Activists against Amended 1945 Constitution

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Public discussion “The People Protest the False Constitution of ‘45” held at Gren Alia Hotel, Cikini, Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday (07/01/2020). (Photo: IO/Rayi Gigih)

IO – Quite a few thoughtful citizens are of the opinion that our current Constitution, amended four times between 1999-2002, no longer embodies the authentic spirit as the original Constitution of 1945. It is thus unsurprising that the plan to amend the 1945 Constitution again has given rise to an unending and impassioned debate. The Native Indonesian Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Pribumi Indonesia – “MPPI”) has come out in support of the stand of Zulkifli S. Ekomei, declaring that the current Constitution of 1945 is not as it stands today a legal document; this charge has thus been lodged at the District Court of Central Jakarta. 

According to Zulkifli, our Motherland has suffered a massive stroke. Therefore, no matter how much “blood” is “transfused” into Her, She cannot possibly survive. He therefore took the initiative to stage a series of major “operations” in an effort to save Her – among others, through revocation of the “fake” 4-times-amended Constitution of 1945, reinstating the original 1945 Constitution. 

MPPI’s Leader, Ms. Kaban, declares that the amended Constitution of 1945 no longer benefits the native Indonesian people, but is a detriment to them instead. “This is no longer in line with what we were bestowed with by our Founding Fathers. Hundreds of articles have been changed – their values have even deviated far from the original intent. It is thus only natural for us to take legal action against such a travesty,” Kaban declared, when commencing the public discussion “The People Protest the False Constitution of ‘45” at Gren Alia Hotel, Cikini, Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday (07/01/2020). 

Kaban has discussed his lawsuit with the Speaker of the of the People’s Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “MPR RI”) Bambang Soesatyo. He claims that Bamsoet supports the changes he has made. While he has also discussed the issue with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP”) Faction, the Faction only wishes to amend State Policy Guidelines (Garis Besar Haluan Negara-GBHN). Therefore, MPPI will continue to pursue its own court case. 

Kaban’s conclusion is that the current version of the Constitution of 1945 has resulted in numerous deviations, ones that affect the environment, the people, and our national life. The Constitution no longer stipulates that the native people shall actually receive all of the benefits of the earth from the State. He feels that nowadays those native pribumi who fought for and preserved our nation’s independence are treated as squatters on their own land. “For example, PT Perkebunan Nusantara (“PTPN”), or the National Plantation Company, was reported to have transferred IDR 1.3 trillion in profits to the current Government. We now see that it has actually gotten itself in debt. PTPN, the former pride of the nation, and one that used to generate profits, has now become a burden for the nation,” he declared. 

Another detrimental example of amendments to the Constitution of 1945 is the addition of the 4th Paragraph to Article 33 of the Constitution, as follows: The national economy is to be founded on economic democracy, following the principles of togetherness, fair efficiency, sustainability, environmental perspective and independence, while sustaining the development and unity of the national economy. “This is the justification for revoking fuel and electricity subsidies, as food imports flood in. The term “economic democracy” would open the door for the Government to allow imports to freely flow in: the terms “efficiency” and “independence” are interpreted as a rationale to cancel subsidies,” he said. 

In a charge embodied within Case Number 592/Pdt.G/2019/PN.Jkt. Pst dated 27 September 2019, Zulkifli stated that 80% of the content of the Amended Constitution of 1945 no longer follows what the Founders of the Republic of Indonesia intended. “We uncovered proof that many improprieties have been slipped in, during the 1999-2002 amendment process. Thus 80% of the content no longer matches what the Founders of RI set down on paper. One direct impact of the implementation of the 4-times-amended Constitution was the 2019 Presidential Elections,” he said. “A Direct Presidential Election, as a product of the Amended Constitution, generated a rift among the citizens of the nation. This method was not employed until the Amended Constitution of 1945 was enacted. This Amendment has impaired the State administration system and resulted in the national daily life of Indonesian citizens becoming vague and directionless. Furthermore, by violating the law in this way, the Respondents have imposed a major detriment on the entire citizenry of Indonesia.” 

Zulkifli S. Ekomei’s legal counsel, Taufik Budiman, stated that the charges against the Amended Constitution of 1945 were lodged at the District Court of Central Jakarta in September 2019. The Charges were initially lodged in Jakarta and Yogyakarta in 2015, but they were rejected at that time by legal authorities. “We thus submitted them again, with change of Parties,” he said. “The Respondents include the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat – “MPR”), the President, heads of political parties, the Chief of Police, and the Minister of Home Affairs. Apart from lodging the Charges to the District Court of Central Jakarta, Taufik also reported the above-named to the Criminal Division of the Police. 

Meanwhile, National Cultur al Study Center (Pusat Pengkajian Peradaban Bangsa – “P3B”) researcher Ahmad Yani agrees that the Amended Constitution of 1945 should once again be amended. However, the specific changes to the Constitution must be agreed on from the outset. The original cause of the predicament is that, according to the Amended Constitution of 1945, members of the House of Representatives (“DPR”) and the MPR of 1999, were to be confirmed by the Elections Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum – “KPU”) instead of by President Habibie, and the appointments were thus invalid. And it is that element which was responsible for the various amendments to the Laws in the current version of the Constitution of 1945, “…including changing the wording of Article 6 from ‘The President must be a native citizen of Indonesia’ to ‘must be a citizen’ only. Therefore, even someone who has become a citizen of Indonesia for a single year would have the same right to be elected President,” he said. 

In the same vein as Ahmad Yani, Working Party (Partai Berkarya) politician Djoko Edhie Abdurrahman stated that it is inappropriate for the Charges against the Amended Constitution of 1945 to be lodged in a District Court; they should rightfully be lodged in a State Administration Court (Pengadilan Tata Usaha Negara – “PTUN”) instead, “…as this is a case against the State and it is already in the private jurisdiction or concerning a violation of the law. I am concerned that if this case is lodged in an ordinary court, the regime will exert influence in many areas and can pressure the authorities to alter decisions. After all, the police, the Attorney’s Office, and the judges who work at courts are paid by the State, and would naturally not do anything to disturb their employer,” he pointed out. (Dan)