Prabowo: Gerindra at the forefront, defending labor rights

Prabowo Subianto. (Photo: Bachren Lukskardinul)

IO – The passage of the Job Creation Law, an act which has led to demonstrations by students and laborers in several cities, is of great concern to Prabowo Subianto. According to him, since his days of opposition, to currently supporting the government of President Joko Widodo and Ma’ruf Amin, Gerindra Party has always been in the forefront of defending labor rights. The Defense Minister declared that the country is currently in deep water. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has plunged the Indonesian and global economy into deep contraction`, has definitely become the government’s main focus, with resources directed at overcoming the public health crisis and removing roadblocks that could hamper economic recovery. Prabowo admitted that Covid-19 has triggered a dramatic downturn in tourism, with many employees working in the sector now being either furloughed or laid off. The same condition is also experienced by the transportation and other sectors. 

“We know that labor leaders are in a dilemmatic position. On one hand they are trying to defend labor rights, but on the other hand, if companies are facing too many impediments to doing business, they will shut down and move to other countries. So my advice is, please exercise patience and restraint – do not get emotional quickly and take matters into your own hands. Read the articles in the Job Creation Law first, and if you are still not satisfied, file a judicial review in the Constitutional Court or negotiate with the companies. We, as the government, will always prioritize the welfare of workers, street vendors, MSMEs, everyone. That’s why the President has steadfastly expressed his supports for vulnerable and disadvantaged people,” he said in an interview on public broadcaster TVRI. 

The Gerindra Party Chairman wants to straighten up the barrage of hoaxes circulating in the public regarding the contents of the Job Creation Law, especially the labor cluster which misled the public with statements that many workers’ rights have been eroded. “I want the public to know that there are many hoaxes about the Job Creation Law. There are certain actors who want to fan the flame and create chaos. I believe there is foreign involvement. There are certain countries that would not like to see a safe and developed Indonesia. So don’t be easily divided and ruled,” cautioned Prabowo. 

Regarding the Job Creation Law, which was passed by the House on October 5, 2020, Prabowo said that of the 11 clusters, many of the policies are meant to simplify business licensing processes and investment, ensure protection of MSMEs, promote ease of doing business, support research, streamline bureaucracy, relax administrative sanctions, ease the approval process for projects, establish special economic zones and others. “The point is that there are many things that the government wants to reform so that economic growth can be accelerated and that eventually will have an impact on the lives of ordinary people and workers’ welfare,” he explained. 

Responding to demonstrations by students and labors, Prabowo reiterated that Gerindra Party has always been at the forefront of defending labor rights. “When the omnibus law was being deliberated by the House, Gerindra was the most outspoken in defending the rights of workers, farmers, fishermen, and so on. We work earnestly and everyone can see that. And Gerindra faction is the one that met with labor leaders most frequently. Of all the labor demands, 80% of them have been accommodated in the Job Creation Law. The remainder can still be fought for, or negotiated with the company. That’s why there is no need to be emotional or to carry out mass demonstration, let alone vandalism of public facilities built with taxpayers’ money. I am convinced these protesters are not students, but sinister actors piggybacked by foreign powers. No patriot would ever do such thing,” remarked Prabowo. 

As a party that joins the government’s coalition, Prabowo emphasized that Gerindra Party supports the Job Creation Law on an article by article basis. “We have rejected many articles that we perceive as too liberal, because many of us are infatuated with liberalism. When there is difficulty, the solution is liberalism. But I beg to differ. We don’t need to be too liberal. We are sure that the government will always uphold the interests of the people above all else,” he said. 

According to Prabowo, the Job Creation Law must be scrutinized article by article, cluster by cluster, taking into account the interests of the nation and the people. And Gerindra is one of the political parties that consistently and vigorously defends the interests of the people. “Even though we are in the government, we are still fighting from within in the proper corridor. I am convinced that President Jokowi in his heart always thinks of the nation and the people. That’s why, I want to help and support the government. If he is not a nationalist, why would I do it?” he asserted. (Dan)