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House urged to stop controversial omnibus bill deliberation, prioritize COVID-19

first_imgCivil society groups have urged the House of Representatives to halt the deliberation of a controversial omnibus bill and focus on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country during its current sitting session, which was opened on Monday.”We demand the House stop deliberating the bill, which particularly endangers poor families, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) said in an Instagram post on Sunday.The omnibus bill, which is aimed at amending 73 existing laws and consist of 15 chapters and 174 articles, has gained criticism from activists who argue that the bill will harm the interests of workers. Read also: Guide to omnibus bill on job creation: 1,028 pages in 10 minutesSimilarly, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) also urged the House to stop deliberating the bill, saying that lawmakers should focus on demanding that the government ensure supplies of basic needs for the public during the outbreak.”This includes ensuring food supplies, access to clean water, sanitation and financial assistance for poor people,” Walhi campaign coordinator Edo Rakhman said.The House opened the new sitting period on Monday after having been in recess for a month since Feb. 28 amid the government’s policy of physical distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus.House Speaker Puan Maharani previously said that all House activities would be directed to the handling of COVID-19 during the health crisis.As of Monday, Indonesia had reported 1,414 coronavirus infections in the country, with 122 cases that have turned fatal.Topics : The Federation of Independent Workers Unions said the bill would significantly relax outsourcing restrictions and eventually make employees “contract workers during their whole lives.”The YLBHI also urged the House to keep watch on the government’s measures to handle the rapidly escalating health crisis as to avoid further social, economic and health impacts.”The House, together with the government, should reallocate state funds for COVID-19 relief,” the YLBHI said, adding that among spending that could be reallocated included salaries of the House members and government officials.The legislature should also assure that the public get fast, accurate and reliable information from the government regarding the pandemic.last_img read more