Quite similar to the events in Hong Kong – where protesters have been demonstrating for months to express their objection to an extradition bill that would have given more power to China (and considering protests did not stop when the Hong Kong government announced it suspended the controversial bill, the movement has morphed into something much larger) – there have been several straight days of protests in Indonesia, especially in the bigger cities on Java and Sumatra.
Tens of thousands of Indonesian students demonstrated in front of national parliament in Jakarta as well as a number of regional parliaments across the country to oppose a controversial revision of the criminal code and oppose a recently passed law that reduces the independence of the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), an institution that has exposed many high-profile corruption cases.
The protests in Indonesia started on Monday 23 September 2019 and have not finished by the time of writing this article.
The planned revision to the Criminal Code contains some controversial articles that in many ways do not make sense (we explain this in more detail below). One article that has been highlighted in international media is the one that bans extra-marital sex. The naivety or stupidity of this article is stunning as it is bound to impact heavily on the tourism sector as well as on many Indonesian legislators themselves (because it is widely known that many politicians or legislators, artists, and businessmen have extramarital affairs). In fact, it can even make legislators more vulnerable to blackmail. It is therefore unlikely that Indonesian parliament was really in favor of ratifying this revision.
That is also the reason why we have started to doubt whether the revision to Indonesia’s Criminal Code is actually a serious matter, or, simply acts as a strategy to shift attention in local and international media away from, for example, the violence in Papua or forest fires (and toxic haze) in parts of Kalimantan and Sumatra.
Read the full article in the September 2019 edition of our monthly research report. You can purchase the report by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a WhatsApp message to the following number: +62(0)8788.410.6944