Intervention of the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in the Making of Investment Law in IndonesiPublished by MAC on 2007-03-15
Intervention of the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in the Making of Investment Law in Indonesia
JATAM, Media release, Jakarta
15th March 2007
This week the parliament of Indonesia is going to pass the new law on investment. The contents of the law fully favor the interests of the big transnational corporations. The draft of the law itself was made when Indonesia was still under the supervision of IMF. The President Megawati Sukarnoputri postponed the draft of the law to be issued since the contents of the draft did not indicate at all to protect the interests of the people of Indonesia who were and are still struggling to get rid of poverty, that was mainly caused by the policies imposed by the International Financial Institutions (IMF, World Bank and ADB) and the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI that was dismissed by the President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono in January 2007).
Civil society organizations, labor organizations, farmers’ federation and indigenous peoples of Indonesia oppose the draft of the law. The draft of the investment law clearly will bring harms to the labor, farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples. The rights of the labor, farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples will be violated and the sustainable livelihood is under real threat.
The draft of the law gives 100% freedom to the international or foreign corporations to operate in Indonesia while the government of Indonesia is obliged to provide incentives such as: tax holiday, infrastructure facilities, lands and access to domestic finance. While the international corporations are free to move their capital in and out Indonesia, and are free from tax in importing capital goods to Indonesia for their investment needs.
Indonesia has low quality of and even lacks in the infrastructures needed by the transnational corporations: roads, seaports, airports, electricity and water. Most ofthe lands where the natural resources are abundant belong to local communities, whether collectively or individually. To construct the infrastructures the government of Indonesia has to borrow foreign loans, while to provide lands the government has to take lands from the local citizens. The investment law clearly put pressure on Indonesian government to take more debts for the interests of the transnational corporations, while at the same time the Indonesian government has to violate the rights of its citizens particularly the communities who owns the land that have to be cleared.
Because of strong pressures from the civil society, labor movements, farmers’federations, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples, the parliament is planning to postpone the enactment of the law to allow more public debates and inputs from the public.
At the same time the President Director of Jardine Corporation, Lord Powell of Bayswater, accompanied by the Communication Officer of the British Embassy in Jakarta met the Vice President Jusuf Kalla to lobby on the enactment of the draft of the investment law. In his press conference statement on 15 March 2007, Bayswater said that he is sent by Prime Minister Tony Blair to ask the President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono about the enactment of the law on investment.
It is not a coincidence that Bayswater and the British Embassy in Jakarta met the Vice President to discuss about the investment law at the time, when the Parliament of Indonesia agreed to postpone the draft of the law. The civil society, labor organizations, farmers’ federation, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples of Indonesia are convinced that British government is trying to intervene in the law making processes in Indonesia.
Therefore we strongly urge the British government and other European governments:
1. Not to intervene in the law making processes in Indonesia
2. Not to put more burdens to the people who have been poor because of the wrong policies imposed by the donor countries in the past.
3. To respect the sovereignty of Indonesia to make its independent policies.
We also call for support from all civil society organizations and the people of Europe and the Northern countries to persuade the British government and other Northern governments to respect the sovereignty of Indonesia on making its own policies for the benefits of its people.
Jakarta, 15 Maret 2007
1. ABM (Aliansi Buruh Menggugat – Indonesian Labor Alliance)
2. Debt Watch
3. E Law
4. FSPI (Federasi Serikat Petani Indonesia – Indonesian Farmers’ Federation)
5. INFID (International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development)
6. JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang – Mining Advocacy Network)
7. KPKB (Kelompok Perempuan untuk Keadilan Buruh – Women’s Group for Justice for Labor)
8. KoAge (Koalisi Anti Globalisasi Ekonomi – Coalition of Anti- Economic Globalization)
9. KPA (Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria – The Consortium of Agrarian Reform)
10. LBH Apik (Women’s Justice Legal Aid Association)
11. PBHI (Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia Indonesia – The Association of Legal Aid and Human Rights of Indonesia)
12. Aji (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen – Independent Journalist of Indonesia)
13. WALHI (Friends of the Earth of Indonesia)
15. KPI (Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia – The Coalition of Women of Indonesia)
16. KAU (Koalisi Anti Utang – Anti-Debt Coalition)
17. UPC (Urban Poor Consortium)
18. Sekretariat Bina Desa
19. SP (Solidaritas Perempuan – Women Solidarity)
21. Aliansi Perempuan untuk Keterwakilan Politik (Women’s Alliance for Political Representation)
23. STN (Serikat Tani Nasional – National Farmers Alliance)
24. SPOI (Serikat Pekerja Otomotif Indonesia – Automotive Labor Federation of Indonesia)
25. Lapera Indonesia
26. The Institute for Global Justice
27. Perkumpulan “Boemi”
28. FPPI (Front Persatuan Pemuda Indonesia – Indonesia Young People’s Front)