Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs — and former Chief Security Minister — Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, center, flanked by State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Sutiyoso, right, and newly appointed National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius. (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

New Antiterrorism Bill to Improve Coordination Among Different Intelligence Units


SEPTEMBER 01, 2016

Jakarta. The new antiterrorism bill currently under consideration at the House of Representatives include provisions aimed at improving coordination among intelligence units to provide early warnings for citizens in case of imminent attacks, a lawmaker said on Thursday (01/09).

The public had questioned intelligence officials' capabilities in detecting terrorism threats earlier this year, when Islamic State sympathizers launched attacks on Jakarta's main street.

Aside from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), the National Police, Indonesian Military (TNI) and Attorney General's Office also have their own intelligence officials — and cooperation has not exactly been a byword among them.

Nasir Djamil, a member of the House of Representatives' special committee for the antiterrorism bill, said coordination among the various intelligence channels had been found wanting at crucial times.

"This is something that should be improved with the revisions to the antiterrorism law," the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician said.

The government decided to revise the antiterrorism law after the Sarinah attack that killed four people, with many observers saying that intelligence officials should have been able to sniff the plan before it hatches.

"We need early warnings. Strengthening coordination among intelligence units may help," Nasir said.

Rumors have been rife since last week that much-criticized BIN chief Sutiyoso may soon be replaced by National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan. Lawmakers and human rights activists said Sutiyoso had not done much to prevent growing terrorism threats in the country.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has appointed Gories Mere, a former chief of the National Police's antiterrorism squad Densus 88, as his special staffer for intelligence affairs last month.

Lawmakers are saying the move indicated Jokowi is less than satisfied with Sutiyoso's performance. The ex-Jakarta governor has been leading BIN for just over a year.