Jakarta – A number of civil society groups which reject the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation (RUU Ciptaker) have been intimidated by people from different groups. This was conveyed by Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) public defender Citra Referandum during a discussion on the Omnibus Law at the offices of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in the Mampang area of South Jakarta on Thursday February 20.
Referandum said that over the last month there have been two cases of intimidation directed at parties who oppose the Omnibus Law. The first incident was the breaking up of a discussion on the RUU Ciptaker which was organised by students and workers in Srengseng, West Jakarta, on Saturday February 8.
"There was a police officer claiming to be a Kanit Intelkam [Intelligence and Security Unit Head] who asked about the permit for the discussion and asked that the discussion be closed down because (the discussion) opposed government policy", he explained.
According to Referandum, the police officer had arrived earlier in the afternoon at 4 pm. However because they had no basis to close down the discussion, they ended up watching over the event until 10 pm.
The police, he said, also tried to intimidate them through the neighbourhood association head (RT) and the neighbourhood youth association (karang taruna). The RT and the karang taruna were summoned at 8 pm to meet with the police and were asked about the permit for the discussion.
"Then they told the RT and the karang taruna to their faces that they must first request a permit from local police if residents want to hold a discussion", said Referandum.
Referandum questioned the issue of the permit demanded by police saying that holding discussions does not require a permit from police. "Even a protest action only requires a written notification [for the police], not a permit. Let alone a discussion", he explained.
Related to this, Referandum suspects that the state is trying to promote fear among people. He asserts however that this intimidation will not dissuade them from voicing criticism about the government over the many problematic articles in the RUU Ciptaker.
Labour secretariat targeted
Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI) Chairperson Neneng Elitos said that they have also been intimidated with the KASBI being targeted by a youth group on Monday February 17.
"They held an action in front of the KASBI's central office and set fire to tyres", said Elitos when contacted separately by CNN Indonesia.
Elitos suspects that the intimidation was related to KASBI's position of rejecting the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation because the youth group which held the action said that KASBI was obstructing the draft law.
"And KASBI was deemed to be a foreign lackey, yet we have been very clear about why we reject the draft law, and it was proven today that it is turns out not to be in the interests of the ordinary people", she said.
The intimidation and terror, according to Elitos, was not only in the form of the action in front of the KASBI office. She herself as the chairperson has being threatened not to speak too much in the media.
Elitos said that she was not afraid in the face of this intimidation and they would continue to fight against the law. "For us it has not changed our position in building unity against the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation", she explained. (dmi/pmg)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Penolak Omnibus Law Ciptaker Dapat Teror dan Intimidasi".]