Indonesia House Headed for Overtime

It looks like lawmakers will have to put in some extra hours after coming back from the holiday. More plenary sessions than initially planned may be in store if the House hopes to plow through at least 20 more bills before its term officially ends on Oct. 1. “The DPR [House of Representatives] will hold at least five more plenary sessions to meet our target,” Yasona Lauly, a legislator from the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. The final plenary sessions were originally expected to take place today and on Tuesday, with the legislature taking a break for the Idul Fitri holiday and then returning on Oct. 1 for the inauguration of the new House members. But Yasona said they had yet to be informed of the final schedule for plenary sessions. According to Salastio, from the Indonesian Parliament Center, over the past five years the House has only managed to pass 176 out of a targeted 200 bills. But the legislature’s last-minute push to meet the target, he said, could be spurred by more than a desire to serve the public. “For every bill they pass, House members receive an allowance that varies according to their position,” Salastio said. In addition, he said, falling short of the legislative target could turn into a public relations disaster. “Failure to meet the target would damage the public’s trust in the DPR, especially since the legislative members have just received an increase in their legislative allowance. The allowance increased, but the work achievement decreased,” Salastio said. From 2004 to 2008, the heads of House committees received Rp 2 million ($200) for each bill passed into law. In 2008, the allowance was increased to Rp 5 million. Other committee members receive around Rp 3 million, up from Rp 1.5 million. “The DPR is going to work around the clock from September 28 to 30 to meet the target, to save them the embarrassment of failing to perform according to the system they themselves have made,” Salastio said. According to Yasona, the House’s priorities over the next two weeks include a health bill, which is expected to be passed today or on Tuesday, an archive bill and the controversial Anti-Corruption Court bill. “Even though the [Anti-Corruption Court bill] is still being discussed, the legislative members are determined to finish it before the end of the 2004-09 term,” he said. But another controversial measure, the state secrecy bill, might have to be tabled until the next legislative term because it is still under debate. Salastio, however, expressed doubt the bill on the antigraft court would be finished before the end of the current legislators’ term. “There is a power struggle over the corruption court bill.” One of the mostly hotly debated aspects of the bill surrounds how much power the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) should be given. “When the KPK was founded, it was agreed that the body is authorized to conduct investigations, arrest and file charges, but the bill suggests that the KPK can only conduct investigations,” Salastio said. Using just the number of bills as a benchmark of legislative performance, the current House has actually surpassed the record of the previous chamber, which passed 175 pieces of legislation.

Recommended Posts :