Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has sought to defend the passing of the highly controversial Job Creation Law, arguing the law is necessary to make Indonesia more economically competitive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The global COVID-19 pandemic does not hinder the government from making structural reforms. While some developed countries are facing downturns, Indonesia on the other hand is advancing forward," Jokowi said in a speech at a virtual event commemorating the Golkar Party's 56th anniversary on Saturday, as quoted by kompas.com. "That is the spirit behind the government's policies, including the Job Creation Law."
He said the newly-passed law would help small businesses grow faster by simplifying the business permit and halal certification process for micro, small and medium enterprises.
"2021 will be a year of opportunity, the year for national and global economic recovery," he said. "This pandemic has indeed put us at a disadvantage; however, it opens up opportunities as well, as long as we act faster and more efficiently than other countries."
In his speech, he also thanked Golkar for its support of the omnibus law in the House of Representatives.
Experts and activists have said the law was rushed through the House in an unconstitutional process and that the law itself could undermine labor rights and environmental protections.
Several groups and labor unions are still planning to stage more protests demanding the revocation of the law in the coming days. (trn)