New draft Pancasila ideology law reinforces Suharto era communist ban

CNN Indonesia – July 21, 2020
Poster reads ‘Pancasila belongs to the nation, not the communists’ – Undated (Antara)

Jakarta – The Draft Law on the Agency for Pancasila Ideology Education (RUU BPIP) which will replace the Draft Law on Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (RUU HIP) contains a prohibition on communist and Marxist ideology.

Earlier, the government officially requested that the House of Representatives (DPR) postpone deliberations on the RUU HIP because of disagreement over several points which have attracted controversy, namely the lack of a prohibition on communism and the principles of ekasila (mutual cooperation, one principle) and trisila (three principles).

Through the Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo sent a presidential letter on the RUU HIP to the DPR on Thursday July 16.

As a replacement, the government is proposing a new draft law in response to current protest actions outside the DPR building rejecting the RUU HIP, namely the RUU BPIP.

“If we talk about Pancasila ideology guidance and development, then it must rest on the TAP MPRS Number XXV/1966. This is contained in this draft law as the second point in the considerations”, said Mahfud at the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Thursday July 16.

Last week CNN Indonesia obtained an official copy of the RUU BPIP. The draft law is quite simple, comprising eight chapters, 17 articles and 16 pages.

Referring to one of the points contained in the considerations section of the preamble, the important point is related to prohibitions on communist activates and similar teachings.

In point two of the “Bearing in mind” section, the draft law explicitly includes the Tap MPRS 1966 which declares the dissolution and banning of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

“Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly Decree Number XXV/MPRS/1966 on the dissolution of the Indonesian Communist Party, is a declaration that the Indonesian Communist Party is a banned organisation throughout the territory of the Republic of Indonesia”, reads one of the points included in the draft law which could be accessed on Tuesday July 21.

Not only does it cite the dissolution of the PKI, the draft law also prohibits activities which spread ideas containing elements of communism such as Marxism and Leninism.

“Prohibiting all activities spreading or developing communist/Marxist-Leninist ideas or teachings”, reads the stipulation.

As has been reported, the RUU HIP which was proposed by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction in the DPR did not contain a prohibition on communism or include the TAP MPRS in the consideration section.

Fears over the reemergence of the PKI surfaced. Rumors grew at the grass roots ranging from linking it to the PDI-P’s track record of once having a leading member who was a “child of the PKI” to Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno’s closeness to the PKI during the era of Nasakom (Nationalism, Religion, Communism).

This was made worse by the use of the terms ekasila and trisila which were accused of removing the first principal of Pancasila, Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa or Belief in the Almighty God.

Although there are anti-communist stipulations in the RUU BPIP, DPR Legislation Body (Baleg) member from the Democrat Party faction, Bambang Purwanto, says that his party still rejects the draft law over concerns that the Agency for Pancasila Ideology Education will be used as a tool for those in power.

“I think it’s susceptible to being used as a tool for those in power. So it could be a tool to attack [political opponents]”, he said when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Friday July 17.

Baleg member Zainuddin Maliki from the National Mandate Party (PAN) faction is also anxious about the BPIP alluding to a statement by BPIP Chairperson Yudian Wahyudi who one said that “religion is the enemy of Pancasila”. (tst/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Draf RUU BPIP: Penyebaran Komunisme Dilarang”.]