Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 13:50 WIB

Time to Move On House inquiry: Aspiration of the People or Will of the Political Elite?

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Jakarta, IO – It’s been said that history repeats itself. The loser of every presidential election feels so wronged that they go so far as to sue the Constitutional Court (MK) to overturn the outcome. We feel as though the 2024 presidential race is a déjà vu, but with a twist. This time, the losers planned to go farther by using the House inquiry right to look into their broad allegations of election fraud in reaction to Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s resounding victory. 

Public opinion is strongly divided on the topic, both offline and online, since third-party presidential candidate Ganjar Pranowo introduced it. He pleaded with the House of Representatives (DPR) to use its exclusive jurisdiction to look into how the 2024 presidential election was handled. He urged the PDI-P and PPP, the two political parties who back him, to start the procedure. He asserts that the House cannot keep quiet about accusations of overt electoral manipulation. 

Anies Baswedan presidential candidate #1 endorses the discussion. It is said that the three political parties—NasDem, PKB, and PKS—that back him and his running mate Muhaimin Iskandar met to talk about next actions. 

House inquiry 

The House inquiry, known locally as ‘hak angket’, is the authority vested in the House of Representatives (DPR) to conduct an investigation into the violations of laws/regulations which have significant and strategic impact on civic life and national security. 

It is part of the House’s oversight function to scrutinize the work of the Government (Executive Branch) to maintain checks and balances, and also ensure that the policies enacted and implemented by the government remain on track with the Constitution, and take into account the interests of the people. 

This authority is used to gather evidence and uncover the facts concerning alleged violations of statutory provisions by the government, so bad policies can be rectified and further improvements on policymaking can be made in the future. 

The legal basis for this is Article 177 of Law 27/2009 on People’s Consultative Assembly, House of Representatives, Regional Legislative Council and Regional Representatives Council (MD3 Law). 

The necessary requirements to launch a House inquiry are that it must be submitted by at least 25 legislative members and more than one faction. This proposal must also be supported by more than 50 percent its members. There must also be accompanying evidentiary documents detailing the violation(s) committed as well as justifiable arguments that provide a strong reason for doing so. 

The House must then hold a plenary session to decide whether to accept or decline its use. If it passes with a simple majority, the House will immediately form an investigative committee, consisting of all its factions. However, if the proposal is rejected, it cannot be resubmitted for another consideration. 

During Suharto’s New Order regime, the House never exercised this right. At that time, political maneuvers by the House were rare, in facing the reality of Suharto’s authoritarian leadership style. Its role was reduced to a rubber stamp. Its full authority was only restored after the fall of New Order. 

In the Reformasi era, the House has used this right several times in connection with election implementation. The first was used to investigate campaign finance violations in the 1999 elections. The special committee found several violations but no tough sanctions were imposed. 

The House once again formed a special committee in 2004 to investigate allegations of data manipulation in vote counting. The committee concluded that there was no strong evidence of data manipulation in a manner that was structural, systematic and massive. 

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