Speaker of People’s Consultative Assembly: “Broad Guidelines of State Policy will not impair President’s creativity”

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Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly of RI, Bambang Soesatyo speaks at the national seminar “Polemics in Bringing Back the Broad Outlines of State Policy (Garis-garis Besar Haluan Negara – “GBHN”)”, held by the Directorate of Scientific Publications and Strategic Information at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (Institut Pertanian Bogor – “IPB”) on Thursday (31/10/2019). (photo: MPR Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Recently, there have been many opinions from many groups concerning the possible re­turn of the Broad Outlines of State Policy (Garis Besar Haluan Negara – “GBHN”). In response to this hot is­sue, the Speaker of the People’s Con­sultative Assembly (MPR) Bambang Soesatyo (“Bamsoet”) stated that the Assembly will be performing more serious studies that involve the par­ticipation of the people to the utmost. Therefore, he plans to directly visit all strata of society, whether in regencies, municipalities, districts, or villages, in order to gain input and to check their actual condition and determine the direction of development in the future.

In the national seminar “Polemics in Bringing Back the GBHN” held by the Directorate of Scientific Publica­tions and Strategic Information at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (Institut Pertanian Bogor – “IPB”), Bamsoet stat­ed that the substance of the GBHN will only include strategic policies that will serve as reference for the Government in determining the direction of national development. “Therefore, it would not impair the creativity of the President in interpreting the Directions of develop­ment programs in accordance with the vision and mission that he expressed during his campaigns. In fact, the exis­tence of the GBHN will serve as a polit­ical basis for the technocratic aspects of determining the direction of nation­al development,” he said on Thursday (31/10/2019).

Bamsoet further stated that the initial urgency for reformulating the national development planning sys­tem using the GBHN model is to prevent inconsistency of directions and policies of development between national and regional levels, and between one government term and that of the next. After all, national development planning is based on a National Long-term Development Plan (Rencana Pembangunan Jang­ka Panjang Nasional – “RPJPN”) Law and the Presidential Regulation con­cerning the National Medium-term Development Plan (Rencana Pemba­ngunan Jangka Menengah Nasion­al – “RPJMN”), both created around the Vision and Mission of the elected President and Vice President.

“Such a model for our national development planning system would allow for inconsistent RPJPN in each Government term, as RPJMN is im­plemented according to the Vision and Mission of the President and Vice President-Elect, which differ for each term of Government. National development planning and regional development planning might likewise differ, and there will be a high possi­bility of a mismatch in development, as there is no obligation for the Re­gional Medium-term Development Plan (Rencana Pembangunan Jang­ka Menengah Daerah – “RPJMD”) to conform to the RPJMN. After all, the Vision and Mission of the Gov­ernor/Regent/Mayor-Elect might differ from that of the Vision and Mission of the President and Vice President-Elect, or from the Vision and Mission of the other Governors/ Regents/Mayors-Elect in other re­gions,” Bamsoet explained.

From a series discussions held by both MPR 2009-2014 and MPR 2014- 2019 with various groups, including community figures, experts, and ac­ademicians, Bamsoet concluded that they generally agree that a National Development Direction is necessary in order to maintain the sustainabil­ity of national development, and to integrate the national development planning system with a regional one in order to achieve the aspirations of our country. Among the strongest en­couragement is that from the Forum of Rectors: “The debate only started when we started to discuss what le­gal forms are most appropriate for the GBHN model itself: will it be enacted through an MPR Decree, or through a Law?” he said.

Bamsoet further stated that in order to resolve the debate, MPR RI, through the MPR RI Review Commit­tee and State Administration Review Committee, will first organize the Substance of the State’s Directions. This Substance must be able to de­scribe the face of Indonesia in 2045, when its independence is precisely one century old and the Government will be able to respond to Indonesia’s future needs with relevant State Ad­ministration for a Millennium Era, which is strongly affected by the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. “It must be able to describe a global megatrend that includes technological advances, geopolitical changes, geo-economic changes, global demographics, glob­al urbanization, international trade, global finances, a middle-income class, natural resource competition and climate change. All of these will affect Indonesia’s development and provide direction for our develop­ment, which will help us respond to the challenges of SDGs or Sustain­able Development Goals,” he said.

The form of the State’s Direction will be discussed after the formula­tion of its Substance is completed – is a Decree of the MPR necessary or will a Law do? Without this Substance, any debate concerning the idea of returning GBHN will be useless. “In other words, how can we debate the ‘clothing’ of the regulation, while its substantial ‘body’ is not yet clear?” Bamsoet asked.

He further stated that he road to­wards change is limited by the Con­stitution of the Republic of Indonesia of 1945. It is a long, hard road. Sim­ply suggesting amendments to the articles of the Constitution requires the approval of at least of MPR RI’s members, or 237 suggesting mem­bers. The quorum attendance of the Meeting that discusses the suggest­ed amendment is at least 2/3rds of MPR RI’s members or 474 persons. The suggested amendment must then be approved by 50% of members plus one, or 357 members. “However, more importantly, the amendment to the Constitution is not just about the mathematical calculations as regulat­ed in Article 37. It requires the politi­cal consensus of all political powers. There must be no voting when the is­sue is the Constitution. And most im­portantly, all Indonesian people really need this amendment to be made,” Bamsoet said. (Dan)