Laborers Upset with Luhut

Monday, 22 February 2016 , 11:00:00 WIB - Economy

The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, (second left), accompanied by (from left), Chief of the Indonesian Police, Badrodin Haiti; the Governor of Riau Archipelago, M Sani; and the Minster of Manpower Hanif Dhakiri, leading a coordination meeting in, Batam, Riau Archipelago, Thursday (18/2). ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – Laborers have reacted strongly to the statement from the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, regarding laborer demonstrations in Batam. Luhut has instructed the Governor of Riau Archipelago to issue a regulation that would limit the time and place for laborer demonstrations.

The Indonesian Workers Organization (OPSI) condemns the minister’s statement. The organization’s secretary, Timboel Siregar, said Luhut is acting too emotionally and claims the minister does not understand problems connected with laborers.

Timboel even says the minister has hurt laborers’ feelings by comparing the demonstrations with attacks by thugs and describing them as anarchic.

"The laborer demonstrations commonly happen because of the weak law enforcement regarding violations of the normative rights of laborers. The laborers had reported to the local manpower office about the violations, but the reports are mostly neglected. We have also made reports to the police, but they (the police) also ignore the reports," Timboel said to, Sunday (21/2).

The demonstrations, he says, are allowed by Law No.9/1998.

Meanwhile, Luhut may have made the statement following the fact that industrial estates in Batam have become ‘an uncomfortable place’ for producers because of the numerous demonstrations and illogical land prices.

The minister clarified that anarchic demonstrations are not just forbidden in Batam, but across the country. "You violate, we will act firmly, we will hit you. No more sweepings. We must discipline our nation that is still in developing phase and heading towards a developed nation," he said.

Furthermore, Luhut has requested the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to investigate into potential violations regarding the allocation of land in the industrial estates.

"There is a lot that is not right here (in Batam-red). The land has been allocated, but a lot are not being uses. A lot of land is being manipulated," he said, Thursday (18/2), Batam, Riau Archipelago.

Luhut arrived in Batam with the Indonesian Police Chief, Badrodin Haiti, and the Minister of Manpower, Hanif Dhakiri. They met with the Governor of Riau, Muhammad Sani, Head of the Development Agency of Riau, Mustofa Widjaja, and representatives of investors.

The meeting discussed the reasons Batam’s economy is not growing as targeted. And the land problem is one of the reasons.

UNCOMPETITIVE – An expert staff of Minister of Internal Affairs, Nuryanto, confirms that Batam has become uncompetitive. In fact, 30 percent of investors in the region plan to leave the city and move to Malaysia or Vietnam.

"Thirty percent want to leave. Other countries are offering better management. We know that Malaysia provides better management," said Nuryanto, in the meeting, Friday (19/2).

Most of the investors who plan to leave are in the automotive and electronics sector, but Nuryanto could not mention how many companies are planning to leave. (dtc)