Responding to President's Rule No. 3 of 2021 regarding the Implementation of Law no. 23 of 2019 concerning Reserved Components
On January 12th, 2021, President Joko Widodo signed Government Regulation (PP) Number 3 of 2021 concerning the Implementation of Law Number 23 of 2019 concerning Management of National Resources for National Defense (UUPSDN). Based on the Government Regulation (PP), the Ministry of Defense (Kemhan) will recruit and train Reserve Component candidates.
We consider that the plan to establish a reserve component at this time is actually not urgent. The government and the Board of Representatives (DPR) should focus on strengthening its main component, namely the military, in modernizing the defense equipment system and improving the welfare of its soldiers in order to create a professional army, rather than forming a reserve component.
We view that the formation of the Reserve Components by making workers and students the subject of basic military training (Article 69 PP No. 3 of 2021 and Article 37 of the Management of National Resources for National Defense (PSDN) Law) is a form of strategy for co-opting power in the labor and student movements. Workers and students who have become reserve components will be subject to criminal sanctions (Article 77 paragraph (1) of Law Number 23 of 2019) if they refuse to mobilize to face domestic and foreign threats.
The forced involvement of workers and students in the mobilization of reserve components will be prone to being misused for the benefit of the regime under the pretext of dealing with security threats. This will open up space for the legalization of militias/private forces to face their own people, as has happened in Aceh and Timor Leste which resulted in cases of human rights violations such as the use of militias in Timor Leste.
The reserve component for workers and students has the potential to depoliticize the labor and student movement. The formation of a reserve component that is being forced at this time has a tendency of a political dimension, namely for the interests of practical electoral politics rather than for the sake of defense.
We urge the President not to proceed with the formation of a reserve component at this time because its urgency is being questioned. The government should focus on strengthening its main component, namely the military, in modernizing the defense equipment system and improving the welfare of soldiers. In the midst of the economic crisis due to the current corona epidemic, the government should allocate the state budget for economic recovery and to strengthen its main component, namely the military, rather than forming a reserve component.
Jakarta, February 11th, 2021
Civil Society Coalition
- Confederation of the Indonesian Trade Union Alliance Congress (KASBI)
- National Union Confederation (KSN)
- Indonesian Workers' Struggle Confederation (KPBI)
- Federation of Indonesian Port Workers (FPPI)
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