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House accused of rushing through revisions to village law for electoral gain

Kompas.com - July 4, 2023

Nicholas Ryan Aditya, Jakarta – Forum of Concerned Citizens for Indonesia's Parliament (Formappi) researcher Lucius Karus suspects the rush to deliberate revisions to the Village Law are for the sake of the electoral interests of the political parties (parpol) and House of Representatives (DPR) members in the 2024 elections.

This is because, according to Karus, there is no urgency for House members to accelerate these revisions.

"One of the pressing issues for the DPR at the moment is the 2024 elections. It is hoped that revisions to the Village Law can respond to the DPR's desire to garner sympathy and support from village voters that will later be coordinated by village heads", Karus told Kompas.com on July 4.

Karus is of the view that village heads or kades will clearly benefit if their term in offices are increased from six to nine years. It is hoped that this will bear sweet fruit for House members as well as the political parties in garnering votes in the 2024 elections.

"So the revisions to the Village Law and the rush to deliberate the draft law cannot be separated from the tight timeline ahead of the elections", Karus believes.

"By obtaining support from kades, DPR members and the parliamentary parpol are optimistic of getting political support from kades and village officials at the same time", he said.

On the other hand, Karus is questioning why it is as if the Draft Village Law is being rushed, yet there are still 39 other priority draft laws for 2023 that must also be deliberated.

Including, he said, the Draft Law on the Seizure of Assets from Crimes, where President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has already sent a presidential letter to the DPR supporting the bill, but to this day it has never been read.

Yet this draft law is also including in the 39 priority draft laws for 2023.

"If the Village Law is to be rushed there must be an urgency that is very critical. A crisis that would make the DPR suddenly deliberate it. A crucial reason for it to be considered more urgent than the other priority draft laws including the Draft Law on the Seizure of Assets", said Karus.

Earlier, a DPR Legislative Body (Baleg) plenary meeting agreed that the Draft Law on the Second Revision to Law Number 6/2014 on Villages (RUU Desa) would be proposed as a DPR initiative.

This was announced by Baleg Deputy Chairperson Achmad Baidowi or Awiek who led the meeting at the DPR building in Senayan, Jakarta, on Monday July 3.

"Thank you to all of the [political party] factions that have conveyed their views and opinions. Can we agree on the revisions to the village law?", Baidowi asked the meeting participants.

"Agreed", responded all of the factions at the Baleg, which was accompanied by the banging of Baidowi's gavel as a sign of agreement.

Baidowi said that following this, the next agenda item would be handing over the Draft Village Law to a DPR plenary meeting. This needs to be done in order to request agreement from a plenary that the draft law is be a DPR initiative.

"We need to convey that, especially to our friend kades (village heads) and also the Indonesian public who have been monitoring this session, that what we have endorsed at this opportunity is that the draft law be proposed as a DPR initiative and that it will be taken to a plenary meeting", said Baidowi.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Formappi Duga DPR Kebut Revisi UU Desa untuk Kepentingan Pemilu 2024".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/07/04/18012101/formappi-duga-dpr-kebut-revisi-uu-desa-untuk-kepentingan-pemilu-202