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Jakarta Post

House to set legislation priorities

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, January 13, 2015   /  10:04 am
House to set legislation priorities

Deserted: The House of Representatives kicks off a new sitting session on Monday with very few lawmakers present. JP/AWO

After a one-month recess, the House of Representatives resumed its sitting session on Monday, setting deliberation targets to be accomplished in 28 days.

Among the targets are completing the leadership structure of its internal bodies, which was previously delayed because rivalry between political party factions in the House, as well as passing two government regulations in lieu of law (Perppu) to reinstate regional direct elections (Pilkada).

House Speaker Setya Novanto said that lawmakers also aimed to set the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas), which would contain a list of bills to be discussed during the lawmakers'€™ five-year terms until 2019, among the '€œmost important'€ targets during the House'€™s second sitting session, which ends on Feb. 18.

Unlike Houses of previous years, the current one failed to produce a Prolegnas, which is considered the foundation of the House'€™s legislative work, during the first session that ended on Dec. 4 last year because of a standoff between the two rival coalitions '€” the ruling Great Indonesia Coalition and opposition Red-and-White Coalition '€” in the legislative body.

'€œHouse commissions can immediately start performing their legislative duties in this session,'€ Setya said in a speech during a plenary meeting to mark the start of the new sitting session on Monday.

The structure of all internal House bodies is expected to be ready by next week as factions within President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo'€™s Great Indonesia Coalition officially proposed their candidates following an agreement allowing the inclusion of lawmakers from the ruling coalition in leadership positions.

The legislative institution, however, will likely see a rift between members of the ruling coalition during the process as they angle for positions deemed more strategic among the 21 available leadership positions in the internal House bodies.

An earlier peace agreement signed by negotiators representing the Great Indonesia Coalition and the Red-and-White Coalition agreed to add 21 leadership posts at the House'€™s 16 internal bodies to be shared among the five party factions within the former.

The leader of the National Awakening Party (PKB) faction, Helmy Faishal Zaini, told reporters that although a discussion among members of the Great Indonesia Coalition over the distribution of leadership seats was still ongoing, his party faction had officially submitted names for five posts to the House Secretariat.

Helmy, however, declined to provide details of the posts, saying that '€œit would be unethical to reveal them as discussions are continuing'€.

Several lawmakers from within the coalition cited House Commission I overseeing defense, informatics and foreign affairs; Commission II overseeing regional administrations; Commission III overseeing legal affairs and human rights; and Commission XI overseeing finance, banking and national development planning among the bones of contention.

The ruling coalition must also settle the apparently ongoing rift within the Islamic-based United Development Party (PPP) as the two different factions within the party submitted their own versions of candidate leader lineups.

In addition to the Prolegnas, the House also included the deliberation of two Perppu on regional elections in the priority agenda as well as amendments to the Criminal Code (KUHP) and the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP), discussions on which have been on-and-off for years.

Besides such legislative work, the House is also slated to hold confirmation hearings for the only candidate for National Police chief, Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, and candidates for ambassadors at a number of countries.