Indonesia: Backroom bargain: Baleg holds closed meeting on job creation bill

  • The House of Representatives Legislation Body (Baleg) has begun discussing the controversial omnibus law on job creation by holding a closed, partially virtual meeting on 7 Apr 20 despite extensive public criticism and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The meeting was not scheduled on the House’s agenda. According to Baleg deputy chairman Willy Aditya, the meeting began at about 12 p.m. and was physically attended by four leaders of the body as well as about nine other members.
  • However, the press was only invited to join the meeting at 3 p.m. via Zoom, just as the meeting, chaired by Baleg chairman Supratman Andi Agtas of the Gerindra Party, was about to finish.
  • “We only discussed the two main points of the meeting. First, the House will hold a hearing with the government next week to ask about its readiness,” Willy, a member of NasDem, said.
  • In the next meeting, he said, the House and the government would establish a working committee “with Pak Airlangga [Hartarto, the Coordinating Economic Minister], and other related ministers”. He added that the body would not set a target date to resolve the bill.
  • At the 7 Apr 20 meeting, factions in the House were asked to prepare problem inventory lists (DIMs). The body will consider the lists after holding a series of hearings involving various parties, such as labor unions, experts and businesses.
  • According to the conclusion of the meeting, which was shared by Baleg via Zoom, the deliberation of the bill will begin with noncontroversial topics. “Therefore the government can start with the easier topics of the bill first,” the document read.
  • The public has widely criticized the House for deliberating the omnibus bill during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many said it showed that the lawmakers had little consideration for the opinions of the people it would affect.
  • One of Indonesia’s biggest labor groups, the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) plans to hold a massive protest against the bill, despite the pandemic.
  • The protest will be held in mid-Apr 20, involving 50,000 workers from Greater Jakarta, and will take place in front of the legislative complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

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