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Regions to maintain bylaws that protect local interests

Jakarta Post - June 16, 2016

Ganug Nugroho Adi, Arya Dipa and Djemi Amnifu, Surakarta/Bandung/Semarang/Kupang/Batam/Palu/Surabaya/Yogyakarta – While most regional administrations threw their support behind President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to annul over 3,000 bylaws considered to hamper investment, they also said they would keep protecting the interests of locals.

The administrations agree with efforts to lure more investment in a bid to drive the economy. But, they also require the central government to accommodate the interests of locals.

Surakarta Legislative Council (DPRD) member Putut Gunawan, for example, says the development of a factory in a certain area needs to be regulated with a bylaw because the presence of a factory would certainly have an environmental, social and economic impact on its surrounding community.

"A bylaw that requires particular environment assessments or the obligation to employ locals must not be seen as hampering investment," said Putut, head of the council's bylaw drafting agency, on Wednesday.

Numerous bylaws that are seen as counter-productive to investment and out of date are now being assessed by the Surakarta DPRD. "If we find outdated bylaws, we will either revise them or produce new bylaws," said Putut, a politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Surakarta DPRD speaker Teguh Prakosa, meanwhile, said so far there was no bylaw in Surakarta deemed to be hampering investment. "Bylaws in Surakarta are issued to protect local culture. For example, there is a bylaw requiring hotels to display Javanese ornaments as part of an effort to preserve local culture," he said.

West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan said the provincial administration would evaluate all bylaws following the annulment of over 3,000 bylaws across the country by the President.

Among the bylaws annulled by the President were bylaws that prolong the bureaucratic process, ones considered a hindrance to business licensing and investment and bylaws that contravened higher laws and regulations.

Jokowi said the annulment of the bylaws was part of the government's attempt to increase the country's ease-of-doing-business ranking.

Not all regional councillors and administrations have offered a view on the annulment of the bylaws yet. Semarang Legislative Council Speaker Supriyadi is one of those. He said the local council was still discussing the issue. "We will look at the bylaws first, then discuss them together. We need to identify which bylaws are being annulled," he said.

In addition, Kupang Regent Ayub Titu Eki has expressed his support for Jokowi's decision to annul the problematic bylaws, as he believes it will invite more investors. "President Jokowi's decision is in line with his program to develop Indonesia through the periphery. We fully support that decision," he added.

He suggested that the central government issue a regulation that streamlined the process of getting an environment impact analysis done, considering that currently it took a lot of time to get the assessment completed.

Separately, a business association in Batam welcomed the annulment decision and suggested that the government supervise its implementation directly in the field.

"There are numerous licenses that businesspeople need to get. This surely takes up time and funds. We welcome the annulment of those problematic bylaws," said Riau Islands Industrial Estates Association deputy chairman Tjaw Hioeng.

[Suherjoko, Ruslan Sangadji, Wahyoe Boedhiwardhana, Bambang Muryanto and Fadli contributed to this reporting.]

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/06/16/regions-maintain-bylaws-protect-local-interests.html