Jakarta. Lawmakers have included an omnibus bill on maritime security affairs in this year's national legislation program, or Prolegnas, putting into motion a plan to establish a more powerful national coastguard – something the government feels is necessary following a recent territorial standoff with China in the North Natuna Sea.
"We expect the bill will soon be passed into law since it's now already in the Prolegnas," Mahfud said in Jakarta on Thursday after meeting the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan.
The bill is one of 50 in the 2020-2024 Prolegnas to be discussed by the House of Representatives. Other bills included in the list are the omnibus bills on job creation and taxation.
Mahfud said the omnibus law on maritime security affairs would make the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) the country's only coastguard and coordinator of other institutions with similar capabilities and responsibilities.
At the moment, there are at least seven maritime institutions with overlapping roles in protecting Indonesian seas, including the Bakamla and the Water Police.
According to Mahfud, each of these institutions follows different laws and regulations.
"[An illegal fishing] boat could be seized by one institution but then investigated by a different one," Mahfud said.
"The president [Joko Widodo] wants a better, more integrated coordination. One way to do this is by creating the omnibus law on maritime security affairs," Mahfud said.
"The Bakamla will coordinate the other institutions but still respect their authority," Mahfud said.
He said the Bakamla will oversee almost everything related to maritime security affairs, from illegal fishing to border violation.
According to Mahfud, the planned omnibus law would also be able to expedite the government's handling of maritime security issues.
The idea for the omnibus law was first put forward in January after the Indonesian Military (TNI) was involved in a standoff with China's coast guard who was escorting Chinese fishing boats into Indonesia's exclusive economic zone in the North Natuna Sea.