One year of the Job Creation Act, the wave of rejection has not stopped

The Job Creation Law or the Omnibus Law is one of the legislative products that has received the greatest challenges after the reform. Effort judicial review currently underway at the Constitutional Court, and discussions outside the court, continue to be held against it.

This law was passed by the DPR on October 5, 2020, accompanied by demonstrations by thousands of students, workers, and movement activists. Not only in Jakarta, demonstrations are also taking place in the country, even until November 2020.

In Samarinda, East Kalimantan, which previously was not so prominent in the map of the student movement, the action was also violent. In the end, two students were arrested, brought to trial and sent to prison. One of them is Wisnu Juliansyah, a final year student at Fisip, Mulawarman University. He was arrested in action on November 5, 2020, and charged with assaulting the police.

Wisnu Juliansyah, a student of Fisip at Mulawarna University and an activist for the Kamisan Kaltim Action, who was imprisoned for 5.5 months for his protest against the Omnibus Law.  (Photo: private dock)

Wisnu Juliansyah, a student of Fisip at Mulawarna University and an activist for the Kamisan Kaltim Action, who was imprisoned for 5.5 months for his protest against the Omnibus Law. (Photo: private dock)

“The charge of maltreatment that was handed down to me, as a result of the chaos, indicated that the stone was thrown at one of the police officers and hit the right temple. During the trial, the witnesses had ambiguous statements, some said I threw it myself, some said a crowd threw it. There is no concrete evidence yet,” said Vishnu.

Vishnu was finally sentenced to 5 months and 15 days in prison by a judge and was released on April 20, 2021. He remembers rightly, what it was like to go through his first days in police custody.

“When I was put in a cell, for one week every night I was called. There is one word that I remember very well, one of the intelligence officers said in front of me, do you still want to fight the authorities?” recalled Vishnu.

Not only students, labor groups have also become the motor of a number of actions against the Omnibus Law. Workers feel very interested, because they think the contents of this new law are detrimental to them. One of the activists for the labor action was Nining Elitos from the Congress of the Indonesian Trade Union Alliance (KASBI).

Students and democracy activists in East Kalimantan regularly hold demonstrations every Thursday.  (photo: Kamisan Kaltim)

Students and democracy activists in East Kalimantan regularly hold demonstrations every Thursday. (photo: Kamisan Kaltim)

The choice of workers’ attitude to reject the Omnibus Law certainly carries risks. Their office was repeatedly terrorized.

“When the Omnibus Law, first January 13, 2020 we took action, February 17 we got terror. The KASBI Confederation Office was protested by people we don’t know, and then they burned car tires in front of the gate,” said Nining.

One year after it was legalized, according to Nining, what happened was the degradation of workers’ rights. Discourses about employment opportunities and increasing welfare have the opposite result. According to Nining, the presence of the Omnibus Law, coupled with the pandemic situation, exacerbated the employment sector.

“I witnessed millions of workers having their rights cut off, being laid off. Many companies offer layoffs to replace permanent worker status, become outsourced or outsourced worker status,” he said.

One Year Omnibus Law

The Constitutional Court (MK) until this week is still holding a judicial review hearing rally on the Job Creation Law proposed by a number of parties. It is not known how long the trial will last, because legal experts are still taking turns as witnesses.

Apart from this legal effort, the Alliance of Academics to Reject the Job Creation Omnibus Law held a discussion to commemorate the anniversary of the enactment of the Job Creation Law, Thursday (14/10). This discussion examines the Copyright Act from various sides, including what its impact has been in the past year.

Herlambang P Wiratraman, lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Airlangga University, Surabaya.  (photo: Mouab)

Herlambang P Wiratraman, lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Airlangga University, Surabaya. (photo: Mouab)

Herlambang P Wiratraman, from the alliance, said that if you reflect on it, everyone will understand that the law has a huge impact, in terms of human rights issues.

“Because the Job Creation Law from the beginning has bypassed many principles of the rule of law, it is no longer in accordance with the objectives. What he says is to streamline legislation, but it only adds to the complexity or thickens layers of public confusion,” said Herlambang.

In fact, as is well known, in the first draft of the Law, many errors were found. According to Herlambang, this fact is actually proof that the drafting of a new law at that time was no longer appropriate to be defended.

Substantively, continued Herlambang, this law also serves the oligarchic power system, which is a system that concentrates power only on a few people. The Job Creation Law has proven to be friendly to capital owners, but does not defend labor groups. This law is also considered by academics to be very hegemonic to the interests of the authorities.

Arif Yogiawan, activist from the Indonesian People's Faction. (photo: Mouab)

Arif Yogiawan, activist from the Indonesian People’s Faction. (photo: Mouab)

Arif Yogiawan, an activist from the Indonesian People’s Faction in this discussion also agreed with the assessment that the Job Creation Law was problematic from the start.

“Since its proposal, there have been many conflicts of interest. We can see it in the various reports that we submit,” said Arif.

The Indonesian People’s Faction has indeed published a number of research reports, which describe how political actors in Indonesia also have great business influence. Because of this condition, the Job Creation Law is shrouded in a very strong conflict of interest.

“And it was proven when Airlangga Hartarto formed the Omnibus Law Task Force and the majority of its members were businessmen,” continued Arif.

The Academic Alliance’s Demand

In particular, the academic alliance has conducted various academic studies, which have evaluated the Job Creation Law over the past year. Some of them are that the government’s efforts to improve the investment climate through the Job Creation Law are more reliant on liberalism and economic growth. On the other hand, corruption which was expected to be suppressed did not receive sufficient benefits.

Herdiansyah Hamzah, academician at the Faculty of Law, Mulawarman University, Samarinda, East Kalimantan.  (Private dock photo)

Herdiansyah Hamzah, academician at the Faculty of Law, Mulawarman University, Samarinda, East Kalimantan. (Private dock photo)

Efforts to attract foreign investment are considered to have had an impact on reducing labor rights significantly. This law is also considered to weaken the mechanism of public control over the threat of environmental damage by business activities. Changes in the contents of the bill repeatedly by the government, even though it has been approved by the DPR, show the attraction and bargaining of interests between the business-political-bureaucratic elite.

For this reason, this academic alliance continues to criticize the Job Creation Law which is not in line with the people’s basic rights.

“We also urge the revocation of the Job Creation Act, either through PERPPU, the Act or through the Constitutional Court’s decision, with a ruling that grants the request for a formal and material review of this Act against the Constitution,” said Herdiansyah Hamzah, from the academic alliance.

The Alliance also states that the Job Creation Law is a regulation that creates chaos in the hierarchy of laws and regulations and material and formal juridical defects. They invite campus academics in Indonesia to continue to criticize this law, along with all its derivative regulations. [ns/ab]

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