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Unions, analysts, opposition parties condemn Indonesian jobs decree

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 23 Mar 2023, 10:21 PM
Tan KW
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JAKARTA : Frustration is mounting as a growing number of interest groups reject the passage of a controversial regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) on job creation, arguing that the process has been “constitutionally defective” and “undemocratic” from the outset.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo signed in December 2022 the Perppu to resuscitate the Job Creation Law, which was declared “conditionally unconstitutional” by the Constitutional Court in 2021 because it used the unrecognised omnibus method to revise multiple laws at once and was deliberated with minimal public participation.

The top court gave the government and the House of Representatives an ultimatum to redo the lawmaking process within two years or risk it being permanently revoked.

Instead, the government issued the Perppu after it cut corners with lawmakers by enacting another law that allows the use of omnibus methods.

The Perppu, which must be passed by a House plenary session to become permanent legislation, had secured wide support from the House Legislative Body (Baleg) in February, with all pro-government parties having firmly supported the Jokowi administration’s decision from the get-go.

During a House plenary to confirm the passage of the Perppu on Tuesday, seven of the nine House political party factions agreed to pass the legislation, while the opposition Democratic Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) raised objections to the move.

Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, who represented the government on Tuesday, cited an urgent need to mitigate a looming global economic crisis as the rationale behind the regulation’s issuance.

However, the clamour of opposition by labour groups and good governance experts has seemed to grow louder by the day.

Constitutional law expert Feri Amsari from Andalas University said that the passage of the Perppu on job creation into law was just as likely to be problematic as the previous attempt, as it did not follow proper procedures.

Feri pointed out that according to the 1945 Constitution, there needs to be an emergency situation for a Perppu to be proposed by the President and then passed into law by the House. He also said the Perppu should have been passed into law during an earlier legislative sitting period between January and February, in line with the top court’s ultimatum.

“The Job Creation Perppu should have been revoked and voided because it was not completed within its allotted sitting period and did not meet the emergency criteria for a Perppu,” Feri told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Bivitri Susanti, cofounder of the Jentera School of Law, said that a Perppu itself is by nature an “undemocratic” tool used by a supposedly democratic country. She said that according to the previous Constitutional Court rulings, the 2020 Job Creation Law should have been revised through “meaningful public participation”.

“However, there was no participation in this Perppu at all as it was proposed only by the President and the process was not transparent,” Bivitri told the Post on Wednesday.

She said the Perppu was likely a shortcut the government took in order to keep the jobs law without revising it.

“The emergency aspect of the Perppu is also not fulfilled. What kind of emergency is this anyway? There is currently no economic crisis that is the basis for the Perppu,” Bivitri said.

Labour groups have also expressed dismay over the passage of the Perppu and have vowed to legally challenge it through reviews at the Constitutional Court.

“We view that the passing of the Perppu on job creation into law as constitutionally defective,” the Indonesian Labour Welfare Confederation (KSBSI) stated on Tuesday.

“We will also fight to make sure that the law is revoked by filing judicial reviews at the Constitutional Court,” the confederation added.


  - ANN


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