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Jakarta Post

Blasphemy Law still needed: PPP lawmaker

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 16, 2017   /   07:59 pm
Blasphemy Law still needed: PPP lawmaker Supporters of non-active Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama place flowers in front of the Agriculture Ministry building, the venue of Ahok's blasphemy trial, on May 9. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Despite growing demand for the House of Representatives to scrap controversial Article 156a on blasphemy in the Criminal Code (KUHP), which many deem draconian, a lawmaker has argued that the country still needed the article.

Lawmaker Asrul Sani from the Islamic-based United Development Party (PPP) said the article could serve as a tool to avoid social conflict.

 “We need the regulation so that people can’t act arbitrarily at will. Many people would sacrifice their life to defend their religion,” Arsul said.

“I don’t agree to scrapping it. Can you imagine what would happen if there was no regulation and then someone insulted a religion? People would use their own ‘legal system’,” he added.

A number of civil society groups have strongly urged the House and the government to repeal the blasphemy regulation following a court ruling that sentenced Jakarta Governor Basuki
“Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama to two years’ imprisonment for insulting the Quran.

Many slammed the verdict passed down by the North Jakarta District Court last week, accusing the court of bowing to pressure from hard-liners who held anti-Ahok rallies in the lead up to the most divisive gubernatorial election Jakarta has seen.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the main party in the coalition that backed Ahok in the election, recently said it would propose the regulation be revised as the House was currently amending the Criminal Code. (foy/rin)