Fri, 27 Jun 2003

House plans to revise the population law

Sari P. Setiogi The Jakarta Post Jakarta

The House of Representatives Commission VII on health and population is proposing a revision to Law No. 10/1992 on population growth and family welfare.

Commission chairman Posma Tobing told The Jakarta Post Wednesday that the amendment was necessary as the current law did not fit with regional autonomy, which came into effect in 2001.

"The law was drafted when the country was adopting a centralized system, therefore most policies came from the top."

He said that after the inception of regional autonomy there was the possibility that regional administrations were ignoring population issues as central government control relaxed.

Citing an example, Posma said the role of the National Family Planning Board (BKKBN) at regional level had been considerably reduced as it used to carry out programs at the behest of the central government.

Posma said population was a national issue and should be of concern to each regional administration in the country.

The current law did not enable the country to deal with global issues related to population, particularly gender issues, men's participation, reproduction rights and infertility, Posma said.

"Our country has pledged to comply with several recommendations on global issues agreed in international forums on population, including in the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 and the Millennium Development Summit in New York in 2000," Posma said.

The absence of a special institution and officials responsible for population and family planning were another flaw in the existing law.

The draft amendment will involve population experts, including BKKBN deputy chairman Siswanto Agus Wilopo, Demographic Foundation chairperson Srihariati Hatmadji, Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) medical legal committee chairman Herkutanto and Center of Population Study and Policy vice president Sukamdi.

Posma said the team was expected to complete the draft law in September.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world.