Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – House of Representatives lawmakers have urged the government to resume deliberation of the controversial revisions to the Criminal Code and the 1995 Corrections Law despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
In a hearing on Monday, members of the House's Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, questioned Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly over the government's seriousness regarding the two bills, both of which were proposed by the government.
Commission III chairman and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Herman Hery cited the recent passing of a controversial revision to the Coal and Mineral Mining Law as an "inspiration" for the commission to pass the two bills.
Commission III deputy chairman Adies Kadir echoed Herman's comments. "We must resolve the controversy. After all, there has been another bill that was passed despite [public] concerns," the Golkar Party politician said.
Deliberation of the bills was postponed last September following massive student protests in Jakarta and other regions. The students had demanded that the bills be rejected, saying that they were a threat to democracy.
Yasonna said he agreed with resuming deliberation but would ask President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's approval first.
"I'm ready should the House agree to resume, but I will ask for the President's approval [...] I will officially ask the President's directions," Yasonna said.
The lawmakers also agreed to ask the House leadership to write a letter to the President to submit a new presidential letter (Surpres) instructing the House to restart the deliberation process.
United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker Arsul Sani said the delay in deliberations had hindered the lawmakers' work in Commission III for almost 10 months, adding that the two bills were on the House's 2020 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).
"We cannot move on to deliberate other bills, such as the Constitutional Court bill and a bill on judges' term of office that were initiated by the House," he said.