The Jakarta Post
House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani claimed on Tuesday that lawmakers maintained transparency when deliberating bills, amid criticism questioning the legislative branch’s transparency in the deliberation of some bills.
"Being transparent, accepting criticism and input are our commitments so that we are able to have quality legislation products," Puan said in her speech during a plenary session at the legislative complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta.
The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician said the House had tried to maintain that commitment despite the COVID-19 pandemic, adding it had 248 bills in the 2020-2024 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) and 37 on the priority list.
"Six bills have been passed into law, 10 bills are in the deliberation process and 19 bills are being drafted," she said without specifying the titles.
The House, however, has repeatedly found itself in hot water, with critics lambasting it for lack of transparency in deliberating some bills.
Civil society groups have called on the House to repeal problematic articles in the revision to the 2011 Constitutional Court Law, arguing that they contained conflicts of interest that could compromise the court’s independence and impartiality.
They criticized the swift deliberation of the bill, which was conducted behind closed doors between the House and the government during the ongoing pandemic.
They also raised suspicions that the bill was being used as a "political swapping" tool, as many new controversial laws were being challenged at the court, such as the State Spending and Financial Relief Law, the Mining Law and the omnibus bill on job creation.
The Indonesian Parliament Watch (Formappi) described the House’s performance during the sitting period as the same as during the New Order Era, as it had rushed some bills’ deliberations and dismissed public participation.
Formappi researcher Lucius Karus said the House did not carry out the checks and balances function properly, adding that the legislative body seemed to only act merely as a "rubber stamp" and a "tool of legitimacy" for the government.
"The House now looks almost the same as it did in the New Order Era, acting merely as a tool of legitimacy for the government,” he said.
“Many bills were made through speedy deliberations.”