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After HTI, government mulls banning other social organisations

Tempo.co - May 31, 2017

Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo says that the government is currently studying the banning of several social organisations which are not in line with the state ideology Pancasila, threaten public order and the unity of the state or cause intolerance.

"I'm not talking about one or two organisations, it could be four, five, or six", said Widodo during a special interview with Tempo at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Tuesday May 30.

The president was also asked about plans to ban Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), which was announced by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto on May 8.

The government considers the HTI to be a threat to public order and the unity of the state because the organisation has drafted laws and a constitution and is seeking to establish and Islamic caliphate in Indonesia.

Widodo declared, "I have no time for fundamentalist [groups] like this. I'll clobber (gebuk) them though legal mechanisms".

Aside from the HTI, Widodo did not cite the names of other social organisations that are included in the list of groups to be banned. According to Widodo, security minister Wiranto is currently studying these groups.

He insisted that the majority of the 250 million Indonesian population cannot be allowed to be harmed by groups whose membership is only in the thousand.

"Don't let there be [any group] brazen enough to play around with Pancasila, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika [Unity in Diversity], and the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia]", he added.

When asked separately for a statement, Widodo said that his office is currently studying which organisations are to be banned. "If I have a chance, I'll announce them later", he said.

Atma Jaya University Yogyakarta constitutional law expert Riawan Tjandra said that that although the government had the authority to regulate all activities of social organisations, he is warning the government not to act in an authoritarian manner.

According to Tjandra, the government must follow Law Number 17/2013 on Social Organisations which stipulates that the government must go through the courts to ban a mass organisation. "The government must have evidence, strong argumentation, and be able to argue this in court", he said.

A researcher from the Constitutional Study Centre (PUSaKO) Faculty of Law at the Andalas University, Khairul Fahmi, said that Widodo must be careful about banning an organisation.

"If they are just banned outright, that's arbitrary, authoritarian", he said adding that the government must uphold freedom of association. Because of this therefore, he suggests that the government first issue a reprimand then a warning before banning an organisations.

House of Representatives (DPR) Administration Commission member Achmad Baidowi said that banning an organisation must be based on evidence that there is a challenge to Pancasila or a threat to security and public order.

If both conditions exist, he said, the DPR would not object. "The government must be careful, not act hastily", he said.

-- Hussein Abri Dongoran, Ahmad Faiz, Raymundus Rikang

Notes

The use of the term gebuk is reminiscent of remarks made by former President Suharto in 1997 when he said that he would resign if it was the will of the people but vowed to "clobber" anyone who tried to force him out of office unconstitutionally. "If the people want Pak [Su]Harto to step down, thank you, I shall receive it well. For the sake of the people and our Constitution, I will accept the decision", he was quoted as saying. But, he warned, if they tried to seize power unlawfully, he would, as he had vowed to previously, "clobber them because they are violating the Constitution".

The Tempo interview with Widodo can be read here: Gebuk Ormas Anti-Pancasila, Jokowi: Kajiannya Sudah Lama https://nasional.tempo.co/read/news/2017/05/31/078880338/gebuk-ormas-anti-pancasila-jokowi-kajiannya-sudah-lama

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was "Setelah HTI, Jokowi Kaji Pembubaran Organisasi Lain".]

Source: https://www.tempo.co/read/fokus/2017/05/31/3501/setelah-hti-jokowi-kaji-pembubaran-organisasi-lain.

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