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Jakarta Post

House continues deliberation of controversial family resilience bill

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, September 21, 2020   /   07:42 pm
House continues deliberation of controversial family resilience bill House of Representatives lawmakers physically attend the plenary meeting on the endorsement of the 2019 State Budget Implementation bill (P2APBN) at the House complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, while others join the meeting virtually on Sept. 15, 2020. (Antara/Puspa Perwitasari)

The House of Representatives has started to deliberate the controversial family resilience bill as lawmakers behind the bill, which is deemed by critics to interfere in the private lives of residents, submitted the substance to the House’ Legislation Body (Baleg) on Monday.

Lawmaker Netty Prasetiyani of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) highlighted in the meeting with Baleg that the government must protect families, the basis for making public policies, from “vulnerability”.

“If each family is able to build ‘immunity’ and ‘antibodies’ against [life challenges], then family resilience will become a pillar of national resilience,” Netty said, as livestreamed on YouTube on Monday.

Another proponent of the bill, lawmaker Ali Taher of the National Mandate Party (PAN), argued that the bill was important to address the social gap between rural and urban areas, which according to him, would cause various social issues that disrupted family resilience.

“Gaps between rural and urban areas would cause six basic problems, namely unemployment, poverty, family disorganization, crime, free sex and drugs, which affect family resilience,” Ali said.

“So the presence of this law is important to strengthen our national resilience.”

Ali further said the family resilience bill was also necessary to protect families from the negative impact of globalization, which he said could shake the socioeconomic order and cause a shift in Indonesian cultural values.

Read also: Bedroom bill: Silly in the streets, unenforceable in the sheets

The bill was widely debated earlier this year after it was included in the House’s 2020 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list, along with several other problematic bills.

Members of the public and activists have heavily criticized the 98-page draft bill as it included provisions interfering in personal matters and attempts to bring back the traditional and patriarchal way of managing households.

Critics pointed out some questionable provisions in the bill, such as Article 24, which stipulates that married couples must love each other, and Article 25, which states that husbands and wives must perform their individual roles in accordance with religious norms and social ethics.

The bill also sought to prohibit sperm and egg donors and that parents and children, as well as brothers and sisters, should have separate bedrooms. The bill also specified that LGBT people and bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism (BDSM) practitioners must undergo rehabilitation, with their families obliged to report them to the authorities.

Besides Netty and Ali, the other initiators of the family resilience bill were Ledia Hanifa of the PKS, Endang Maria Astuti of the Golkar Party and Sodik Mudjahid of the Gerindra Party.

However, Golkar, Gerindra and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) have denied they are officially supporting the bill, saying any expression of support came from individual members acting on their own and not from the parties.

In July, the House and the government revised the 2020 Prolegnas list, approving to drop 16 of 50 bills and adding three more. However, the family resilience bill and other controversial bills, namely the omnibus bill on job creation, as well as bills on the criminal code, correctional center and Pancasila ideology guidelines (HIP), remained on the list.