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House to go on with domestic worker protection bill

Jakarta Post - March 15, 2023

Yerica Lai, Jakarta – The leadership of the House of Representatives has vowed to kickstart its deliberation on the long-awaited domestic worker protection bill in the current sitting session as lawmakers returned from recess on Tuesday.

Deputy House Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said that schedule arrangements for the domestic worker protection bill deliberations would be discussed on Tuesday afternoon by House leadership after the plenary session.

"This afternoon, the House leadership will have a House Steering Committee [Bamus] meeting to schedule both the domestic worker protection bill and the government regulation in lieu of law [Perppu] on job creation to proceed further in accordance with the House's mechanism," Dasco told reporters.

Dasco refuted accusations of House leadership agreeing to postpone the bill deliberation, claiming that the House leadership had "agreed to discuss the bill in the current sitting session" and saying "there might be some misunderstanding".

House Speaker Puan Maharani has previously come under fire for citing a conclusion of the House leadership's meeting two years ago that agreed not to press ahead with deliberating the domestic worker protection bill as a reason not to kick-start efforts to introduce the long-awaited legislation under her leadership.

In mid-January, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo appealed to the House to speed up deliberations on the bill as he pledged to provide better protections for the country's 4 million domestic workers.

The President has assigned the Law and Human Rights Ministry and the Manpower Ministry to coordinate efforts to ensure the bill's timely passage.

Civil groups were quick to welcome Jokowi's move, hoping it would break the 19 years legislative stalemate.

NasDem Party lawmaker Irma Suryani Chaniago slammed the House leadership for not upholding its duty as representatives of the people and went even further in accusing it of discriminating against domestic workers.

"Are [domestic workers] not considered as citizens whose rights and obligations must be protected? The House leadership can be declared to commit human rights and citizens' constitutional rights violations," Irma said.

"Is it because this bill is considered not politically favorable, not commercial, compared with the revision of the Health Law, the Job Creation Law, that was being discussed so rapidly that it did not involve the relevant commission?" Irma said.

The domestic worker protection bill was first proposed in 2004 to address issues of "discrimination, abuse and humiliation".

It has been added to and then removed from the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list at least three times over the past 19 years.

The House Legislation Body (Baleg) previously agreed to endorse the bill in a plenary session on July 1, 2020, and sent at least three letters requesting the House leadership to bring the bill to the plenary session. The House leadership however declined then to approve the endorsement, citing "administrative reasons".

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2023/03/15/house-to-go-on-with-domestic-worker-protection-bill.htm