Sunday, March 3, 2024 | 09:21 WIB

What’s with Bakamla and KPLP?

Jakarta, IO – Maritime Affairs Law 32/2014 is to be revised. This is a “nothing-out-of-ordinary” step taken by the Government as the Executive and initiated by the Legislative branches: the House of Representatives (DPR) and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). Although it may seem ordinary, the revision – proposed by the DPD – is stirring up controversy among the domestic maritime community. This essay will try to unravel the root of the problem that has caused the ruckus. 

The commotion over the revision of Law 32/2014 arises due to an article that “torpedoes” or disbands an agency that is outside the scope of the Maritime Affairs Law. Obviously, said agency will react quite strongly – hence, the controversy. The strong response of the agency about to be gutted (the Directorate of Sea and Coast Guard Unit (KPLP), under the Directorate General of Sea Transportation of the Transportation Ministry) is understandable, considering that the regulation falls under the territory of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry. 

The Transportation Ministry takes its stand according to laws and regulations (Law 12/2011). The Law, particularly Article 7, paragraph 1, stipulates the types and hierarchy of statutory regulations, consisting of the 1945 Indonesian Constitution, Decree of the People’s Consultative Assembly, Laws/Government Regulations in Lieu of Laws, Government Regulations, Presidential Regulations, Provincial Regulations and Regency/ City Regional Regulations. Meanwhile, paragraph 2 regulates the legal force of laws and regulations according to the hierarchy referred to in paragraph 1, so in principle, laws of the same degree cannot nullify one another. 

The issue of disbanding KPLP and merging it with the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) is nothing new. Around 2020, the media quoted Head of Bakamla Aan Kurnia of the agency’s plan to merge KPLP and the Water Police into Bakamla. However, meeting resistance from the to-bemerged agencies, the plan came to a screeching halt. Now, the idea has been repackaged and proposed with more thorough execution – the revision has been completed and submitted by the DPD to the DPR for discussion. This time, however, the Water Police have not been mentioned at all. 

In the revision of Maritime Affairs Law 32/2014, which has been circulating restrictedly, codicils to be changed or revised are Articles 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 71 and 72. Revisions can take the form of deletion or addition of articles and paragraphs, including alterations to the editorial aspect of the articles and paragraphs. These articles are almost entirely related to Bakamla’s existence or related to maritime security. With this revision, the Parliament wishes to strengthen the said agency and, at the same time, make it into “Indonesia’s Coast Guard”.