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Student meme depicts parliament as 'house of rats' after Jobs Law decree ratified

Kompas.com - March 23, 2023

Jakarta – The University of Indonesia Student Executive Council (BEM UI) has uploaded an animation meme depicting House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani with the body of a rat emerging from the DPR building as a form of criticism over the House's move to ratify the government's regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) on the Jobs Law.

BEM UI Chairperson Melki Sedek Huang explained that the meme is a form of criticism that is commonly raised in a democratic country.

He also explained that images such as this, including the figure of a rat that is associated with corruptors, was created not just to seek sensation, but rather because it does indeed have a meaning.

"We felt that there was no other thing that we wanted to show aside from Puan Maharani as the representative of our DPR today", Huang told Kompas.com on Thursday March 23.

"We consider the DPR building to no longer be the house of the people, but rather it has become a house of rats that likes to usurp society's rights", he added.

The BEM UI explained that they have not changed their position on the Jobs Law since it was first drafted in the format of an omnibus law, then enacted into law, declared conditionally unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, magically transformed into a Perppu, and finally rubberstamped into law by the DPR.

They continue to hold with the view that the law contains all sorts of policies and rules that are undemocratic, have the potential to oppress workers, will have a bad impact on the environment and conversely, will only benefit elite political groups.

Huang also highlighted those in power who fabricated all kinds of justifications for issuing the Perppu, which should only have been issued in a compelling economic crisis.

There was no compelling crisis, said Huang, so there were no grounds for the DPR to push through and ratify this unconstitutional law issued by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. Moreover, in dealing with a Perppu initiated by the government, the DPR has the option of rejecting it.

"So that is what we wanted to show more forcefully. We want the public to understand that there's no longer any need to place their hopes and great trust in the DPR", said Huang.

"Because it is a positive fact, the legal products they produce have no significant positive impact on society", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Protes Perppu Ciptaker, BEM UI Buat Meme "DPR Rumahnya Tikus"".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/03/23/14441061/protes-perppu-ciptaker-bem-ui-buat-meme-dpr-rumahnya-tiku