Corrupted Democracy: The State is failing to fulfill the Mandate of 1998 Reformation

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The protester's demands were responded by excessive use of force in the recent protest against controversial bills in Jakarta (10/30). Photo: common creative
The protester's demands were responded by excessive use of force in the recent protest against controversial bills in Jakarta (10/30). Photo: common creative

People’s Alliance Joint Statement

Jakarta, 1st October 2019. Each political transition is crucial in determining whether or not the rights of peoples are protected or threatened. The House of Representative and the Indonesian government, in this period, have proposed bills Law No. 41 Year 1999 on Forestry and Law No. 18 Year 2004 on Plantation which revised into Law No. 39 Year 2014.

The Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the People’s Representative Council (DPR RI) have proposed bills like this since the reformation era in 1998. These laws, which are proposed by the Indonesian Government during their final term period, is a gateway for the strengthening of the oligarchy, through the seizure of people’s land, the destruction of the environment and the increase in economic inequality.

The transition that we are facing today is related to the end of the People’s Representative Council and the GoI in the 2014-2019 period. DPR RI and the Jokowi-JK administration has shamelessly proposed a series of draft bills that harm ordinary people.[i] As a result, 2019 has been marked as the worst year of the legislation process, where at least 6 draft bills that could be harming people and state are being processed at once, they are the draft bill on:[ii]

  1. Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi/KPK),
  2. Water Resources (Sumber Daya Air)
  3. Sustainable Agriculture Cultivation System (Sistem Budidaya Pertanian Berkelanjutan)
  4. Land (Pertanahan)
  5. Mineral and Coal (Mineral dan Batubara), and
  6. Criminal Code (KUHP)

In addition, the substance of the Law on Water Resources and Law on Sustainable Agriculture Cultivation System, is the reincarnation of Law No. 7 year 2004 on Water Resources and Law No. 12 Year 1992 on Agriculture Cultivation System. These Laws had been annulled by Constitutional Court due to the lawsuit of farmers and civil society organizations through Judicial Review as they have been proved contradictory with The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia 1945.

The re-enactment of the substance of these Laws shows how the GoI only cares about the interest of corporations, by forcing farmers and people of Indonesia to become permanent consumers of drinking water companies and agriculture suppliers.

This time, DPR RI and Indonesian government’s undemocratic proposals were met with mass mobilizations from college students, students, labor, fisherman, indigenous people, and various civil society elements since 23 September 2019 in at least dozens of cities in Indonesia.[iii]

The wave of protests was responded by the unlawful use of excessive force by the state where 1,365 protesters who mainly are students were arrested and hundreds were injured in the last protest on 30 September in Jakarta.[iv] There are two students who were shot dead and another died of the heavy injury.[v] People’s movement eventually achieved a small victory since certain draft anti-people bills were nulled and void until 30 September 2019 at the expense of loss of lives, injuries, and arrestment.[vi]

Unfortunately, various draft bills that have been nulled and void will be carrying over by DPRI RI to their next period of the term. Even worse, the Law on Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission, Law on Water Resources and the Law on (Sustainable Agriculture Cultivation System) which destroy the livelihood of farmers have been passed by the legislature.

On the other hand, the 2014-2019 DPR RI and Indonesian government period, up to their final term of office, fails to fulfill the people’s rights to get protection from sexual violence. Continuously ignoring their commitment to fulfill the obligations listed out in Indigenous Peoples Bill and Sexual Violence Eradication Bill is an attitude of the non-seriousness of the Indonesian Parliament and the Government in carrying out the constitutional mandate.

In addition, law enforcement and revocation of corporate licenses from corporations which cause the haze has not been taken seriously, instead, farmers have been sacrificed in their villages.

It is inevitable if the people argue that these undemocratic proposals is evidence that the Reformation of 1998 has been corrupted! Various draft bills that been forced by the Indonesian parliament and rejected by the people’s movement have also been targeted to be passed this period. The new bill on Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission is also seen as a maneuver to weaken the commission that has been showing progress towards eliminating corruption.

The overall legislation maneuver by the GoI and DPR RI leads to three basic things:

  1. Legalizing corporate crime in the Natural Resources and Environment sector for the past 21 years
  2. Providing opportunities for the expansion of the authority of oligarchs over natural resources in Indonesia which has resulted in the deprivation of peoples’ sources of living and living space on land and in the sea.
  3. Marginalizing and isolating and disarming farmer’s veto rights, human rights and democracy activists, fishermen, labor, the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples and all people with the aim so they do not oppose the domination of oligarchs who use a militaristic approach to criminalization

Due to the increasingly volatile Reformation situation, we are gathered in the People’s Alliance which consists of the civil society, labor, women, fisherfolks, peasant and various college students and students’ movements to express our position:

  1. The Government and the Indonesian Parliament have failed to oversee the mandate of ReformationInstead, the Reformation has been corrupted by the Government and Parliament by bringing politics, regulations and State policies under corporate control. Political Parties and the Indonesian Parliament have failed to listen and preserve the people’s wishes and needs. Hereby we proclaim “MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE” towards the Government of Indonesia and DPR RI.
  2. It has been proven that the Government and Indonesian parliament carried out systematic and widespread attacks to people from various backgrounds who join the “Reformation has been corrupted” rallies. Until the evening of September 30, 2019, we still received some reports of physical casualties from mass protest participants. In addition, a large number of people were in a panic because they could not go home due to constantly being attacked by officials and intelligence. We condemn and demand the State to immediately stop how they handle and respond to the people’s aspirations through repressive measures such as intimidation, violence, and criminalization, as well as the involvement of social media ‘buzzer’ that distorts information and spreading fake news. These methods further distance Indonesian politics from the mandate of Reformation, endanger the people and potentially create horizontal conflicts between Indonesian people.
  3. The Jokowi Government should respond to the “MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE” from People’s Political Block AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, and explain it directly and openly to the people in the form of popular consultation. We support the invitation of a handful of people or figures to a popular consultation that can divert people’s unrest.

Based on the political position above, we proclaim:

  1. To all Indonesian people to examine, oversee and demand the achievement of the 1998 Reformation Mandate, by continuing to mobilize and consolidate all elements of the people in the “People’s Political Block”.
  2. To build alternative political parties in response to the depravity of political parties in the DPR RI and the Government so far. For this reason, the revision of the Election Law is an urgent task of the people’s movement to fix the damage that has occurred over the past 21 years.

Thus this joint statement was conveyed through media, with the hope it could be disseminated and discussed by Indonesian people.

[i] Kate Lamb, “Thousands protest against new criminal code in Indonesia”, The Guardian 24 September 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/24/thousands-protest-against-new-criminal-code-across-indonesia?

[ii] See the news report in Febriana Firdaus, “What’s driving the latest protests in Indonesia?”  Al-Jazeera 1 October 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/driving-latest-protests-indonesia-190926090413270.html

[iii] Ghina Ghaliya and Gisela Swaragita, “’We refuse to return to New Order’: Students protest against controversial bills”, The Jakarta Post 23 September 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/09/23/we-refuse-to-return-to-new-order-students-protest-against-controversial-bills.html?

[iv] Associated Press, “Indonesian students clash with police in protests over new law,” The Guardian 30 September 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/30/indonesian-students-resume-anti-corruption-protests

[v] “Second student dies after Indonesian protesters clash with police,” 27 September 2019, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/second-student-dies-after-indonesian-protesters-clash-with-police

[vi] Editorial, “Police’s reputation at risk,” The Jakarta Post, 3 October 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2019/10/03/polices-reputation-at-risk.html

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