The Jakarta Post
The National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM-SI) has announced on behalf of university students across the country that it would continue to protest the newly passed Job Creation Law despite mounting pressure from the government.
BEM-SI called on the government to take responsibility for its claim that the protests against the controversial jobs law had been driven by disinformation that distorted the actual stipulations contained in the legislation product, group coordinator Remy Hastian said in a written statement issued on Sunday.
He called the government’s claim preposterous, considering that the House of Representatives and the government had failed to make the final legislation draft available to the public in the first place.
“Such a claim could incite public unrest because it [accuses] critics of being motivated by misinformation,” Remy said.
“In this regard, it’s the government that lies as citizens are denied access to any information regarding the final [version] of the legislation.”
The House and the government passed the contentious bill into law on Oct. 5 in a speedy deliberation deemed legally flawed by critics. Until now, several versions of the draft have circulated and authorities have not clarified which was the final draft passed in the House' plenary session.
Remy went on to condemn the government’s efforts to discredit and silence student protesters, saying that the people’s right to free speech was guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution.
The association encouraged students and members of the public to keep pushing for the cancellation of the jobs law, urging them to be committed to the cause until the government responded to their aspirations.
“We are not yet defeated,” Remy said. “We will keep voicing our opposition until the President issues a government regulation that revokes the jobs law.”
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has drawn the ire of critics and protesters by claiming that criticism of the law was merely based on “disinformation and hoaxes spread through social media”.
Jokowi said on Friday that various “allegations” made against the law, such as claims that it removed employees’ rights to leave days and social security, including retirement benefits, were inaccurate.
On the same day, the Education and Culture Ministry’s Higher Education Directorate General issued circular discouraging university students from participating in protests against the jobs law and asking faculty members to promote the recently passed law.