Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is at loggerheads with its political partner in the government coalition, the Golkar Party, following concerns that the omnibus bill on job creation will further expand the powers of the presidency.
In a hearing on the bill at the House of Representatives' Legislative Body (Baleg) on Tuesday, PDI-P lawmakers questioned why several articles in the bill transferred authority from "ministries and local administrations" to "the government."
PDI-P lawmaker Arteria Dahlan, for instance took issue with the shift of regional administrations' authority regarding spatial planning to the central government, citing Law No. 23/2014 on regional administration, which stipulates that the central administration has authority only in matters of foreign policy, defense and security, justice, fiscal and monetary policy and religion.
"Spatial planning is not the central administration's authority. It's illogical," he said. Arteria went on to question who wrote the bill. "Did they read the 2014 law?" he asked. "Perhaps businesspeople are the ones behind this."
Fellow PDI-P politician Sturman Panjaitan echoed Arteria's concerns, saying the faction would need more time to study the pending 3,172 articles on the bill's inventory problem list (DIM).
"We need more time to study all of these. We could not immediately agree after the government explained it to us. We have to be careful," he said.
Golkar lawmaker Firman Subagyo criticized the PDI-P for making "assumptions" by saying that the bill was drafted by the business community.
"It's not right to throw an accusation like that in a forum like this," he said. "We should be open to anyone, there is nothing wrong if the private sector provides any input to the bill. What is wrong with that?"
He emphasized that the Golkar Party, as part of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's coalition, would fully support the government proposals in the draft bill, one of the President's priorities for his second term.
The PDI-P, whose constituents are mostly from the working class, has been reluctant to pursue the bill, which has met strong opposition from labor unions, who are concerned that the bill will reduce employee protections. It was the only party to urge lawmakers not to rush into deliberation, citing public objections to the bill.
However, Golkar has been a major supporter of the bill, which is one of the flagship programs of Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, who is also the party chairman.
Both parties are among the largest in the House, with the PDI-P holding 128 seats and Golkar holding 85 seats.