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Revised civil service law slammed for allowing active TNI, police to hold posts

Kompas.com - October 6, 2023

Novianti Setuningsih, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has strongly condemned the revisions to the Civil Service Law (UU ASN), which allows active TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (national police) members to hold civil service posts.

Kontras sees this as a defiance of the law and the spirit of reform that requires the elimination of the armed forces' dual socio-political role (dwi-fungsi) and the strengthening of civilian supremacy.

"In its substantial aspect, permitting TNI-Polri [officers] to occupy position in the civil service is the government's way of restoring the ghost of the TNI and Polri's dwi-fungsi as occurred during the New Order era [of former president Suharto]", said Kontras Coordinator Dimas Bagus Arya on Friday October 6.

Kontras also said that this will make the TNI and Polri unprofessional. Moreover, no significant emergency exits to warrant placing soldiers and police in the civil service.

"As an example, with the TNI's involvement in the civil domain, it must be in the framework of military operations other than War (OMSP). Under OMSP, no one regulates the involvement of TNI soldiers as ASN", said Arya.

"The placement of TNI-Polri [officers] will only worsen the situation in the midst of problems in the two institutions that are still mounting up, especially related to the culture of violence. We are also concerned that the security approach and the involvement of troops will become more massive if done in concert with the involvement of the TNI to become civil servants in certain positions", he said.

Kontras also highlighted the potential of legal vagueness because of overlapping regulations related to allowing the military to become civil servants.

Yet, if referring to the two laws, it clearly states in the TNI Law, specifically Article 47 paragraph (1), states that "Soldiers can only occupy civil positions after resigning or retiring from the active military service".

In addition to this, in the context of the national police, referring to Article 28 paragraph (3) of the National Police Law, it states that "members of the Indonesian national police can occupy positions outside the police after resigning or retiring from the police service".

In the elucidation of this article it also emphasises that the meaning of positions outside the police are positions that are not related to the police or not based on assignment by the national police chief (Kapolri).

"This norm very clearly prohibits Polri members whose status is still active to take on duties outside of police affairs. An officer must resign first, only then can they accept a job holding a post leading a certain area", Arya said.

Earlier it was reported that the House of Representatives (DPR) had enacted a law on revisions to Law Number 5/2014 on the State Civil Service.

There were eight political party factions that approved the revisions, namely the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Golkar Party, the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), the National Democrats (Nasdem), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Democrat Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP).

As a result of these revisions, active TNI and Polri members can continue holding certain non-managerial civil service positions, as stipulated under article 19 of the revised law.

"The filling of ASN positions by Indonesian National Army soldiers as referred to in Paragraph (2) letter is carried out in the central agency covering the ministry or institution...," reads Article 19 Paragraph (3) of the revised ASN Law as quoted by Kompas.com on Wednesday October 4.

The filling of civil service positions by TNI and Polri members shall be carried out based on a request for assignment from the central agency.

However, further provisions regarding this will be stipulated in government regulations, although this will still be done in a limited and selective manner.

On the other hand, allowing TNI soldiers and Polri personnel to occupy certain civil service positions was actually already regulated under the ASN Law before it was revised. This was stipulated under Article 20 which states that certain civil service positions can be filled by active TNI soldiers and Polri members.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kontras Kecam Revisi UU ASN karena TNI-Polri Tetap Bisa Jadi ASN".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/10/06/15585321/kontras-kecam-revisi-uu-asn-karena-tni-polri-tetap-bisa-jadi-as