The Constitutional Court has accepted a request from the Regional Representative Council (DPD), which demanded the body to be given the same lawmaking authority as the House of Representatives.
Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD said in the court’s ruling that the DPD now had equal positioning with the House and the President, which also grants the council lawmaking authority.
“Now the DPD has the right to propose bills to be included in the national legislation program [prolegnas], an authority that until now only resided with the House and the President,” Mahfud said, reading out the verdict.
Constitutional Court judge Akil Mochtar, however, said that lawmaking authority for the DPD would only concern relations between central and local governments.
Akil said that some of the issues the DPD could handle included regional autonomy, fiscal relations between the central and local government and the creation and expansion of new administrations and management of natural resources.
Currently, the lawmaking process is jointly carried out by the House of Representatives and the government. The DPD is given the authority to provide input but not play a role in any of the bill’s deliberations.
The DPD struggled to attain stronger lawmaking authority by seeking a judicial review on a 2009 law on the structure and composition of legislative bodies known as the MD3 Law.
The DPD argued that the amended 1945 Constitution had adopted the bicameral parliamentary system but that the DPD had not been given an equal legislative right to help promote aspirations from the regions,
DPD leaders said that the legislation and policies relating to regional issues would be of better quality should DPD members be given a bigger role in the lawmaking process.
DPD leaders have suspected that extensive transactional politics and short-term interests among lawmakers had made the House reluctant to give lawmaking powers to the DPD.
DPD speaker Irman Gusman said he welcomed the ruling, saying that it had given the DPD a new lease on life.
“This is a historic day for our system of government. Our main functions and roles have now been reinstated,” Irman said.
DPD member Wayan Sudirta said that the next step following the legal victory would be disseminating the ruling to the public.
“We will embark on a tour with our lawyers to disseminate this information. We hope that the public, which has supported our efforts, could now get its benefits,” Nyoman said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Ruling on the DPD lawmaking authority is only the latest in the long line of controversial decisions made during the tenure of Mahfud, who is expected to step down from his position on April 1.