Indonesia Parliament To Discuss Fate Of Emergency Job Decree

Indonesia’s parliament will assess the legal standing of an emergency regulation signed by President Joko Widodo to replace a Job Creation law, the deputy speaker said on Tuesday (Jan 10), as activists called for a protest against the controversial decree.

Civil society groups plan to stage a protest later on Tuesday to pressure lawmakers to reject the emergency regulation – officially called a government regulation in lieu of law – which some legal experts see as a government ploy to bypass proper debate in parliament.

“The House of Representatives, in accordance with its constitutional function, will assess whether parameters of compelling urgency were met to give the president the authority to issue the government regulation in lieu of law,” deputy speaker Rachmat Gobel said.

Passed in 2020, the Jobs Creation law revised more than 70 other laws and was lauded by foreign investors for streamlining business rules in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, but was controversial because it was seen as hurting labour rights and eroding environmental protection.

That law was declared partially unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in 2021 due to inadequate public consultation. The court ruled that lawmakers must complete a renewed debate process within two years.

The president’s coalition controls more than 80 per cent of seats in parliament, but it was unclear how much support he would get for the emergency decree. The government has argued the decree was needed to help shield Indonesia from the impact of a potential global economic crisis.

“This means the government is again skipping due process, ignoring participation and objections,” Reuters cited Luluk Nur Hamidah, a lawmaker from the National Awakening Party – part of the ruling coalition saying.

“I think it should be revoked,” she added.

Opposition party leaders have condemned the decree, arguing it serves the interest of the elite and pointing to opposition from labour groups.

Thousands of workers plan to hold protests across the country on Saturday to urge parliament to reject the emergency regulation.

Last week, a group of Indonesians asked the Constitutional Court to carry out a judicial review of the regulation.

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