Singapore Wonders Why Job Creation Law Gets Harsh Reactions: Envoy

A riot policeman fires tear gas during a violent rally against the job creation law in Central Jakarta on Oct. 13, 2020. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

OCTOBER 16, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesian ambassador to Singapore Suryopratomo said Thursday his office had received questions from Singaporeans why the newly-adopted job creation law aiming to create a lot more jobs ended up with nationwide protests.

The law has caught international attention with photos and videos of public riots on streets circulating on the internet. Indonesian protesters tagged foreign media companies and wrote in English about alleged police brutality in their social media posts.

In their defense, the government said the public had been misled by hoaxes and that the bill did not strip workers of their rights. 

“The most important task in diplomacy is to build communication with external networks. I have been informed by the Indonesian embassy that there are questions there surrounding the Omnibus Law and why it receives harsh reactions,” Suryopratomo said in a video conference.

The ambassador said both the government and Indonesian embassies should speak the same language regarding the Omnibus Law — which seeks to overrule overlapping laws and regulations on job and manpower and integrate them into more-friendly regulations for investors, thus leading to more job openings.

“This is where the Communication and Information Technology Ministry plays a role in formulating the ‘same language’. So all Indonesian embassies can have the same reference [when addressing the law in the international scene],” Suryopratomo said.

The law is a necessary move for Indonesia to escape from the middle-income trap with the country facing a demographic bonus, he said.

Haze Problem


According to Suryopratomo, Indonesia-Singapore diplomatic affairs mainly concern the trans-boundary haze, laborers, and business relations.

“We need to become more proactive in communicating with Singapore’s environmental bodies what the government and stakeholder companies have done to combat the fire,” he said.

Pulp and paper producer April Group, for instance, has rolled out a fire-free village program, which raises awareness about the negative impacts of land burning among local communities. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has rented US-made Chinook helicopters to waterbomb forest fires at a larger capacity, he added. 

Meanwhile, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is pushing for stronger economic ties with Singapore, currently one of Indonesia’s largest investors. The president urged his ambassadors to focus on economic diplomacy.

“Because of this, the embassy mainly focuses on building communication in the context of boosting trades and investments,” Suryopratomo said.

The senior journalist also seeks to nurture communication with Singapore’s media to better address issues that occur in Indonesia.


 

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