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People's Faction says Omnibus Job Creation Law return to Dutch colonial era

CNN Indonesia - January 31, 2020

Jakarta – As many as 40 people's organisations and civil society groups from the Indonesian People's Faction (Fraksi Rakyat Indonesia, FRI) have expressed their opposition to the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation or RUU Cilaka.

The groups said that RUU Cilaka is just a tool for the government to attract foreign investment through colonial methods.

"The entire process has been very closed, undemocratic, and only involved employers and businesspeople. The substance of the RUU Cilaka is similar to the character of the Dutch East Indies colonial government", said Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Campaign and Networking Division Head Arip Yogiawan in a press release received by CNN Indonesia on Thursday January 30.

In the late 19th Century, under pressure from globalisation and international agreements, the Dutch East Indies colonial government issued the Koeli Ordonantie (Coolie Ordinance). The regulation guaranteed that employers could employ tobacco plantation unskilled labourers (coolies) at extremely low wages without any legal protections.

The workers were also subject to forced-labour punishments while employers who violated regulations were only subject to minor fines.

"The concept of a labour system under the RUU Cilaka resembles the labour conditions during the Dutch East Indies colonial period", said Yogiawan.

The group also accused the RUU Cilaka of being a return to the national land politics of the colonial era because its spirit is the same as the stipulations of the 1870 Agrarische Wet (Agrarian Law).

Both of these regulations had the ambition of facilitating the opening up the largest amount of land possible for foreign investment by robbing traditional communities and local people of their rights to manage their land.

"The strong legal formulation in the RUU Cilaka revives the spirit of domein verklaring [declaration of lands as belonging to the state] typical of colonial regulations. Communities lost the right to participate and legal channels to defend the land that they controlled", he said.

"The government's failure to implement its programs and programs and policies [to attract investment] don't need to be covered by making new regulations", he continued.

The government is planning to issue a Draft Law on Taxation and a Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation. The laws are being issued because President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo believes that there are too many regulations in the country which overlap and conflict with each other.

This situation restricts the government's freedom to make decisions, including those related to investment. Widodo hopes that the new laws can attract investment and increase economic growth.

Coordinating Minister for Investment and Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, said that the government will issue a presidential letter (surpres) on the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation by tomorrow (Friday) at the latest.

Panjaitan said that Widodo has already signed the letter and that the government can now hand the draft laws over to the House of Representatives (DPR).

"Tomorrow (Friday January 30) or Monday (February 3) it will be handed over to the parliament (the letter and Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation)", said Panjaitan on Thursday January 30.

This means that President Widodo has already signed the presidential letter on the law. Aside from the Job Creation Law, Widodo has also signed a presidential letter on the Draft Omnibus Law on Taxation Stipulations and Facilities. (kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Fraksi Rakyat Tuding Omnibus Law RUU Cilaka Berwatak Kolonial".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20200130202121-20-470293/fraksi-rakyat-tuding-omnibus-law-ruu-cilaka-berwatak-kolonial