Jakarta – Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud M.D. has played down a contentious article in the omnibus bill on job creation, claiming it as "a typo".
Article 170 of the draft bill stipulates that the government is permitted to revoke laws simply by issuing a government regulation (PP), and that the government can consult the House of Representatives leadership in drawing up such regulations.
"One important thing, the bill is still a draft, which means everything can be corrected due to errors or different opinions. It can still be fixed at the House, that's all," Mahfud said on Tuesday at the presidential palace compound in Central Jakarta, as quoted by kompas.com.
Mahfud added that the government had ensured that Article 170 in the draft bill was a mistake because government regulations could not override laws, referring to the hierarchy of laws.
"Yes, it's actually a typo, which means that it's a mistake. We all have agreed, if we [refer] back to the basic theory of law, only laws can revoke laws, while PPs can only regulate laws. That's the principle," he said.
Political observer Jeirry Sumampow expressed doubt over Mahfud's claim that Article 170 was "a typo". "The government said it was a typo. If you read the draft, this is impossible," Jeirry told Kompas on Tuesday.
His reasoning was that the provision in Article 170 had been arranged sequentially. If it contained typographical mistakes, he said, it was not possible that the article would contain coherent points.
"There are several points in the article. How could the typos occur [in all points]?" he said.
Jeirry said he suspected that the government deliberately created the article to gain the public's approval over the power, even if some argued that the article was drafted in the interest of business investment.
"The narrative from the government is that the draft bill will have a good impact on the economy to face Industry 4.0. But substantially, I think there are things [in the bill] that can push the country toward authoritarianism, as has happened in the past," said Jeirry.
A statement from the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister issued on Monday, a copy of which The Jakarta Post obtained, calls speculation in the media that the government was becoming authoritarian as "groundless", because the third point in Article 170 stipulates that the central government could consult the House.
The omnibus bill was submitted last week to the House for deliberation. The bill aims to create jobs, improve the ease of doing business and stimulate economic growth.
The draft bill also grants the President the authority to revoke bylaws at the provincial and regency/municipal levels that contradict national regulations through the issuance of presidential regulations. The same authority can be used to override gubernatorial and regental/mayoral regulations. (syk)