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Komnas HAM calls for stop to job creation omnibus bill deliberations

Jakarta Post - August 14, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and the House of Representatives to stop the deliberation of the omnibus bill on job creation, saying the bill has the potential to violate human rights.

"We recommend that the President and the House stop the deliberation of the bill to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of all Indonesians," Komnas HAM chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.

Ahmad said that after studying the bill and conducting a series of discussions with civil society groups and lawmakers, the commission had found several areas of concern, including the potential rolling back of workers' protections and expansion of central government powers.

He added that the bill could also threaten environmental protections and expressed his concern that the bill's criminal provisions would unfairly benefit the rich.

"Prison sentences only apply if administrative penalties are not paid," he said.

The omnibus bill, which is one of Jokowi's main priorities for his second term, is being deliberated by the House's Legislation Body (Baleg).

In a meeting at the House on Tuesday, the House and labor unions agreed to form a team with members of the working committee of the bill, with the aim of finding common ground for several changes to the 2003 Labor Law included in the bill. The team was initiated by the House deputy speaker and Gerindra Party member Sufmi Dasco Ahmad.

"We try to hear all perspectives. The bill should be for all of us, not only for specific groups" Dasco said.

The labor issues have not yet been discussed at Baleg.

So far in the deliberations, the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has been at loggerheads with its political partner in the government coalition, the Golkar Party, following concerns that the bill will further expand the powers of the presidency.

The PDI-P, the constituents of which are mostly from the working class, has been reluctant to pursue the bill, which has met strong opposition from labor unions that are set to hold a massive rally in front of the House compound in Senayan, Central Jakarta at the beginning of the next House session on Friday.

Golkar, on the other hand, 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's chairman.

"The job creation bill will be a breakthrough amid the global economic crisis due to COVID-19," Golkar lawmaker Azis Syamsuddin said. "The state needs to accelerate the economy by creating jobs and investment for the welfare of the Indonesian people."

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/08/14/komnas-ham-calls-for-stop-to-job-creation-omnibus-bill-deliberations.html