A man stands guard at the entrance of an alley in Tambora, West Jakarta, on Wednesday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Rights Activists Slam Corporate-Friendly Regulation on Pandemic Mitigation

BY :TARA MARCHELIN

APRIL 04, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia Corruption Watch's coordinator, Adnan Topan Husodo, said on Friday a government regulation in lieu of law, or Perppu, on state financial policies and financial system stability issued on March 30 to help the country cope with the Covid-19 pandemic is off-target and will not be able to achieve what it sets out for. 

Adnan criticized the government for taking the side of business players instead of the public.

"The Perppu only highlights the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Meanwhile, we're facing a health crisis that threatens people's lives," Adnan said in a teleconference with Indonesian media on Friday.

According to Adnan, the main points of the Perppu are tax incentives for corporations and short-term liquidity loans for banks affected by the economic crisis.

The Perppu, he argued, should include policies that will directly help the public survive the coronavirus epidemic.

"Why did the government issue the Perppu when they haven't even declared the country is in an economic crisis? The government should issue a Perppu based on the Health Quarantine Law, which is more relevant to the current situation," he said.

Adnan also criticized Article 27 of the Perppu for potentially giving impunity to government institutions assigned with implementing the policy, which include the Financial System Stability Committee (KSSK), the Finance Ministry, Bank Indonesia – the central bank, the Financial Services Authority and the Deposit Insurance Agency. 

"[Article 27] allows the government to avoid legal consequences if there is maladministration in the policy's implementation. This is when those institutions have been given full authority and all the resources granted by the Perppu. This could cause problems," he said.

This impunity could negate the functions of law enforcement agencies, including the National Police, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Attorney General's Office.

Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation's (YLBHI) director, Asfinawati, said article 27 of the Perppu contradicts the spirit of Indonesia's 1945 Constitution. 

She said the Perppu can potentially be used not only during the pandemic but under different circumstances as well, pointing out the government had used the "and/or" conjunction in the Perppu's title and articles.

The regulation's full title is Perppu No.1/ 2020 on State Financial Policy and Financial System Stability for Covid-19 Pandemic Mitigation and/or Addressing Dangerous Threats Against National Economy and/or Financial System Stability.

"In law, 'and/or' means both or either. It means the threats against the national economy and financial system stability can come from other things, not only from a pandemic," Asfinawati said.

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