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Jakarta Post

Jokowi's coalition parties divided over title of omnibus bill on job creation

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, May 20, 2020   /   06:03 pm
Jokowi's coalition parties divided over title of omnibus bill on job creation Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (center left), his vice-presidential candidate Maruf Amin (center right) and coalition party leaders hold a press conference after the country's general election in Jakarta on April 17, 2019. Widodo and Maruf won the election. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Political factions at the House of Representatives are divided over the title of the controversial omnibus bill on job creation, with four parties in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ruling coalition demanding a change.

Of the six parties in the government coalition, only the Golkar Party and the National Awakening Party (PKB) opposed any change during a semi-virtual hearing between the House’s Legislation Body (Baleg) and the government on Wednesday.

The others, namely the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Gerindra Party, the NasDem Party and the United Development Party (PPP), had different views on what the piece of legislation should be called.

The PDI-P proposed changing the title of the bill to include aspects other than job creation, so that after its passage it would become the Law on Strengthening Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Cooperatives, National Industry and Job Creation.

"For us, it’s impossible to create jobs if MSMEs, cooperatives and the national industry are not strong," Rieke Diah Pitaloka of the PDI-P said.

Rieke added that the bill’s title should have been changed from the beginning of the deliberation process, as it would affect its substance, saying the draft itself still needed many changes due to the effect of the pandemic COVID-19 that hit the country’s economy.

“Our national economic backbone is now the MSME sector, in which the number of people involved has reached around 60 million," she said, citing government data.

The Gerindra Party, meanwhile, proposed reverting to the initial name of the bill, cipta lapangan kerja (job creation bill) — instead of the current cipta kerja (jobs bill).

Read also: Guide to omnibus bill on job creation: 1,028 pages in 10 minutes

“The title should return to the original from Jokowi’s speech at his presidential inauguration in the People's Consultative Assembly [MPR], so that the substance would meet the President’s main objectives," Heri Gunawan of Gerindra said.

The NasDem Party proposed a change to “ease of doing business bill”, to include the notions of facilitating investment and integrating licensing procedures.

"We see that almost 80 percent of the bill is about easing investment, so the spirit of job creation is no longer there," NasDem's Fauzi Amro said. "The government has also decided to postpone the deliberations of labor provisions of the bill."

Parties in the ruling coalition have expressed differences over the bill several times. 

The Golkar Party, of which the chairman is the current Coordinating Economic Minister, Airlangga Hartarto, is considered the main supporter of the bill while the PKB, the political party of which Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah belonged to, often disagrees with the ruling PDI-P.

The PDI-P, whose constituents are generally working class, has been reluctant to pursue the bill from the outset. It was the only party to urge lawmakers not to rush into its deliberation, citing public objections to the bill.

Members of the public, especially workers, still strongly objected to the bill despite the government's decision to delay the deliberation of labor provisions within the bill, demanding the latter to be completely dropped instead, as they argue that the content of the bill undermines labor rights and environmental protection.

Lawmakers of the PDI-P and NasDem have also voiced opposition to the domestic food supply provisions in the bill, arguing that it could weaken farmers’ position and favor importers.