Jakarta – A key group in Indonesia's parliament expressed support on Wednesday for a plan by President Joko Widodo to replace dozens of existing, overlapping laws with bills to improve the investment climate, its chairman said.
Widodo's cabinet ministers met members of the Legislative Body, a parliamentary group that sets legislation priorities, seeking support on a plan to revise and combine many existing laws by applying "omnibus laws", or legislation that encompasses diverse and unrelated issues.
The president told new cabinet members last month that simplifying 74 laws that overlap with each other was a top priority in an order to attract investment.
Supratman Andi Agtas, the chairman of the parliamentary body, told a hearing with the ministers that the government should complete the main points in the new bills within the next 1-2 months to get them into parliament's list of priority legislation.
"In terms of political support, I don't think there's a problem for the omnibus laws," he said.
Luhut Pandjaitan, a senior minister overseeing natural resources and investment, told the hearing removing complicated rules was instrumental to attracting much needed investment that would create jobs.
"There is a total of $123 billion in the investment pipeline, but they have been there for one to three years and have never gone through because of overlapping rules," Pandjaitan said.
The new bills will try to simplify rules in a wide range of areas, including investment requirements, research and innovation, as well as more sensitive issues such as labour and land acquisition rules, said Susiwijono Moegiarso, secretary to the economic affairs minister.
Political parties in the ruling coalition supporting Widodo, who began a second five-year term as president on Oct. 20, control more than 70% of parliament. (Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)