No Shariah Among Problematic Regulations Scrapped by Govt


JUNE 21, 2016

Jakarta. A senior state official confirmed on Tuesday (21/06) that no shariah-influenced regulations were included in the 3,143 regional regulations the government has scrapped in an effort simplify and unite the central and regional governments' visions.

The Ministry of Home Affairs announced the list of scrapped regional regulations in a 104 page-document, mostly comprising rules on repayments, work permits, taxes and building permits.

Aceh province, which has incorporated shariah in many local bylaws, had 65 local regulations scrapped by the ministry, but none of them are related to Islamic law. Most of them were related to repayments and taxes.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said the move was aimed at improving the country's competitiveness by making it easier to do business and simplifying procedures for obtaining business permits.

The scrapped regulations also include those that stalled regional growth by adding extra layers of bureaucracy, hampered licensing and investment processes, as well as regulations that contradicted national laws.

"The government is also evaluating local regulations and bylaws that are not in line with the diversity and spirit of unity in Indonesia," Tjahjo said recently.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director Phelim Kine deplored Tjahjo's move to backtrack on an earlier commitment to abolish abusive shariah regulations in the country.

HRW has documented human rights abuses linked to the enforcement of shariah bylaws that prohibit adultery and impose public dress requirements on Muslims.

"A khalwat law makes association by unmarried individuals of the opposite sex a criminal offense in some circumstances. While the dress requirement is gender-neutral on the face of it, in practice it imposes far more onerous restrictions on women with the mandatory hijab, or veil, and long skirts. These 'offenses' are not banned elsewhere in Indonesia," Kine said in a statement on Tuesday.