The Jakarta Post
The government submitted its newly proposed bill on the Agency for Pancasila Ideology Education (BPIP) to the House of Representatives on Thursday as both parties sought to end the controversies surrounding the much-criticized Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) bill.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD visited the house complex in Central Jakarta on Thursday and met with House of Representatives speaker Puan Maharani, during which they agreed to delay the deliberation of the HIP bill and move forward with the BPIP bill instead.
Mahfud asserted that the BPIP bill was different from the controversial HIP bill, saying that the latter included the Temporary People’s Consultative Assembly Decree (TAP MPRS) No. 25/1966 on the banning of communism in Indonesia as one of its underlying foundations.
"We also emphasize the Pancasila ideology that we officially use here in Chapter 1, Article 1 and Point 1 of the bill," Mahfud said, before mentioning the five principles of Pancasila.
Mahfud visited the House together with some of the top brass of the government, namely State Secretary Pratikno, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, Home Minister Tito Karnavian, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly and Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Tjahjo Kumolo.
"We agree to be as transparent as possible so people can discuss and criticize the [BPIP] bill," Mahfud said.
The BPIP bill arose amid controversies surrounding the deliberation of the HIP bill, which has received backlash from members of the public who questioned the timing of its deliberations as well as some of contentious articles in it.
On Thursday, several Islamic groups, including the 212 Rally Alumni – a group formed from people who participated in the 2016 rally against then-Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama who faced prosecution for blasphemy – even hit the street outside the House compound to express their opposition to the HIP bill.
Supported by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the HIP bill was initially intended to regulate the values of the Pancasila ideology and the functions of the BPIP, the steering committee head of which is the party's chairwoman and former president Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Activists, scholars and various groups have voiced opposition to the bill, with some prominent Islamic organizations in particular questioning the draft bill's failure to include the 1966 TAP MPRS, which they feared could open the door for the reemergence of communist ideology in the country.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) went as far as to deem the contents of the draft bill "secular and atheistic", arguing that it degraded ideology of Pancasila itself.
The government subsequently decided to halt deliberations of the HIP bill.
Puan, who welcomed the ministers with the House deputy speakers on Thursday, said she expected the agreement between the House and the government on the BPIP bill to end all debate among the public about the HIP bill.
"I hope that after this, all the controversies surrounding the HIP bill over the past few weeks will be over and we can work together in harmony to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts," the PDI-P politician added.