Problematic Law-Making Process in Indonesia

Antoni Putra Researcher at the Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK)

IO – The House of Representatives (DPR) and the Minister of Law and Human Rights agreed to revoke 16 (sixteen) and add three Draft Laws on the list of 2020 National Legislation Programs (Prolegnas). This was done in consideration of the short completion time and the condition of the nation in facing the pandemic. 

Referring to Law No. 12 of 2011 Jo. UU no. 15 of 2019 concerning the Formation of Legislation (PPP Law), the issuance of many bills from the list of Priority Prolegnas is not prohibited. The PPP Law gives the DPR and Government the authority to correct or revise the list of priority prolegnas if needed. 

Unfortunately, the steps to exclude many bills from the list of prolegnas were not carried out with careful consideration. Many bills that were issued urged to be immediately passed. The bill does not need to be discussed starting from zero, because it already started last year so that the process can be continued through the carry-over process as the mechanism stipulated in the PPP Law. 

One of the bills that should not be excluded from prolegnas is the Bill on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (PKS). Aside from the discussion that the bill began last year, the existence of the bill was also encouraged by the coalition of civil society to be ratified immediately so that there would be guarantees for victims of sexual violence to not hesitate to reveal the perpetrators because there were still many victims who were reluctant to speak or felt intimidated by the perpetrators because of social relations or power relations with actors. 

Indeed, in the case of this bill, there are still pros and cons, but if the DPR is serious in completing this bill, it should not be a problem, but with a note, the DPR must provide sufficient space for the public to understand. But unfortunately, this bill has already been issued from the priority program this year. 

The interests of the elite 

On the other hand, the House of Representatives together with the Government maintained many bills that received rejection from the public and a bill whose urgency needed to be questioned. For example such as the Pancasila Ideology Bill (HIP) and the Domestic Workers Protection Bill. There is also a Work Creation Bill which continues to accelerate the process despite being bombarded with criticism and rejection. Judging from the historical red note informing laws, the DPR and the Government are almost always impressed by only prioritizing the interests of the political elite. A bill with a strong political aroma is almost certain to become a law. 

Last year for example. The DPR even passed at least 13 laws in a short period. Some of them even received a rejection from the public. For example, the revision of Law Number 30 Year 20O2 regarding the Corruption Eradication Commission (UU KPK), the Law on Water Resources (UU SDA), and the Act on Sustainable Agriculture Cultivation. 

Regarding the KPK Law, despite massive public rejection, even triggered a massive wave of demonstrations for fear of weakening the KPK the revision of the Act was still ratified with the reason to strengthen the KPK. After the revised law became law, what was feared by the public immediately found its truth by obstructing the investigation of corruption cases involving Harun Masiku, a legislative candidate from PDIP Party. 

A similar thing also happened in the legislation process of the Law on Natural Resources and the Law on Sustainable Agriculture Systems. Farmers even held a demonstration in front of the State Palace by tearing up a land certificate released by the government. However, instead of listening to these public aspirations, the DPR and the Government still passed the law despite receiving the rejection. 

This year, in addition to the discussion on the Work Create Bill which is currently being accelerated, a revision of the Minerba Law has also been passed. The discussion of the law which guides the state in the management of mineral and coal mining is discussed secretly and endorsed suddenly by the DPR and the Government. In fact, at the same time, a number of the contents of the law are also being discussed in the amendment in the Work Draft Bill. 

If we look at the current practice of legislation, the success of the DPR and the Government in passing many laws without public participation last year had a big influence. It cannot be denied that this success has become a role model for the DPR and the Government to pass many laws that have received public refusal. In this case, the government seems to want to prove that regardless of the public will, the formation of law can be done. As long as the DPR and the government agree. 

Conflict Management 

In addition to the above problems, the House of Representatives together with the government informing the Act also does not seem to have a good conflict management in order to solve the problem. Instead of ignoring the public, the House of Representatives together with the Government chose the “radical” path of informing the law. Impressed political interests and investors are above all, while the public interest is placed at the bottom. 

The steps taken by the DPR and the Government will never solve the problem. But only will continue to trigger public anger. As a result, besides causing the public to lose confidence in the legislators, it will also cause laws that are born from such a process that is difficult to accept, and almost always become unwanted laws. 

As a representation of people’s sovereignty, the DPR and the Government must be able and tested in working well in carrying out the people’s mandate. Included in forming laws. Even if the law is formed which is advantageous politically, but has been rejected by the public, the discussion must be stopped. If you want to continue, it is necessary to first embrace the public to have the same understanding. Instead of imposing a will by forming a radical law. 

The move taken by the DPR and the Government to disregard the public informing the Act is a serious problem. In addition to threatening the sovereignty of the people, it is also a crime of legislation done in the congregation. 

Then, the DPR will always be regarded as a “group” of people who are only concerned with and fight for political interests alone. As for the government, especially President Joko Widodo, the poor system of forming this regulation will be a bad record and will be remembered throughout history.