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REFORMASI WEEKLY REVIEW
SUMMARY OVERVIEW
14 February 2020

Omnibus Bill: President Joko Widodo provided parliament with an Omnibus Bill on Job Creation that constitutes the most ambitious re‑write of the legal code in Indonesia’s history.  It would change aspects of 79 laws in dozens of diverse areas.  Overall, initial indications provide reason for optimism that the bill, if passed as is, would prove constructive in fostering investment, growth and employment.  But its mammoth scale renders it unlikely to pass this year or, perhaps, even next (Page 2).  Specifically with regard to labor‑market regulation, Ref Wkly estimates that the Omnibus Bill would cut severance pay costs by approximately half, although this remains unconfirmed by other sources.  The bill also mandates changes to minimum wage structures while rendering dismissals of workers easier to implement (p. 3). 

Politics: Zulkifli Hasan won re‑election as National Mandate Party (Pan) chair – the first to ever do so.  His triumph marks the end of the two‑decade era of dominance of party founder Amien Rais.  The outcome is also a rare instance of genuine change via democratic voting within a political party – although the congress involved scuffling and chair‑throwing with four serious injuries and a cardiac arrest.  Hasan seems likely to incline Pan towards support for Widodo (p. 8).

Policy News: The ministers of education and finance introduced changes to the Operational School Assistance (Bos) program.  The reform aims to improve transparency and effectiveness, although the ministers are also using Bos to cover the thorny problem of salaries for teachers’ assistants (p. 11).  The state enterprise minister chided PT Telekom for generating meager returns and failing to enter high‑tech sectors (p. 12).  The vice trade minister expressed optimism about securing renewal of Indonesia’s eligibility for the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); he signaled increased foreign ownership ceilings (from 80 percent currently) are likely for the insurance and re‑insurance sectors (p. 12).  The president called on ministers to elevate Indonesia’s rank in the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) index (p. 12). 

Produced since 2003, the Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news.  The writer is Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi.  For subscription info please contact: <kevin.orourke@reformasi.info>.

Health: There are still no confirmed Covid‑19 cases in Indonesia, but the health minister’s defiance on the issue may prove awkward.  The minister, Terawan Putranto, attributed the absence of cases to a blessing from God, while a Harvard specialist suggested that inadequate testing may be the key factor (p. 13).  In Natuna, the 285 returnees from Wuhan remain in good health, say officials, and will return to their homes on 15 February (p. 16). 

Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news. Delivered electronically every Friday, Reformasi Weekly is written by Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi. For subscription information please contact. Reformasi Weekly is a product of PT Reformasi Info Sastra.