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Survey finds most people think Jobs Law decree not urgent, only benefits business

Kompas.com - January 16, 2023

Fika Nurul Ulya, Jakarta – Late last year, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo issued Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) Number 2/2022 to replace Law Number 11/2020 on the Job Creation Law, after the law was declared conditionally unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in November 2021.

A Kompas Research and Development (Litbang) survey however found that the majority of the public or 61.3 percent of respondents do not believe that the issuance of the Jobs Law Perppu was urgent. Only around 34.7 percent stated that it was urgent and 4 percent did not know.

"The majority of respondents (61.3 percent) believe the birth of the Jobs Law Perppu was not something that was pressing", said Litbang Kompas researcher Rangga Eka Sakti as quoted by the Kompas Daily on Monday January 16.

This assessment is not without reason. Currently, Indonesia is not experiencing an economic state of emergency requiring that a Perppu be issued.

Sakti said that the public's assessment tends not be in line with the government. The government felt that it was necessary to issue the Perppu to anticipate global economic problems, whether it be recession, a rise in inflation or the threat of stagflation.

"Several developing countries that have already begun to ask for additional assistance from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) were cited as the reason for the birth of the Perppu", said Sakti.

On the other hand, said Sakti, this is not in accord with statements made by senior government officials, including Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati as well as Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo.

"On several occasions, the government has in fact shown how resilient and strong Indonesia's economy is, particularly if compared with the global context that is on a suicidal course facing the threat of recession and high inflation", said Sakti.

In its 2022 assessment for example, Bank Indonesia saw the economic situation in Indonesia as still being quite good, predicting an economic growth in 2023 of around 4.5-5.3 percent and even 5.5 percent in 2024.

Inflation and the Consumer Price Index (IHK) were also predicted to be in line with targets at around 3 percent, plus or minus 1 percent.

"The public's position in this survey and the assessment by related institutions on the future economic conditions do not in fact support the government's considerations and concerns that were used as grounds for the issuance of the Jobs Law Perppu", explained Sakti.

Only benefits business

The survey also showed that the majority of respondents or around 25.3 percent believe that the Jobs Law only benefits business people or employers.

"As many as 25.3 percent of respondents believe (that the Jobs Law) mostly benefits business people or employers, the remainder say it benefits investors or owners of capital", said Sakti.

Not only that, 18.1 percent of the public believes that the law only benefits the government and 16.6 percent say it benefits investors or owners of capital. Only 12.4 percent say it benefits workers and 2.5 percent say it benefits farmers and fisherpeople.

"Not many respondents feel that the Jobs Law Perppu benefits workers. Only around 16.6 percent of respondents feel that the Perppu provides protection and welfare to workers", said Sakti.

It is the assessment that the Jobs Law only benefits business people, the government and owners of capital, which is the main reason for opposition to the law.

Based on the same survey, 48.2 percent of respondents oppose the Jobs Law on the grounds that it fails to side with employees and workers.

Then, 18.9 percent reject the law because it makes it easier for employers or companies to sack workers, 16.6 percent think that the law will be used to put pressure on employees, 10.8 percent reject it because they have already experienced the impact of the law and 5.5 percent because there are no limits on employing contract workers.

This concern, said Sakti, is not without grounds. The issuance of the Jobs Law Perppu does not settle problems related to workers.

"Several issues such as legal uncertainty related to contract labour systems and outsourcing practices are still not touched on by the Perppu", said Sakti.

Not representative

The survey also found that the majority of public or around 60.5 percent consider that the Jobs Law does not represent the aspiration of society. Meanwhile 30.5 percent said that it represented society's aspirations and 8.9 percent did not know.

"As many as 60.5 percent of respondents stated that the Jobs Law does not represent the aspirations of society. Moreover, not even one-third of respondents claimed that they feel represented by the articles contained in the regulation", said Sakti.

Sakti related how the minimal role of the public can still be seen in the birth of the Perppu. And the Perppu that replaces the Jobs Law was declared conditionally unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court precisely because of the lack of public participation.

Minimum transparency, said Sakti, was also one of the things noted by the Constitutional Court in its ruling Number 91/PUU-XVIII/2020 on the Jobs Law. At the time, the court ruled that material on changes to the law must be able to be easily accessed by the public.

"Moreover, long before the Jobs Law was ratified, the public's reaction tended to be one of opposition through demonstrations, particularly among labour and employee groups", he said.

Bad impacts

Finally, the Litbang Kompas survey found that 70 percent of respondents were worried that they would be badly impacted upon by the Jobs Law.

Broken down, as many as 54.4 percent admitted to being worried and 15.5 percent said they were very worried. Meanwhile as many as 25.6 percent said they were not worried and 1.9 percent said they were not worried at all.

"The survey picked up that almost 70 percent of respondents admitted to being worried about the impacts of this regulation. Moreover, some of these admitted to being very worried", said Sakti.

Nevertheless, said Sakti, the public is not in fact totally apathetic about the Jobs Law or the Perppu. This can be seen from the attitude of more than half of the respondents who still held out hope that the law could improve public welfare.

"The public's confidence should be used as a social model for the government to implement the Perppu as well as possible. This social model needs to be balanced by proving that the Jobs Law Perppu will actually bring benefits to Indonesian society", said Sakti.

The survey was carried out by gathering opinions by phone on January 10-12 from as many as 512 respondents from 34 provinces that were successfully interviewed.

The sample of respondents was determined randomly by the Litbang Kompas panel in accordance with the total population in each province. The survey had a 95 percent level of confidence and a 4.33 percent margin of error.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski based on four articles published by Kompas.com on January 16. The original title of the lead article was "Litbang "Kompas": Mayoritas Publik Menilai Perppu Cipta Kerja Tak Mendesak".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/01/16/08582791/litbang-kompas-mayoritas-publik-menilai-perppu-cipta-kerja-tak-mendesa