Revision of the Military Bill Returns the Dual Functions of ABRI

Press Release

Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform

The government's plan to restructure and reorganize the Indonesian National Military (TNI) is carried out with various policies where previously the government had issued Presidential Decree (Perpres) No. 42 of 2019 concerning the Second Amendment to Decree No. 10 of 2010 concerning the Organizational Structure of the TNI, currently, the government intends to make changes to Law no. 34 of 2004 concerning the TNI. One of the changes made in this revision that becomes a problem is related to the placement of active TNI soldiers in civilian positions.

In the Amendment Draft to the Military Bill currently circulating in the community, the government amends the provisions in Article 47 paragraph (2) of the bill (article 3 of the Draft), where there are six additional ministries/institutions that can be occupied by active TNI soldiers, namely the Coordinating Ministry Maritime Affairs, Presidential Staff, National Counter Terrorism Agency, National Disaster Management Agency, National Border Management Agency, Maritime Security Agency. With this addition, there are 16 ministries/institutions that open up opportunities for active TNI soldiers to hold their positions. Moreover, Article 47 paragraph (2) letter q of the draft bill also opens a very wide space for active TNI soldiers to be able to occupy positions in other Ministries/Institutions that desperately need the personnel and expertise of active soldiers according to the president's policy.

We view that the regulation regarding the placement of active TNI soldiers in civilian positions that is too broad and without careful consideration can restore the TNI's work function which was previously based on the ABRI dual function doctrine, which was actually abolished after the 1998 reform. In the defense sector, this provides an opportunity for active TNI soldiers to re-engage in socio-political affairs which in fact thwarts TNI reform which is currently still in a stagnant state, even though the continuation of TNI reform requires the military to no longer engage in politics.

The spirit of the Military Bill is that the active military only occupies positions that are related to the defense function. On the other hand, the draft amendment to the bill allows military personnel who were previously returned to post-reform barracks as part of military reformation to return to the civilian realm. For this reason, the Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform is urging:

  1. The government is to abolish the provisions of article 47 paragraph (2) letter q of this draft revision of the Military bill and review the placement of active soldiers in civil ministry/institutional positions because this will not only hinder the reformation process but can be a threat to state governance that

  1. The National Board of Representatives (DPR) not to support the government's efforts to revise Law no. 34 of 2004 concerning the TNI which is not in line with their reformation agenda and can disrupt democratic governance because there is no urgency factor to place soldiers actively in civilian positions by adding a number of ministries/institutions which are actually a step backwards in democracy and

Jakarta, August 1st, 2019

Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform

KontraS, Imparsial, Elsam, WALHI, HRWG, AJI Indonesia, PBHI, Setara Institute, INFID, LBH Jakarta, Democracy Institute, ILR, Indonesian Human Protection Foundation, LBH Pers, ICW

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