President signs bill under cover of night . . .
Indonesia’s President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo signed the controversial Job Creation Bill into law late Monday night. Also, know as the omnibus law, the Job Creation Bill was passed by parliament early in October and is a major gambit to cut down bureaucratic red tape and regulations that hindered foreign investment. In Indonesia, bills passed by the House of Representatives automatically take effect 30 days later. In this case, however, Jokowi signed the bill into law himself, despite growing opposition – reflecting its importance to the President and his political platform to reform Indonesia in the interest of economic growth.
Resistance against new law set to continue . . .
Opposition to the bill stems mainly from the reduction of labour and environmental protections. But the perceived lack of transparency and public consultation of the legislative process are also points of contention. Indeed, many Indonesians woke up to a new law on Tuesday without knowing the exact contents of its sixth and (so far) final draft. The protests going on since early October after the bills’ parliamentary passing are likely to continue since legal experts have found numerous errors – from typos to references to missing paragraphs – in the version of the law signed by Jokowi, a testament to the rushed and forced formulation and approval process of the divisive piece of legislation. Several labour unions have filed judicial review requests with the constitutional court to get the law annulled.
Undermining the law’s purpose . . .
While the government has dismissed much of the opposition to the new law as caused by online misinformation and ‘hoaxes,’ it failed to address environmental concerns brought up by large international investors, the very people the government is attempting to attract. Analysts also question the ability of tax cuts and labour deregulation included in the law to entice international businesses to set up shop in Indonesia; protectionist measures such as advantages given to Indonesian state-owned enterprises, foreign ownership caps, and local content requirements remain unaddressed. As Jokowi tries to secure his long-term legacy in his final term in office, the ongoing legal battle over the omnibus bill will continue to confound Indonesians and investors alike.
- The Jakarta Post: ‘Fatal’ errors found as Job Creation Law enters into force
- The New York Times: Indonesian President quietly signs divisive bill into law overnight
- Nikkei Asia: Jokowi signs controversial omnibus bill into law