The newly passed Job Creation Law still contains several controversial education provisions that were previously said to have been dropped from the bill following public criticism.
The government and the House of Representatives had agreed to remove issues related to the education sector from the bill. However, the final draft of the law, a copy of which has been obtained by The Jakarta Post, includes at least two articles regarding education.
Article 26 in page 100 of the draft, under Chapter III on improvement of the investment ecosystem, mentions education and culture among 15 sectors in the business-licensing category.
Furthermore, Article 56 in page 392 stipulates that the implementation of licensing in the education sector "can be carried out through business licensing", the details of which will be regulated in a separate government regulation (PP).
Chairman of House Commission X overseeing education, Syaiful Huda, expressed disappointment over the provisions in the final draft, saying the bill's working committee had stated that all education provisions would be dropped.
"I am disappointed [...] I urge educational stakeholders who oppose the article to challenge the law in the Constitutional Court," he told the press on Tuesday.
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Syaiful said he was worried that the articles could lead to commercialization of the education sector.
“I see an effort to commercialize the education sector. We didn’t agree with it from the beginning because this is not in line with the Constitution," the Islamic-based National Awakening Party (PKB) politician said.
A number of House legislators, especially those with close ties to Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), including the PKB, previously opposed the education provisions in the bill, expressing concerns about the requirement for people securing business licenses from the central government to establish educational institutions.
House Legislation Body (Baleg) deputy chairman Ahmad Baidowi said on Wednesday that the reason for including Article 65 in the final draft was to accommodate the government's plan to establish educational institutions in special economic zones (KEK).
He highlighted the word "can" in the provision, which means there is no obligation to obtain a business license.
“We put the word ’can’ there so they are allowed to obtain a license but are not obliged to do so,” the United Development Party (PPP) politician said.