House insists on discussing Omnibus Law: Possible free rider interest?

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State Administration Law expert Refly Harun. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – State Administration Law expert Refly Harun has leveled criticism at our House of Representatives (DPR) for insisting they should discuss the Job Creation Draft Omnibus Law amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of this insistence, he expresses suspicion for the presence of “free riders”. 

“When people insist on doing something despite circumstances, there are usually free riders behind them,” Refly said on Tuesday, 21 April 2020. 

Refly further stated that there have been criticisms that the Omnibus Law facilitates businesses and opens up the chance for unscrupulous investments, while reducing accountability to workers and the environment. This Draft Law is excessive in scope: it invests too much authority in the Executive branch, as if seeking to reduce the function of other State organs. Another criticism highlights lack of transparency and public participation. He reminds us that Law Number 12 of 2011 concerning the Drafting of Rules and Regulations, last amended by Law Number 15 of 2019, clearly mandates that the drafting of any law or regulation must be performed with the participation of the public. 

Refly stated that dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic will severely restrict space for participation. Virtual discussion amid the current implementation of Large-Scaled Social Restriction (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar – “PSBB”) would not be optimal, because not all concerned citizens can access teleconference facilities at the time they are being held. It is entirely possible for the DPR to informally discuss the Job Creation Omnibus Draft Law as long as they come to no decisions. On the other hand, he admits that discussions tend to become out of control once started. “Nowadays, people are fully concentrating on COVID-19. When the public is not paying attention, free riders can sneak into these branches of powers and have something beneficial for them decided,” he said 

DPR’s Legislation Committee insists on initiating discussion of the Job Creation Omnibus Draft Law. Other than appointing Task Forces, DPR also regulates the flow of discussion for each cluster of the Omnibus Draft Law. The Task Force will soon be holding a public hearing on the Law. 

Similarly to Harun, the Chairman of the Pro-Democracy Panel, Iwan Sumule, has requested through his Twitter account on Sunday, 19 April 2020, that DPR RI stop discussing the Job Creation Omnibus Draft Law in the Legislation Committee, and refuse to allow the Government to decree in Lieu of Law Number 1 of 2020, concerning State Financial Policy and Fiscal Stability for the Mitigation of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. “Please recall that the people have rejected and condemned these Laws,” he said. 

The Job Creation Draft Law Task Force 

As we know, the DPR’s Legislation Committee reopened discussion on the Job Creation Omnibus Draft Law on Tuesday, 14 April 2020. PDIP politician and Vice Chairman of the DPR Legislation Committee Rieke Diah Pitaloka held an online meeting with the Government, which resulted in the establishment of the Job Creation Omnibus Draft Law Tsk Force. The Task Force will be inviting stakeholders and experts to discuss this Law. The results of their discussion can serve as consideration for the Parliament’s Factions in generating a Problem Inventory List (Daftar Inventarisasi Masalah – “DIM”). 

The DIM will be submitted when all aspirations are recorded. The Factions can adjust and perfect the DIM after submission. Discussion on the approved DIM will be held according to the clustering of materials in the Draft Law. The discussion of the Job Creation Omnibus Draft Law will be prioritized around materials that do not have systemic impact or are rejected by the people. “We will start discussing the DIM from the ‘easier’ content, and then the ‘harder’ material will follow,” concluded the Legislation Committee meeting with the Government last week. (dan)