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Imparsial opposes discourse on TNI, police occupying civil service positions

Kompas.com - March 13, 2024

Aryo Putranto Saptohutomo, Jakarta – The government's discourse on involving active members of the TNI-Polri (Indonesian military and police) in filling state civil service (ASN) positions is seen as violating the function and competencies of the two institutions.

According to Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) senior investigator Al Araf, the TNI is a tool of state defense whose duty is to confront the threat of war.

Meanwhile the duty of the Indonesian police is to maintain security and public order (kamtibmas) and uphold the law.

"These two institutions should not and must not be involved in political activities and occupy civilian positions because it is not their function or competence", said Araf said when contacted on Wednesday March 13.

"Thus it is something that infringes on their identity", added Araf.

According to Araf, one of the mandates of reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998 – was to revoke the role of the TNI and police in political affairs, and restore their function as a military force and professional law enforcement officers.

With the plan to draft a government regulation on the matter, according to Araf, this is evidence that the government it going in the opposite direction to the spirit of reformasi.

"This should place the function of the TNI and Polri in the field of security and defense, and not occupying civilian positions", said Araf.

Araf is worried that if the government regulation is enacted, there will be a tendency for the government to become authoritarian towards civil society, namely confronting criticism by involving military force and law enforcement.

Earlier it was reported that a plan to draft a government regulation (PP) on the management of state civil servants was submitted by the Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (Menpan RB), Abdullah Azwar Anas.

"This regulation also discusses ASN positions that can be filled by TNI soldiers and Polri personnel, and vice versa", said Anas as reported in a press release on the Menpan RB official website on Tuesday March 12.

Nevertheless, Anas emphasised that the regulation would later be reciprocal in character and that it would also consider a strict selection process.

"Of course this regulation will be reciprocal and will have a strict selection [process], and adjusted to the needs of the agency concerned with a talent management mechanism", said Anas.

"We will get the best talent from the TNI and Polri and they also get the best ASN", he continued.

Anas added that the draft government regulation on state civil service management will contain 22 chapters consisting of 305 articles. The draft regulation is targeted approval on April 30, 2024.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Wacana TNI-Polri Duduki Jabatan ASN Dianggap Menyalahi Fungsi dan Kompetensi".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2024/03/13/17062651/wacana-tni-polri-duduki-jabatan-asn-dianggap-menyalahi-fungsi-dan-kompetens