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Jakarta Post

House to yet again delay sexual violence bill, citing scheduling 'difficulty'

  • Ghina Ghaliya and Dyaning Pangestika

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 1, 2020   /   10:03 am
House to yet again delay sexual violence bill, citing scheduling 'difficulty' Flower boards urging the House of Representatives to pass the sexual violence bill are displayed on Oct. 5, 2019 at the front gate of the Senayan legislative complex in Jakarta. (JP/Angie Angela)

The House of Representatives lawmakers are to exclude the much-anticipated sexual violence bill (RUU PKS) from this year’s National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list.

Marwan Dasopang, the deputy chairman of House Commission VIII overseeing social affairs, said that the plan to exclude the bill from the priority list was due to the difficulties in arranging the bill's deliberation.

“We have proposed withdrawing the sexual violence bill [from this year's priority list], since the deliberation is complicated,” the National Awakening Party (PKB) politician said on Tuesday.

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He added that in exchange, the commission would propose including the senior citizens welfare bill on this year's Prolegnas priority list.

Separately, House Legislation Body (Baleg) deputy chairman Willy Aditya of the NasDem Party said that Baleg would add the sexual violence bill to the 2021 Prolegnas.

“We won’t drop the [sexual violence] bill, but include it in next year’s Prolegnas instead, since we won’t have enough time [to deliberate it] by October,” Willy said.

Introduced in 2016, the House has repeatedly failed to pass the sexual violence bill into law, despite the strong calls to do so from the government and the general public.

The House and the government decided last year to include it among the 50 priority bills in the 2019-2024 Prolegnas.

Read also: Depok case shines light on sexual abuse in Indonesian Catholic Church

The bill has received strong opposition from Islamic political parties such as the PKB and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), which have argued that the bill supported the legalization of adultery and nontraditional sexual orientation like lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

Several female lawmakers, including Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo of the Gerindra Party and Diah Pitaloka of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), have consistently lobbied the House to pass the bill.

Lawmakers have also suggested postponing other bills in addition to the sexual violence bill. House Commission IV overseeing agriculture, fisheries and food production, for example, has proposed dropping the forestry and fisheries bills from the 2020 Prolegnas priority list.