Islamic student groups protest public housing savings program, tuition fee hikes

CNN Indonesia – June 10, 2024
Gowa Raya HMI students block trans-Sulawesi highway – June 10, 2024 (CNN)

Makassar – Protesters from the Greater Gowa branch of the Islamic Student Association (HMI) held a demonstration on Monday June 6 to oppose Government Regulation (PP) Number 21/2024 on Public Housing Savings (Tapera) in which they closed the Trans Sulawesi highway from late afternoon through to the evening.

A speaker at the action said that the provisions of the Tapera regulation add to the burden on society, especially since at the moment living coasts are getting higher. "Reject Government Regulation Number 21/2024 on Public Housing Savings", said the speaker.

In addition, the demonstrators also demanded an end to the commercialisation of education saying the increase in single tuition fees (UKT) at a number of state universities (PTN) is a burden for students and parents.

"The UKT increase will add to the burden for students and parents of students. So the commercialisation of education must be abolished immediately", said the speaker.

There were a number of residents who complained about the demonstration because it interfered with local activities. This was because the Trans Sulawesi highway connects the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar and Gowa Regency. As a result of the action traffic stalled and created a long traffic jam.

"I brought this sand, from Gowa in the direction of Pattene, I suffered financial losses because I was held up earlier", said a truck driver named Marang (30).

Tyres burnt, box truck highjacked in Makassar

Protesters from the HMI also rallied against the Tapera program on Monday during a protest action at the South Sulawesi Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in Makassar by setting fire to tyres and highjacking at box truck.

The demonstrators took turns in giving speeches but none of the DPRD representatives came out to meet with the protesters. They also threw things at the front gate of the DPRD offices.

The HMI brought eight demands to the demonstration, one of which was opposing the government's plan related to the application of Government Regulation (PP) Number 21/2024 on Tapera which is considered not pro-people.

"The Makassar HMI branch rejects the planned Tapera which is not pro-people", said action coordinator Alwi.

In addition to this, the protesters also urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to removed Education, Culture, Research and Technology Minister (Mendikbudristek) Nadiem Makarim.

"Stop all practices of commercialising education and asking the DPR [House of Representatives] to reconstruct the educating system. So we are urging the president to remove the education minister", Alwi said.

The protesters also highlighted the Draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) which will curb press freedom in Indonesia.

As a result of the protest action, the public was unable to access to the road in front of the DPRD causing a long traffic jam.

Protester injured during riot in Yogyakarta

Another demonstration on Monday afternoon protesting the Tapera program at the Yogyakarta Special Province (DIY) DPRD offices in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta was marred by a riot.

The chaos resulted in a demonstrator suffering head injuries.

The protest action involved hundreds of people from the Cipayung Plus Alliance, some of which were from the HMI and the Indonesian Islamic Student Movement (PMII).

Meanwhile the demonstrator who suffered injuries was Yogyakarta PMII leader Ahmad Tomi Wijaya, whose temple was cut and bleeding profusely and had to be bandaged.

Wijaya related how the riot occurred when the demonstrators agreed to set fire to tyres near the DPRD offices.

"Only earlier there were a number of police officers and DPRD security guards who carried out repression, dragging people away, so we students tried to take back what we had already made a commitment to", said Wijaya on the sidelines of the action.

Wijaya said that the protesters were outnumbered and claimed he was pulled into one corner of an area, then beaten, thrown to the ground and trampled on.

"I was beaten, trampled on, I myself earlier. By about eight to ten people. By security guards all wearing safari clothes and several police officers", he claimed.

Wijaya said he suffered injuries to his temple after being kicked by an officer and had a fire extinguisher thrown at him.

Meanwhile the demonstration continued with DPRD Deputy Speaker Huda Tri Yudiana even taking to the speaker's podium and being asked to prosecute the officer who injured Wijaya.

[Translated by James Balowski based on three articles by CNN Indonesia on June 10. The original title of the lead article was "Massa HMI Gowa Demo Tolak Tapera, Tutup Jalur Trans Sulawesi".]