Mass strike against neolib reform rocks Indonesia

indonesia strike

Riot police used tear-gas and water cannons in Indonesia’s capital on Oct. 8 to disperse large protests against¬†a sweeping new law that rolls back protections for workers and the environment.¬†Hundreds were arrested in Jakarta, and rallies took place in cities across the archipelago nation. The National Police have issued a¬†notice to regional departments with directives on how to control the protests. The Omnibus Law, plugged as a “Job Creation”¬†bill, was passed three days earlier, despite calls for a general strike by the country’s trade unions.¬†It revises¬†more than 70 laws and regulations in an effort to cut “red tape” and improve the investment climate. Most controversially, it abolishes the national minimum wage, reduces severance pay, and relaxes the criteria for environmental impact statements on development projects.

President Joko Widodo aggressively plugged the bill, saying: “We want to simplify the licensing and bureaucracy, we want speed, so a harmonization of law is needed to create speedy services, speedy policymaking, so that Indonesia would be faster to respond to every world change.” But Congress Alliance of Indonesian Labor Unions (KASBI) chair Nining Elitos said the legislative process itself had been too fast, with debate on the bill carried out in a “clandestine”¬†manner.¬†The bill was also opposed by the All-Indonesia United Workers Confederation (KPBI) and Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI). (NYT, NYT,¬†BBC News, Jakarta Post, SCMP, The Star, Malaysia)

Image: Global May Day

  1. Protest Indonesia defense minister Washington visit

    The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) condemned the granting of a visa to visit the United States to serial human rights violator Prabowo Subianto. ETAN urged that any visa be withdrawn and no weapons or training be promised to Indonesia.

    Prabowo is currently the defense minister of Indonesia and reportedly will be visiting the US from Oct. 15-19. He is scheduled to meet with Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

    “We are outraged, but not surprised that the Trump administration, which has embraced so many other authoritarian leaders, would now embrace Prabowo,”¬†said John M. Miller, coordinator of ETAN.

    “Prabowo is a super spreader of rights violations with ambitions to run Indonesia in the spirit of the former dictator Suharto,”¬†Miller added. In 2001, Prabowo¬†asked a reporterrhetorically “Do I have the guts. Am I ready to be called a fascist dictator?”

    For the past 20 years Prabowo has been banned from travel to the US under laws that bar visas for serious violators of human rights. He is the ex-son-in-law of Indonesia’s former dictator Suharto.