulation, said Mahfud, can clearly be seen from the preconceptions by various parties about the draft law, such as preconceptions that the law is simply to provide a red carpet for certain countries.

“When we were drafting it we didn’t in any way consider who wants to invest. There wasn’t business with China, there wasn’t any, instead [the countries] that were cited as examples were the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. There was no mention of (China) as people suspect”, he said.

The former Constitutional Court justice is asking all parties to carefully read the contents of the draft which has been submitted to the House of Representatives (DPR) for deliberation. He also invited all parties to discuss it first before throwing around accusations about the law.

Mahfud reminded people that the contents of the draft law could still be changed later during the deliberations between and government and DPR. He is shocked however by the position being taken by a number of parties who oppose the law and are full of overblown suspicions before reading it.

“Read it first, read it first then debate it. Yes, I can see there’re mistakes in the law, it’ll get fixed later at the DPR, there’s still plenty of time. Don’t just reject it out of hand”, said Mahfud.

The Draft Omnibus Law is a priority for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during his second term in office. Widodo claims that it will trim down the number of regulations in order attract investment and create job opportunities.

Widodo submitted a draft of the law to the DPR on February 12. But as of going into recess in late February, the DPR has yet to finish deliberating the law. DPR Deputy Speaker Azis Syamsuddin said that the deliberations were postponed because five DPR leaderships were unable to agree.

The Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation has attracted criticism and opposition from a number of parties. The law, which was initiated by Widodo, is seen as further oppressing workers, farmers, fisherpeople and traditional communities, and if it is ratified it will damage the environment and lead to ecological disaster.

An alliance of civil society groups has already begun to take to the streets to voice their opposition to the law.

Yesterday, on Monday March 9, a group of workers and students from the People’s Movement Alliance (ARB) held a protest action rejecting the law on Jl Gejayan in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta. Similar actions will also be held in other cities. (tst/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Mahfud: Penolakan RUU Cipta Kerja karena ‘Gorengan’ Politik”.]