Police stood guard after twin explosion at the Kampung Melayu Terminal in East Jakarta in May. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Indonesia Must Revise Antiterrorism Law, Early Action Necessary: Top Spook


MAY 29, 2017

Jakarta. State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan said that revisions to the 2003 Antiterrorism Law can no longer be delayed, as they will authorize law enforcers to apply preventive measures in fighting terrorism, Beritasatu reported on Sunday (28/05).

"The revisions will authorize law enforcement officers to act early to counter activities that lead to terrorism — military training, spreading of extremist ideologies, as well participation in ISIS [the Islamic State militant group] or other terrorist organizations," Budi said.

After visiting the site of last week's terrorist attack in Jakarta's Kampung Melayu, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has instructed Chief Security Minister Wiranto to have the antiterrorism law revised as soon as possible.

The revisions are still subject to negotiations between the government and the House of Representatives.

According to Budi, the attack was part of ISIS's strategy to show its presence in Indonesia. In the same week, the group has also claimed responsibility for attacks in United Kingdom's Manchester and in Marawi, the Philippines.

Budi added that ISIS has developed a global network and has become very active in many countries, with its members ready to execute the attacks.

"This situation has further strengthened our opinion that the threat of terrorism isn't merely a national or regional issue, but a global matter," Budi said.

The Indonesian government continues its efforts to reinforce international counterterrorism cooperation, especially to curb the expansion of ISIS in Southeast Asia.

According to Budi, capacity-building and collaboration between the police, the military, the State Intelligence Agency, the National Antiterrorism Agency (BNPT) and other related institutions has been increasingly good.

He emphasized the role of the public.

"The fight against radicalism and terrorism must be on the country's primary agenda, and it must be accepted by all so that we can fight together. It's important not to give even the tiniest room for radicalism and terrorism to grow," Budi said.

Beef Up Security

Wiranto on Monday said security officials are patrolling the sea and land to prevent ISIS supporters from entering Indonesia, especially from the southern Philippines.

"The most important part is to block them from coming in and setting up a base here," Wiranto told reporters.

Last week, the Philippine military confiscated an Indonesian passport during a shootout with an ISIS-affiliated group in Marawi.

Although the Indonesian involvement in the group is only purported, Wiranto said it is not impossible.

"I can't deny that ISIS has successfully implemented divergence in spreading its ideology and entering other parts of the world, including South East Asia. We know that it is present in the southern Philippines," Wiranto said.

According to the National Antiterterrorism Agency, more than 500 Indonesians went to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. Dozens have since come back from the war-torn countries to establish a base for the group in Southeast Asia.

"Of course, it's possible they have joined an ISIS-affiliated organization which has beset Marawi," said Wiranto, adding that it is necessary to prevent them from entering Indonesia.

The distance between Marawi and Indonesia's northernmost island of Miangas and Marore is only five hours by boat.

"I believe that the police and the military who protect our northernmost border, with the help of citizens, have already averted their arrival. But we are still going to beef up security," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said on Sunday, as quoted by Beritasatu.