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Jakarta Post

NasDem calls for fresh start in Criminal Code revision deliberations

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 25, 2020   /   11:37 am
NasDem calls for fresh start in Criminal Code revision deliberations Students protest against the Criminal Code bill in front of the House of Representatives compound in Jakarta on Sept. 23, 2019. (JP/Donny Fernando)

The pro-government NasDem Party has approached other factions to agree on setting new footing for Criminal Code (KUHP) revisions, according to lawmaker Taufik Basari.

Taufik, a member of House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs and the House Legislation Body (Baleg), told The Jakarta Post on Friday that NasDem wanted in-depth discussions over potential draconian articles in the amendment.

However, most factions in the commission seemed to oppose such an idea.

"Therefore, the NasDem faction is lobbying other factions to carry out in-depth discussion on the Criminal Code bill,” he said.

However, the House has yet to schedule a meeting on the bill.

Members of the public have also raised concerns over the deliberation of problematic revisions to the KUHP.

Read also: Jokowi bows to public pressure, calls for delay in passing Criminal Code bill into law

Members of the National Alliance for Criminal Code Reforms have called on Commission III to turn a new page with regard to the revisions, stating that discussion should not merely continue from the previous term.

Lawmakers who ended their terms in October were nearly finished deliberating the bill but public outcry and massive street protests halted the process. The protesters argued that the bills would threaten democracy and curtail civil rights.

Sekar Surowijoyo of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) told the press on Friday that “we still remember what happened in September last year [...]. This bill was postponed because we took to the streets, but we can’t do that in a situation like this.”

She added that the government and the commission’s chairs could refuse to start fresh and pass the bill without approval from other members, saying that the revised bill still included contentious provisions that would penalize activities in the personal domain, such as consensual sex and cohabitation among unmarried people.

Read also: Indonesia's controversial Criminal Code bill could soon be law. Here are the new crimes

Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) executive director Erasmus Napitupulu, another member of the coalition, said the government and the House must reevaluate all articles in the bill.

"A pandemic should not be used as an opportunity to pass a problematic bill,” he said.

House deputy speaker Azis Syamsuddin, who is also a member of Commission III overseeing legal affairs, previously said the commission's chairs had requested that the bills be passed after a week of deliberations.

However, the commission’s chairman, Herman Herry, denied Azis' statement.

“We will invite all relevant stakeholders. Commission III will call all of them to a hearing,” the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician said.