The Jakarta Post
The NasDem Party, which is part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government coalition, has called on the House of Representatives to begin deliberating the omnibus bills on job creation and taxation.
Speaking at the House’s plenary meeting on Monday, Lawmaker Saan Mustopa of the NasDem Party claimed the bills were needed to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19.
“We need to prepare for [economic] recovery […] We should start deliberating the omnibus bills on job creation and taxation to prepare for the post-outbreak situation. We need to recover quickly," he said at the House building in Senayan, Central Jakarta.
The House, led by speaker Puan Maharani, who is from Jokowi’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), is still reluctant to process the bill. Of the six political parties in the government coalition, the PDI-P has been the only one to urge lawmakers not to rush, citing public objections to the bill
Puan, daughter of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, previously suggested that deliberations might begin in the current period, which started on Monday.
Responding to Saan’s statement, she said the House would focus on emergency measures for COVID-19 at this time.
“We will deliberate the omnibus bill later, according to standard procedure.”
Experts see Puan’s reluctance as being driven by her desire to maintain her and the party’s image in the years leading up to the 2024 presidential election
Coalitions of civil society organizations, major labor unions and student organizations had prepared street rallies for mid-March to protest against articles in the omnibus bill on job creation that if passed would reportedly harm labor rights, the environment and democracy.
There have also been objections to the bill’s less-than-transparent drafting process.
The NasDem Party and Golkar, another party in Jokowi’s coalition, have been major supporters of the bill. Both actively sought support from other political factions at the House to deliberate the bill quickly to meet Jokowi’s 100-day deliberation target, including opposition parties, namely the Democratic Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).
Several organizations have called on the House not to deliberate the bill amid the pandemic, citing limited public participation in the current situation.