Wed, 06 Aug 2003

Highest body repeals eight of 139 decrees

Kurniawan Hari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) agreed on Tuesday to unconditionally repeal eight of 139 decrees issued between 1960 and 2002, including one on human rights issued in 1998.

The decrees the MPR agreed to revoke were those on the position of all state institutions both at the central and regional governments, relations among high state institutions issued in 1973, in the event that the president or vice president cannot discharge his/her duties, relations among high state institutions issued in 1978, general elections, the tenure of the president and vice president, the revision of TAP III/MPR/1988 on general election, and human rights.

The revocation of the decree on human rights was apparently due to the fact that the issue had been incorporated into the newly amended 1945 Constitution.

The Assembly also agreed to retain a decree issued in 1966 that outlawed the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and banned the dissemination of communist, Marxist and Leninist teachings.

The decree banning the PKI and the dissemination of communist teachings is one of 27 decrees declared to be valid but with different provisions.

MPR members classified the 139 decrees into six categories: those to be revoked (eight decrees), those declared effective with provisions (three), decrees declared effective only up until the establishment of a new a government resulting from the 2004 elections (eight), decrees declared effective until the laws on the respective issues are enacted (11 decrees), decrees relating to internal regulation of MPR (five), and decrees considered no longer applicable (103).

Most of the 139 decrees were considered to be final, meaning that they were issued for a specific purpose and were no longer applicable. As such, the legal status of those decrees did not need to be reviewed.

A decree issued in 1963 on the designation of then president Sukarno as lifetime president was considered to be final and therefore would not be reviewed.

Legislators were still debating on Tuesday, the fifth day of the seven-day annual meeting, the provisions pertaining to the implementation of the MPR decree banning PKI and communism.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) insisted that the banning of PKI should not perpetuate discrimination against individuals or certain groups of people.

Other factions, however, demanded that the bans be based on justice, law, and the principles of democracy and human rights.

In the meantime, Assembly factions were still undecided on the status of a decree relating to founding president Sukarno.

PDI Perjuangan requested the insertion of a clause into the decree in an attempt to rehabilitate the name of Sukarno. But other factions insisted that the name of Sukarno needed not be rehabilitated.

The Chairman of Assembly's Commission B for revocation of decrees, Rambe Kamarulzaman, said on Tuesday that the Commission would try to reach a consensus on the issue.

The decree on economic democracy is still effective with the condition that the government provide support to the development of a small scale economy.

A decree on the authorization of Megawati Soekarnoputri as President will be effective until the establishment of a new government, after the 2004 election.

A decree on Indonesia's vision will be effective until the enactment of a law on the same issue.