Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has removed politician Rieke Diah Pitaloka from her post as House of Representatives Legislation Body (Baleg) deputy chair amid controversy surrounding the Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) bill proposed by the party.
According to PDI-P House faction chairman Utut Adianto, Rieke has been replaced by another PDI-P politician, M. Nurdin, a retired three-star police general. He added that the replacement had been necessary to ensure the smooth deliberation of the omnibus bill on job creation as well as the HIP bill.
"Soon, Baleg will be overwhelmed with major tasks. The deliberation of the job creation bill is approaching a crucial point. There's also the HIP bill. Nurdin, with a police general background, is the right person to handle these issues."
PDI-P House faction secretary Bambang Wuryanto echoed Utut, saying that replacing Rieke with Nurdin would improve the composition of PDI-P personnel in Baleg.
"We also have a retired military officer, Sturman Panjaitan, who leads the PDI-P team in Baleg," he said.
Both Utut and Bambang denied that replacing Rieke had anything to do with the controversy surrounding the HIP bill. As reported, the House's plan to deliberate the bill sparked an outcry from scholars and various groups questioning its urgency during the current COVID-19 pandemic while raising concerns that the bill could lead to new interpretations of Pancasila.
Islamic organizations have also called on the House to drop the bill over fears it would trigger the reemergence of the banned communist ideology in the country.
Utut added that the party had nothing against Rieke, who was now a member of the House Commission VI overseeing trade, industry and state-owned enterprises. "She has fought hard to this point, but we should take another step.".
When asked for details, Bambang emphasized that Rieke was a competent member of the party who had been involved in the establishment of the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) by endorsing the BPJS Law in 2011.
Actor-cum-politician Rieke started her political career in 2009 as a lawmaker from the PDI-P. In addition to serving as Baleg deputy chair, Rieke also led the HIP bill's working committee. The bill was unanimously approved by the House as its initiative and listed as this year's priority bill during a plenary session on May 12.
All factions agreed to discuss the bill, except the Democratic Party. Other factions, such as the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the NasDem Party agreed on the deliberation but noted that the draft bill should refer to a 1966 Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (MPRS) decree that bans communism as a legal foundation.