President Joko Widodo, second right, and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, second left, look on as Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly, right, exchanges extradition treaty documents with Singaporean Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam in Bintan, Riau Islands Province, on January 25, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Presidential Press Burau)

Extradition Treaty with Singapore to Get Fast-Track House Approval: Lawmakers

BY :YUSTINUS PAAT

JANUARY 27, 2022

Jakarta. The recently signed extradition treaty between Indonesia and Singapore is set to be ratified by the House of Representatives without political impediments, a number of lawmakers said on Thursday.

The 575-member House is currently dominated by a pro-government coalition that enjoys a supermajority with 83 percent of the seats.

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“This won’t be put in the waiting list – what we need is three sessions at most before the ratification,” Golkar Party politician Dave Fikarno Laksono said in Jakarta.

His expectation was in sharp contrast to the deadlock in a similar treaty signed by the two Southeast Asian neighbors during the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono presidency. 

The 2007 extradition treaty reached a stalemate in the House as the majority of lawmakers strongly opposed an accompanying defense agreement allowing Singapore to have a military training ground on an Indonesian island. 

But now even the Social Justice Party, or PKS, considered as a staunch critic of the Joko Widodo administration, indicated that they won’t stand in the way.

“Today’s constellation of political forces in parliament is very different from then,” said PKS politician Sukamta, a member of the House’s Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs. 

The commission will host discussions on the treaty before it’s brought to the House plenary session for ratification.

“The important thing is to examine all articles and make sure that the agreement works in the best interest of Indonesia,” Sukamta said.

House Speaker Puan Maharani expressed her full support to the treaty, which Indonesia has been pursuing for 24 years.

“The Indonesia-Singapore extradition treaty is the answer we have been waiting for since 1998,” Puan said.

“The agreement will help law enforcement officials resolve transnational cases. This is a major accomplishment because the treaty applies retroactively as of the past 18 years,” she added.

Earlier on Tuesday, President Joko Widodo received Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Bintan, Riau Islands Province, where they witnessed the signing of a number of major bilateral agreements.

In addition to the extradition treaty, both countries signed the defense cooperation agreement and agreed on the handover of Flight Information Region (FIR) management over Natuna Island and surrounding areas from Singapore to Indonesia.

Indonesia has repeatedly attempted to reclaim the FIR management in its airspace since the 1990s without success due to a lack of technological support and manpower.

Singapore has since 1946 controlled flight navigation in the area under approval from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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