President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said on Wednesday (21/02) that he understands the concerns of civil society groups over a recent amendment to the MD3 law. (Reuters Photo/Bobby Yip)

Controversial MD3 Law Amendment Can Be Enacted Without President's Signature


FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Jakarta. Even though President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has not signed a recent amendment to the 2014 Legislative Law, it will still be enacted, a legal expert said on Friday (23/02).

The amendment to the law, which is locally know as the MD3 law, was passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 12.

Civil society groups have expressed concerns, especially over Article 122 of the law, which grants the House's ethics council the power to press charges against those critical of the legislature and its members, if they "disrespect the dignity of the House and its members."

An online petition to reject the amendment has been circulated by individuals and organizations such as Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) and the Indonesian Center of Law and Policy Studies (PSHK).

As of Friday afternoon, it was signed by more than 190,500 people.

In a Twitter post, the president said he did not sign the proposed amendment.

"I understand these concerns," Jokowi said in the post and in a statement issued by the Cabinet Secretariat on Wednesday.

"We all want the quality of our democracy to continue to rise, not to fall," the president added.

But the amendment will be automatically enacted, former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD told the Jakarta Globe.

"After 30 days, if it [the draft] is not signed, it will be automatically enacted, in accordance with Article 20, Section 5, of the Constitution," he said, adding that on the 31st day since the law was passed, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights will have to issue its official number.

A similar case occurred during Megawati Sukarnoputri's term, Mahfud said, when the former president did not sign the Law on Sabang Free Trade and Free Port Zone.