The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has claimed progress and achievements in 2007, but has pledged to improve and simplify its services for the public in 2008.
"Our directorate general of legal administration has reinstated the citizenship status and passports of 14,653 Indonesian workers in Malaysia who wished to retain their Indonesian citizenship in 2008," Minister of Justice and Human Rights Andi Mattalatta said.
He was speaking at the ministry's annual performance evaluation and press conference on Friday.
"The directorate general has also simplified the authorization of legal status for companies," Andi said.
"It usually takes more than 60 days for companies to obtain their licenses, but now it takes between three and seven days," he said.
The immigration directorate general under the ministry has also extended length-of-stay permits for foreign investors from 60 to 90 days.
Limited stay permits have been extended from one to two years and citizens from 11 more countries are able to get visas on arrival.
"The use of finger-print and iris-scan technology has been applied in Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Karimun, Batam and Belakang Padang areas," Andi said.
The application of this advanced technology in the immigration information system has sped-up the checking process, he said.
The ministry said it was also encouraging the public to contribute and participate in requesting the services it required.
"The public needs to have a chance to submit their opinions, in terms of what regulations they need," said Ahmad Ramli, head of the National Law Supervision Agency (BPHN).
"We will create an open forum for the public this year, so people can submit their suggestions for new regulations."
The ministry said it also planned to improve the prison management system and to guarantee prisoners their right to proper living conditions.
"The over-population of prisons has been causing a high incidence of violence," Andi said.
"Therefore, we have to balance prison capacity with the number of occupants," Andi said.
Currently more than 130,000 prisoners populate correctional facilities designed to hold no more than 81,000.
"We will relocate prisoners in crowded prisons or jails to less crowded ones in smaller cities," he said.
"We are also ready to operate 20 new prisons which are able to accommodate around 9,400 inmates.
"We will also see whether it's possible to reduce by half the 50,000 number of people arrested by not putting them in jails, but by putting them under city arrest status.
"Prisons will therefore be able to accommodate at least 25,000 more prisoners" he said. (rff)