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Indonesia delays house vote on president's emergency decree

Reuters - February 16, 2023

Ananda Teresia and Stefanno Sulaiman, Jakarta – Indonesia's parliament has pushed back a final vote on a presidential emergency decree on jobs and investment rules until its next sitting, senior lawmakers said on Thursday, a move some legal experts said could violate the constitution.

President Joko Widodo issued the decree, officially known as a government regulation in lieu of law, or its Indonesian abbreviation, "perpu", in December to replace a controversial 2020 Jobs Creation Law.

Indonesia's constitution mandates that such decrees must be approved by a plenary session of parliament during the first sitting after its issuance. The plenary vote is often a rubber stamp of the body's endorsement.

Some legal experts have criticised the decree as a government ploy to bypass a Constitutional Court order for lawmakers to reopen debate for the jobs law. The government has argued the decree was issued for the purposes of expediency and the country's economic interests.

The court in 2021 ruled the passage of the jobs law was flawed due to inadequate public consultation. The law was lauded by foreign investors for streamlining business rules in Southeast Asia's largest economy, but was also criticised by labour and green groups as being too pro-business.

Feri Amsari, a constitutional law expert from Andalas University, said the perpu should be considered annulled having missed the window for parliamentary approval.

"The idea of an emergency regulation is it's of crucial and precarious nature, thus it must be passed immediately," Feri said, adding it had now lost its immediacy.Government officials and lawmakers, however, downplayed the delay.

Susiwijono Moegiarso, secretary of the coordinating ministry of economy, told Reuters the government would work on the basis the decree is effective until lawmakers vote.

Deputy chair of parliament's legislative body, Abdul Wahid, said the decree remained in effect and the voting delay was a matter of scheduling.

Said Iqbal, chairman of the Labour Party, said a protest would be held later this month challenging the legality of turning the decree into law and said his party would also file a judicial review to the Constitutional Court if it is passed.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/indonesia-delays-house-vote-presidents-emergency-decree-2023-02-16