Gerindra Lawmaker Says Proposed Revision on Mass Organization Law a Threat to Free Speech

BY :MARKUS JUNIANTO SIHALOHO & EKO PRASETYO

DECEMBER 06, 2016

Jakarta. A Gerindra Party lawmaker said proposals to revise the current law on mass organization should be aimed at revitalizing these groups, not muzzling them.

Ahmad Riza Patria, the House of Representatives’ Commission II deputy chairman, said he is suspicious that the current draft revision is actually intended to shut down mass organizations that have been causing the government headache.

"The government should straighten them up, not shut them down. This is the reform era, not the New Order regime," Riza said on Tuesday (06/12).

The lawmaker said he would support the revision if it strengthens these mass organizations. "But if it is designed to make it easier for the government to disband them, we won't buy it. You just can't do that now," he said.

Riza said he also has his doubts on the actual number of mass organizations in Indonesia, which the government claimed to have exceeded 250,000.

The government has been planning to to revise its Law No. 17/2013 on mass organizations for a while.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said the government has made it easier to establish a mass organization, as the permit is now fully available online.

But Tjahjo claimed many of these organizations are against the state ideology Pancasila, which violates the regulation.

The government claimed there is a total of 254,633 mass organizations in Indonesia, 287 of them registered with the Home Affairs Ministry, 2,477 with provincial administrations, 1,807 with district and city administrations, 62 with the Foreign Ministry and 250,000 with the Justice Ministry.

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